Race Recap: 2017 Star Wars Half Marathon (The Light Side) -Disneyland, CA

I finished the Rebel Challenge for the third year in a row!

I finished the Rebel Challenge for the third year in a row!

I spent months looking forward to the Star Wars Half… planning costumes, discussing the race with friends, getting caught up in the Rogue One excitement and more! On top of it, it was Kelly’s first half marathon and first RunDisney race! It’s always fun to share the experience with others.

After Taylor and I ran the Star Wars 10K on Saturday and then spent the whole day at Disneyland, I knew the 13.1 miles would feel a little longer than normal. On the other hand, our costumes were so awesome, I knew they would carry me the entire distance!

Rocking our Rebel Pilot outfits, we were ready to jump to hyperspace!

Rocking our Rebel Pilot outfits, we were ready to jump to hyperspace!

Since we ran as Imperial Officers during the 10K, Taylor and I decided to defect to the Rebellion. Nothing like running as Rebel Pilots!

This was the first time I’ve stayed at a place close to the resort, and it was so nice to be able to walk to the start line on both Saturday and Sunday. Jason was in A corral, but Taylor, Kelly and I were back in G corral. We were too far away to see the stage, but unlike at the Disneyland Half, we could at least hear the audio. Jason tried to FaceTime with us and although the connection was spotty, he showed us his vantage point in A corral of Darth Vader coming on stage to make ominous pronouncements to the runners.

Finally, we were off! The start led us straight up a hill, but this actually gave the crowd a chance to thin out before entering backstage DCA.

Loved seeing Ezra &a Sabine on course! #StarWarsHalf #RunDisney #StarWarsRebels #rebelpilot

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Lines were much better at the character stops than in the 10K, and since I finally started watching Rebels, I was ecstatic to see Sabine and Ezra on course. I had just finished season one, but I love Star Wars Rebels, which is way more amazing than I ever imagined. Next year, maybe I’ll run as Hera.

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Running past the World of Color fountains is fantastic at dawn!

The wide paths of California Adventure are perfect for running and the lights were beautiful. World of Color is a particular favorite, and since we weren’t visiting California Adventure this trip, it made the run even more special.

The RunDisney races wind in and out of backstage areas, which is really fun. In one of the backstage tunnels, they had flashing lights and the sounds of an x-wing/tie fighter dogfight. Dressed as Rebel Pilots, we really took advantage of this part, zooming down the incline together.

fter bursting out of backstage Disneyland into Toon Town, Kelly and I played around on the Jolly Trolley.

After bursting out of backstage Disneyland into Toon Town, Kelly and I played around on the Jolly Trolley.

I love backstage, but the best part was going from backstage into Toon Town. For some reason, more than other transitions, it feels like you burst out of mundane buildings of backstage into the magical world of Disneyland.

I'm so glad the Christmas lights on Small World are still up

I’m so glad the Christmas lights on Small World are still up

I loved the course through the parks. We got to run through Tomorrowland, of course, which is still decked out as a kind-of temporary Star Wars Land (when Star Wars Land actually opens, this course will be bonkers), and through the castle and down Main Street. In two different areas, they had Jedi, probably from the training academy, fighting Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, respectively.

A daring lightsaber battle rages on as the runners pass.

A daring lightsaber battle rages on as the runners pass.

Complete with audio, it added a really fun kinetic element of theatre to the race. Plus, unlike the static character stops, all the runners were able to enjoy the scenes as we ran by!

Once we left the park, the race became more difficult. I was sad to see that the change in corrals meant that Jason finished his race practically before we left the park. We weren’t going to repeat our meeting on the median from last year.

The sun came up and Taylor and I started feeling the miles from the previous day. However, the groups cheering, the bands and fans were all in full force, and they definitely kept our spirit up.

I also stayed focused on two things that I knew would be later in the race: Redvines from the Mouse Planet tent and the Rebel Pilot cosplayers. The 501st and Rebel cosplayer groups are always a highlight, but this year, I really wanted a picture because of our costumes!

I spent most of the race waiting to take a picture with these guys!

I spent most of the race waiting to take a picture with these guys!

Later in the race, Taylor started really feeling the miles and said it just felt harder, than his previous three half marathons. Maybe the novelty wore off, maybe he was undertrained, but I had a different answer. Two days of running is just hard. “That is why they call it the Rebel Challenge,” I said. “Because it’s a challenge.” You may be trained up for the half marathon distance, but the challenge is different. I’m not sure he appreciated hearing this from me at that movement, but I’ve done this before and finally felt vindicated, like someone understood that the difficulty increased as well as the fun. At some point, your feet just ask you “Whyyyyyyy…”

To be fair, my feet feel like that after mile 18 of a marathon too, but I definitely recover faster after the 19.3 two-day challenge. This is perfect for a RunDisney vacation. After each of my two marathons, I’ve been trashed for a week and spending a day at Disneyland would be hard to stomach (not saying I wouldn’t do it…).

I love seeing mile 10 in a half marathon. No matter how my race is going, I've hit double-digits and with only 5K to go, the finish suddenly feels close.

I love seeing mile 10 in a half marathon.
No matter how my race is going, I’ve hit double-digits and with only 5K to go, the finish suddenly feels close.

Taylor and Kelly must have turned on mindless runner mode, because at one point, I had to adjust my shoe. I felt like a painful blister was forming. I had my shoe partially off when I looked up and they were way in front of me. At my speed and level of tiredness, I knew catching up would be hard. I jammed my shoe back on as quickly as possible and sprinted through a couple of intervals until finally catching them.

That was really rough, but it just proves that even when I’m really tired, I always have more energy than expected.

Soon we were turning onto Disney Property for our final stretch. “S-Foils in attack formation,” I called to Kelly and Taylor. The best part of the end of the race is running past the Disneyland Hotel in Downtown Disney with the course lined with cheering spectators. They really carry us to the finish line.

Rebel Runners do it again!

Rebel Runners do it again!

We took the rest of Sunday easy– enjoyed the hot tub, ate pizza, and went to the theatre to see Moana. Sunday, we celebrated by going to Disneyland!

Time: 3:09:18
Ran With: Taylor, Kelly
Best Costume: One impressive gal ran as a cosplay-perfect Jyn Erso– vest, boots, everything… even had the Death Star plans in her hand!
Rebel Redux: For the first time, RunDisney offered us Star Wars runners a chance to sign up early for next year (with a tiny discount). In 2018, Jason will run the half for a fourth time and I will return to the Rebel Challenge, joined once more by Taylor with the addition of Kelly, who couldn’t resist the lure of the extra 10K!

Race Recap: 2017 Star Wars 10K (The Light Side)— Disneyland, CA

After completing the Star Wars Rebel Challenge for a third time, I can say that these two races are still amazing!

Taylor and I had a blast completing the Star Wars 10K, the first part of the Rebel Challenge!

Taylor and I had a blast completing the Star Wars 10K, the first part of the Rebel Challenge!

What a difference a year makes! Last year, I walked most of the 10K with my hubby, as I was just coming back from an injury and was worried if I would even be able to complete the half the following day. This year, I had none of the injury fear and all of the excitement.

Time to catch those Rebel scum! #StarWars10K @tddewey

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This year, it was my brother Taylor that I ran with. Taylor was first inspired to run half marathons after spectating these races the previous year. He had to wait a whole year until he could run the Rebel Challenge!

Unlike last year, the corrals were bigger, which means we waited a little longer until the start of Corral D. Once the race started, we ran up a short hill (as fast as possible) and very soon we were in backstage California Adventure! The highlights of running through California Adventure are seeing the World of Color fountains and running through the Grizzly Peak area.

There were a few characters out, but I had learned my lesson from trying to see BB-8 the previous year. During the 10K, it isn’t worth it. The lines are shorter during the half marathon anyway, so I saved character fun for another day.

Maybe you don't see imperial officers smile that much, but they would if they were running this race!

Maybe you don’t see imperial officers smile that much, but they would if they were running this race!

The cool thing about running the 10K is that all 6 miles are on property. Being a total Disney nerd, I had just as much fun running backstage as I did inside the park!

Now that the 60th anniversary celebration is over, the sparkly roof overlay is being removed. We spotted some of the roof backstage.

Now that the 60th anniversary celebration is over, the sparkly roof overlay is being removed. We spotted some of the roof backstage, just after a water station.

If we had seen Darth Vader, we might have stopped to take pictures with him, but we as imperial stormtrooper officers, we were pretty excited to spot a pair patrolling the balcony of Launch Bay.

Taylor looks perfectly in command of this pair of stormtroopers.

Taylor looks perfectly in command of this pair of stormtroopers.

We spotted Captain Phasma shortly before leaving the park, who was patrolling above the archway. Her costume is spectacular and we spent at least a minute just watching her strut back and forth, menacingly.
Perhaps this is why we completely missed Kelly, who was spectating the race from the entry plaza (Jason was not present, as took the rental car on an impromptu road trip to watch a SpaceX rocket launch).

We missed her, but Kelly did capture pictures of us running.

We missed her, but Kelly did capture pictures of us running.

There was tons of things to see, but all too soon, the 6 miles were nearly up. Its such a rush running past the hotel down the final stretch with so many spectators cheering us on! Once we crossed, we received our adorable BB-8 spinning medals!

This runner, dressed as Director Krennic from Rogue One, asked to take a picture with us "because I outrank you." We were amused by his mini Death Star.

This runner, dressed as Director Krennic from Rogue One, asked to take a picture with us “because I outrank you.” We were amused by his mini Death Star.

We celebrating completing the first 6.2 miles of the Rebel Challenge by spending the day at Disneyland…. after taking a shower and putting on compression socks, of course.

A runDisney 10K really goes by too fast, and I always feel a little sad when its over… but then I remember I get to do it all again the next day at the Half Marathon!

Time: 1:32:18
Ran With: Taylor
Favorite Moment: Captain Phasma!
Best thing in snack box: Jif Nut Butter Bar. Delicious.

Costume reveal for the 2017 Star Wars Rebel Challenge

Well, I’m packed and ready to fly to California, but it came as quite a surprise this week when we got 10 inches of snow here in the Willamette Valley. It certainly changed my last minute plans and hopefully we have no problems catching our flight!

The snow is quite pretty and it did mean I got some extra time off. But I must say, I am looking forward to the warmer California weather! Although all of Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend is fun, I am particularly excited by our costumes this year.

2017 Star Wars 10K Costume

Since Kelly, Taylor, Jason and I signed up for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, the costume focus was solely on the longer race. However, Taylor and I are also running the 10K as part of the rebel challenge.

We spent many months thinking up and discarding ideas. Some were too complicated to make as a second costume. Others just failed to capture our excitement.

But then, on a long training run, shortly after seeing Rogue One, we finally got excited. Imperial officers!

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Since most of our time was dedicated to creating the four costumes for the Half Marathon, we already owned or bought most of the costume elements.

After a brief tussle over what color, we quickly set about getting the costume elements put together.

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I’ll be honest, we chose black almost entirely based on the fact that the officers appeared to have an imperial patch on their shoulder. Too cool!

Costume elements:

  • Black running tights
  • Black running shirt
  • Tunic extension made from running skirt pattern
  • Imperial patch (sewn on sleeve)
  • Belt made from 2-inch elastic
  • Handcrafted pin-on belt buckle
  • Handcrafted rank bar
  • Purchased imperial hat

Taylor did an amazing job crafting the belt buckles and rank bars, while I sewed the elastic belts and tunic extensions.

We’re pleased with the result, considering how last minute the costume came together. My only concern is it might be too warm. I run extremely hot even when I’m not in California. But it’s a shorter race and the costume is cool enough I’m happy to put up with it.

2017 Star Wars Half Marathon Costume

When we signed up for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, Kelly instantly knew she wanted to run as a rebel x-wing pilot, and I have to say, we all pretty much agreed with her.

Kelly models the completed costume!

Kelly models the completed costume!

It took a lot of effort and time to finally put the costume together, but it really is amazing how it all turned out.

Costume elements

  • Modified running hat with rebel patches and raised ridge
  • Amber safety glasses
  • Orange running shirt
  • Orange running shorts/skirt sewn from pattern
  • White flak vests (handmade)
  • Chest box and straps (handmade)
  • Grey ejection straps (sewn)
Rebel pilots running through the hanger on Yavin IV during Rogue One. I love how this picture shows our heroes just strutting confidently through the hanger instead.

Rebel pilots running through the hanger on Yavin IV during Rogue One. I love how this picture shows our heroes just strutting confidently through the hanger instead.

It was truly a group effort putting it all together and everyone worked on different pieces. I cant wait to wear both of my costumes this weekend!