Disneyland 10k Review: Earning My Ellie Badge

Post race sadness is real, especially when you had as fun as a racecation as I just did. I spent most of the weekend in Anaheim running Disney’s Double Dare challenge. The weekend events dedicated themselves to famous Pixar films such as Up, The Incredibles, Monsters University and the beloved classic, Toy Story.

Expo

I started my weekend by picking up my bib and browsing around the expo on Thursday morning. I was happy to find minimal crowds and was able to walk straight up to the volunteer and show her my ID. I received my bag tag, a small pamphlet on the weekend’s events, and an adorable luggage tag that resembled the Double Dare medal, commemorating the five-year anniversary. After taking a couple of pictures with fun backdrops, I headed upstairs to retrieve my race shirts and check out a couple of the vendors.

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Expo Selfie!

All the runDisney expos are similar for the most part, give or take a booth or two. I enjoy the familiarity because I know where I can purchase items when needed. The Anaheim expos always have many vendors handing out fun freebies. Booths such as Goodsense and Raceguards were giving out handy medical items such as band aids, ice packs, samples of Biofreeze, first aid pouches and water bottles. ABC had items to be enjoyed by younger ones such as inflatable beach balls and a mini notebook and colored pencil set.

While first aid items are handy, there were edible freebies too! GoGo SqueeZ apple sauce was handing out pouches of their product. For those desiring a natural option, Zespri was handing out their gold variety kiwi to eager expo attendees. Jelly Belly also handed out mini sample packages of their Sport Beans.

After paying a quick visit to Fit2Run to buy some last-minute Gu, I took a picture with the Pixar Ball wall before heading back to my hotel.

Monsters University 10k

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10k Course

While I was hoping to add the 5k to my itinerary, it had sold out, leaving my weekend to start on Saturday with the 10k race. Every Disney run starts out with an early alarm, so I was off and running, well walking to the start at 4 a.m. With my badge adorned sash draped over my shoulder and my Wilderness Explorer flag hanging from my hydration pack, I headed to my corral. It is not every Saturday morning that I dress like a boy scout, so I wanted to make Russell and all of Troop 54 proud!

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Pre-Race entertainment from Carissa and Kevin made the time spent in my corral fly by. While I was hot in my polo shirt, I just tried to focus on the energy around me. Before I knew it the anthem led us to the start and it was time to run 6.2 glorious miles in celebration of Monsters University within the boundaries of Disneyland and California Adventure Park!

Once I broke away from the pack, I was happy to find slightly cooler temperatures. Maybe it was the breeze as I flew towards California Adventure or the fact that I was no longer being sandwiched between runners, but I was determined to have fun and beat the rising temperature.

Just as I entered the park behind the California Screamin’ coaster, I heard a clink and could see my grape soda pin plunge to the road. (Note: While not an avid pin collector, this one struck a chord with me when I bought it a few years back, so it was a tough one to hear clash against the asphalt.) Instead of stopping and squatting to pick it up and risk injuring myself and other runners behind me, I sighed and let the metal badge start it’s new life, lost to the graveled roadway.

I charged on, entering the park by Radiator Springs, the sound of revving engines made my feet want to move faster. Numerous Pixar characters adorned the boundaries of the course. I saw Flik and Atta from A Bug’s Life, Russell from Up, Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars, Mike and Sully from Monsters University as well as many dancers from various parades. The course did not dismiss classic characters such as Mickey and his friends which were found in Disneyland a few miles in.

My favorite aspects of any Disney race are running through the parks and seeing the energy of the cast members, throwing high fives (complete with a Mickey glove!) at runners, and all the lively rides and lights operating before the sun.  The race crew did a wonderful job having music and various cheer squads in the backstage areas, making every mile of the course spirited and vivacious. Special shout out to the course designer who opted not to use any of Anaheim’s streets for the 10k and kept all the magic and mileage within the two theme parks!

After running past the Rivers of America, I bounded across the drawbridge of the Castle, onto Main Street! A couple of minutes after I had passed the mile 5 marker, I found myself behind the roller coaster once again, looping back towards the finish. I did a quick glance at the ground and saw my pin! A few runners were a couple strides behind me so I was able to grab my pin and sprint towards the finish. While the backing was bent and the image scratched, it was a favorable return. I guess I needed to run five miles before I could truly earn my Ellie badge! 🙂

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Graduating to a Senior Wilderness Explorer!

The weather was not ideal but I always love catching up with friends on course and seeing the creative costumes. Running through Disneyland at 5 in the morning never ceases to put a smile on my face!  I had a monstrous good time at the 10k but after collecting my medal, water and a snack box, I was off to rest my feet and seek some air conditioning before running the half-marathon on Sunday.

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All smiles after the 10k!

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