In order to have at least one race under my belt before running the Princess Half Marathon next month, and because I wanted to run through Disneyland at night, I registered for runDisney’s Never Land Family fun Run 5K. Disneyland’s very first night race and the first event of the Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend. What a kick-off it was! Tinker Bell, Pirates, Lost Boys, Disneyland, California Adventure…So. Much. Awesome!
Even more awesome, my daughter agreed to run this race with me. Having her support means the world to me. It also gives me the opportunity to show her it's never too late to try something new. Even an old lady like me can learn how to run.
We arrived at the main gate just after 9:00pm – an hour and a half before race time. Our time was well spent taking pictures and meeting other runners – both experienced and new – most in fun Disney costumes.
Once inside Disneyland we made our way up Main Street towards the castle and start line. The vibe was electric and the crowd was in full party mode. Pre-race festivities included dancing lights, a DJ dressed like a fairy, costumed hosts, trumpet players, and last – but not least – the real Tinker Bell herself! Tink sparkled as she flew across the night sky and sprinkled pixie dust from above the castle all the way down Main Street, thrilling the crowd of 4,000 runners. (Fireworks were cancelled due to high winds.)
10:30pm arrived and we crossed the start line to the sound of Peter Pan’s “Following the Leader”
Off we ran in the direction of Fantasyland & the gorgeously lit Small World. Along the way we met Pluto.
Running through the backstage part of Disneyland was thrilling for me. It's no secret this is where, in a perfect life, I would be working - so you can only imagine my childlike joy when seeing attractions and parade floats along our course.
Next up: Mile 1! Wow - this happened faster than I imagined!
Now we're in Frontierland - where the Lost Boys called me a Pirate!
New Orleans Square is next. Smee and Hook - looking to stir up trouble.
How cool is the WDI building?
Before we knew it: - we had run 2 miles! Now we are en route to California Adventure...
We ran through California Adventure towards Paradise Pier.
This is beginning to look a lot like the end - it's already mile 3!
Just before the finish line, Peter and Wendy greeted us with big smiles.
So proud of my Starlight running her first ever 5K! She had a fabulous time!
After crossing the finish line - we made our way to the refreshment tables for yogurt, water, bananas and other snacks. The runDisney VoluntEARS make these races so special. We made sure to thank them.
Registering for this race was the most brilliant choice I’ve made since I started running 2 months ago. I had an amazing first race experience and know that if every race is like a runDisney race – I’ll be running for a really long time.
Most importantly, running my first ever race - with my daughter beside me - is something I will never forget. This is a magic memory I will carry with me every time I run. She may forever be my one and only running friend, and this may very well be the only time I have a running partner - and I'm perfectly OK with that.
More photos from this race can be found here: