A Cool Cat in France: Disneyland Paris 5k Recap

Lumiere and many of his inanimate pals helped illuminate the sky and course path for the Disneyland Paris 5k. While I was lucky enough to run last year, I was excited to see the change to an evening race for the 2017 weekend. The race was slated for an 8 o’clock start, just outside the Disney Village. Dressed as the cheshire cat, I headed to my corral about thirty minutes before the scheduled start.21685977_10155119278321902_8817163819654181863_n

Corral A was located at the front steps of Disney’s Sequoia Lodge with corrals B and C curving back around Lac Disney towards the Newport Bay Hotel. I felt the race staff took advantage of the area by having floating barges showcasing DJs and dancers. These boats glided along the edge of the water, filling the crowd and air with contagious energy! It was fun to see the volunteer’s individual personality come out through their dance moves whether it was a Pop & Lock or motioning a worm. As each barge floated by, blasting music and demonstrating some wicked dance moves, it put me in a good mood for the 5k.

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Pre 5K Party Boats!

Due to heavy congestion of people exiting the parks, runners were not released until closer to 8:30. While the delay was frustrating for those with young ones or a 10k start just a few hours later, it was important to remember that it was only a 5k; a chance to have fun!

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Start line

After an anxious start, 5k participants were finally released! The course took runners through the Disney Village, where eager attendees rattled against gate barriers, hoping to catch a glimpse of friends or family members. Runners entered Walt Disney Studios park by the front lot, where colorful lights danced and created luminescent glowing images against the asphalt. Even Cinderella and Prince Charming were stationed for photographs!

The beginning of the course was very slow. Unfortunately, families with young children were placed in corrals A and B. Most of the kids to the front of me acted very much like dogs chasing squirrels, running in each and every direction!  While the parents may have been fit, little legs can only go so far without stopping in front of a pack of runners. My legs were getting whiplash by the constant stops and sprints, attempting to avoid numerous small children. After the first mile I was able to bypass most, making the remainder of the course fun and enjoyable!

Stationed by Crush’s Coaster stood fervent cast members chanting in french, as well as some characters from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A quick loop around the Toy Story themed section of the park and I was almost halfway home. I loved the next section of the course as Disney decided to use the Studio Tram Tour path for a good section of the race. There are many objects to look at from older Disney films such as cars used in 101 Dalmatians and a scene of London in ruins from Reign of Fire. This is a nice wooded loop area that provides nice detail to distract the mind from the miles ahead.

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Proof that cats and rats can be friends!

Just as runners reached the home stretch, a camera sending live feed to a giant screen, documented each runner’s arrival onto the Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show Spectacular stage. This lovely set showcases french shops and markets that motorcycles and cars perform stunts on during normal park hours. While there were no zooming motorcycles performing wheelies to distract runners, Remy and Emile were there receiving hugs and Bonjours!  After a quick photo with two of my favorite rats, I pounded the pavement, finding myself at the finish, where I received my Lumiere themed medal.

Similarly to the Disney races in the states, this 5k was not timed. The course was lovely in function and entertainment, however I missed running through the main park. If you have never been to Disneyland Paris, there are some wonderful details in the smallest of places and who doesn’t love running through the castle? It would have been nice to run down Main Street with twinkling lights, but by having the 5k concealed to the Studios, this made me even more excited for both the 10k and half-marathon courses!

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