On April 17, 2016 I ran the Inaugural RunDisney Star Wars – The Dark Side Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in Florida. After not doing a RunDisney event for two years because they have just got so expensive, being a Star Wars Junkie, this race had me from the announcement.
To see my post on the recap of the race expo, go here.
The race weekend consisted of Kid’s Races, 5k, 10k, and the half marathon. There were also two challenge events. There was the Dark Side Challenge which was accomplished if you completed the 10k and half marathon events. There was also the Kessler Challenge. This was the biggie. It was for those runners that completed both the challenges for the Star Wars – The Light Side at Disneyland and the Star Wars – The Dark Side at Walt Disney World. I only ran the half marathon so that will be the remainder of this recap.
The half marathon was on Sunday morning. It started at 5:00 AM, which is 30 minutes earlier than the normal start time for morning races at Walt Disney World. My only guess as to why was to beat the warmer temperatures.
Here is “Flat Storm Trooper David”. I have never worn a costume for a race in the past. However, since I was running this race for fun (knowing I was going to take pictures along the way) I agreed to dress up with some of my friends. I decided this was the easiest & coolest (temperature wise) running costume I could come up with.
Don’t I look excited to be up at 2:00 AM? Even though the race started at 5:00 AM, I was up at 1:30 AM to catch the 2:30 AM bus from the resort to the Starting area. The corrals were another mile walk from the starting area.
Once I got off the bus at the starting area, it was time to meet up with friends. I first found my friends Matt & Kira. Matt dressed up as “Matt the Radar Tech” and Kira dressed up as Captain Phasma.
If you do not watch Saturday Night Live or know who “Matt the Radar Tech” is, here is a video to acclimate you.
After our picture with the Storm Troopers we met up with more friends, Michael & Tara. Michael was Darth Vadar.
Finally, we were able to catch up with Becky. She and I started in Corral A together, but then she was gone! She dressed up to a BB-8 theme.
Since we were in Corral A, we were able to get a good view of the Start.
As I said earlier, I ran this race more for fun. My plan was to take my time and take pictures with all the characters along the course. I accomplished that task except for one character stop. After mile 1 I ran right past R2-D2 and before I realized it, I wasn’t turning back.
The next character stop was Chewy.
Next was Kylo Ren on the stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I get to meet him personally later in the weekend.
There was a great showing from the 501st Legion. They are people that build their own Dark Side costumes and participate in events. They do not charge to attend events, but ask that you make a donation to a charity in their name.
Darth Vader’s Command Chair…. this was a nice break, I did not want to get up! But I did….
Star Wars Rebels characters
The snow monster scene (From Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back). This was a nice setup. It was a scene from one of the Star Wars movies where Luke is trying to get his lightsaber to escape the snow monster. If you look close you will see the lightsaber in the ceiling.
Here is the movie scene.
As we came into Animal Kingdom, we met up with some Storm Troopers.
Tarfful and a rogue trooper
This was a fun stop. We were able to get Darth Vader and Darth Maul in the same picture. Darth leaned over and said “Good Morning”, spooked me a little…
Another movie set piece.
Two more miles to go. No more character stops so I was able to make up for lost time in the last two miles.
One mile to go…
There it is… the finish line! As you see I did most of the character stops and still finished in a respectable 2:02:45.
Tired, happy storm trooper with his bling! I think this is my new favorite medal. Click here for up close medal pictures.
The box RunDisney normally gives you has awful content that many runners could care less about. However, for this race they must have finally listened. It had Oreos, GoGo Apple Sauce, and some chips.
I really liked the “I Did It’ Shirts for the race, so I purchased one at the expo.
After cleaning up, we headed to Epcot to meet up with our friends Matt & Kira.
While we were coming through the gates we met up with our buddy Greg, who just joined the Disney Security Force.
Later on, we visited Hollywood Studios where I got to do a photo op with Kylo Ren.
While at the Studios we got to observe the Kids Parade and Storm Trooper parade led by Captain Phasma.
All in all it was a great weekend at Disney. This was my 26th half marathon and 12th race at Disney. I cannot wait to sign up for the 2017 Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend on April 20-23, 2017. I am planning to do the Dark Side Challenge in 2017.