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Run Disney Glass Slipper Challenge

Last year I set a crazy goal for myself. I had never run a race before – not even a 5K fun run, but I had heard about the Run Disney races and they sounded like so much fun that I registered for the Disneyland 10K last year.

I shared my experience on the blog as I had some ups and downs training for that race. Then, Run Disney announced that in 2014 they would have a special edition Coast-to-Coast medal for runners who participated in the Tinkerbell Half Marathon and the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Crazy me, who still hadn’t even run that first 10K yet when registration opened for these races, decided to do this. I wanted that pink Coast-to-Coast medal. I didn’t know how, but I was going to run 2 half marathons a month apart. Not only that, I signed up for the Glass Slipper Challenge which meant that I would run a 10K and a half marathon in Florida. What was I thinking?

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Disneyland 10K – August 2013

Well, I was determined – I registered for the races, and the money was spent. I had to train and be prepared for these races. And so I got to work running 3-5 times a week, usually at 5:30am because with six kids there isn’t a whole lot of time in the day for mom to take off and run for an hour or two. Last month I wrote about the Tinkerbell Half, and it was an amazing experience and was even better because I was able to share it with my friend (and OC Mom Blogger) Sandra.

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Tinkerbell Half Marathon – January 2014

This past weekend I made the trip cross-country to Walt Disney World in Florida to finish my goal and run the Glass Slipper Challenge. First up was the Enchanted 10K. Race start time 5:30am. Temperature 65 degrees. Humidity 95%. 6.2 miles to and through Epcot at WDW.

Hey, I understand humidity – but I’m a bit scared of humidity when it comes to running. I dealt with it in August at the Disneyland 10K and survived – it was tough, but I did it.  I don’t think I’d ever run in 95% humidity before. 3 miles in and I was ready to strip off my shirt. I don’t think I’ve ever “sparkled” quite as much as I did during that 10K. I can only imagine what it would have been like had it been warmer. Oi!

Ready to run the Enchanted 10K

Ready to run the Enchanted 10K

runners waiting for the Enchanted 10K to start

runners waiting for the Enchanted 10K to start

Humidity aside, it was a fun race. Disney does a wonderful job creating a race experience unlike any other. There’s something magical about running through a Disney park in the early hours of the morning, seeing the characters and employees who cheer the runners on and the amazing costumes the runners come up with.

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Rapunzel with Pascal – one of the 6,000 runners who completed the Glass Slipper Challenge

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Elsa welcomed us to Epcot with music and snow!

As we ran through Epcot – making our way in through Future World, around the World Showcase, out over the boardwalk to the resort area and back out through Future World. So not only did we get to explore the park, but the entire Epcot resort area. Granted, we were running a race, so we didn’t truly explore the resort. However, many people do stop and take pictures with the characters and truly take advantage of the Disney experience rather than pushing for a record race finish time. Rachel and I did great – finishing in under an hour as we had hoped.

95% humidity - we definitely "sparkle" but we did it!

95% humidity – we definitely “sparkle” but we did it!

The next morning came early for us – with a race start time of 5:35am a 20-minute walk from the staging area to the corrals and 25,000 runners participating in the half marathon, we had to leave around 3:15am in order to arrive and get to our corral with plenty of time before the start.

25,000 runners reading for the Princess Half Marathon

25,000 runners ready for the Princess Half Marathon

It’s always fun to see how people dress for Disney races. Since this was the Princess Half Marathon weekend – it’s geared more towards women and you find many people dressed in tutus or as their favorite Disney Princess. There are always a few costumes that stand out. I was pleased to find this cute couple waiting for the start:

A few friends from "Frozen" ready to run the Princess Half

A few friends from “Frozen” ready to run the Princess Half

Since WWD is so much larger than Disneyland resort, they can do some fun things that aren’t possible in California. As each corral starts (3 minutes between each start time) they set off fireworks.

Fireworks to start the race

Fireworks to start the race

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No, it’s not a bomb, but fireworks that light up the early-morning sky

The half marathon course  begins just outside Epcot and continues along the highway, entering the Magic Kingdom and around Cinderella’s Castle.  After leaving the Magic Kingdom, runners made their way back toward Epcot along World Drive.

Mile7

A highlight is at mile 7 where the song “Let it Go” from the blockbuster “Frozen” blared from several large speakers, inspiring runners to give it their all for the last half of the race. After refueling with gels, water, and electrolyte drinks at mile 8.5,  we continued to make our way towards Epcot and found many runners showing their Disney Side dressed as various princesses and other Disney characters including this guy:

Wreck it Ralph

Wreck it Ralph

Not only did he run dressed as Wreck it Ralph – he ran the entire 13.1 miles barefoot! Now that’s commitment. We continued along the route and made a trip past Spaceship Earth in Epcot. The final stretch included a wonderful choir and spectators cheering all of the runners on across the finish line.

Bling

And thus ends the fairytale. This OC mom of six managed to reach her goal. The Run Disney Coast-to-Coast Challenge is completed. 3 races – 1 month & 2,495.6 miles apart – 32.4 miles run – 5 medals. What will I do next?

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For more information on all Run Disney races visit www.rundisney.com on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RunDisney and on Twitter https://twitter.com/runDisney

Julie is an OC Supermom to six beautiful children in Orange County. She is an editor with Astraea Press, active in the community and enjoys running in her free time.

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