runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon- The Dark Side

Hey There Love Bug!

By now you’ve signed up and have been training hard for your race for runDisney’s Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend.  And guess what?  You’re less than a month away of facing the Dark Side!  Now it’s time to make sure you’re totally prepared for the race!  If you’ve never been to a runDisney event, you’ll want to check out my article, Top Ten Tips for Your First runDisney Race.  If you have raced before, here are a 8 tips and reminders for facing the dark side!

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8.Star Wars Attire

I have to say, one of the most fun things about the runDisney races is seeing everyone in costume.  The Star Wars races are always super fun because many guests dress up as some of your favorite characters, many of which will make your jaw drop at how amazingly executed their outfits are. Just like with all of the runDisney races, if you do plan to make a costume, be sure to check the new costume guidelines.  I would hate for you to make an amazing outfit only to be turned away at the gates because it doesn’t abide by the dress code!  You will have a great time dressing up with friends and/or family and I guarantee it will make the run even more fun!  For those of you thinking you’ll look silly for wearing a costume; Don’t!  Practically every single runner will be channeling Star Wars in some way, so you’ll blend right in with the crowd!

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7. The runDisney Expo

Just like with all of the other runDisney races, every runner is required to attend the runDisney expo prior to their race.  The expo is located at the Wide World of Sports and is open for runners to receive their bibs and guide for the races.  Their are also a plethora of experiences here, like meeting characters, taking pictures, and other various stations that are set up.  Once you grab your bib and guide, you will head over to the expo in the adjacent building.  Here, there are hundreds of vendors selling and giving out all of your running essentials.  I have to admit, I loved walking through here!  I felt like this was a trade show just for runners!  My recommendation to you is to attend the expo during the afternoon hours (12-4 or so) because the heavy crowds seem to arrive early in the morning or after 5 PM.  The famous New Balance sneakers that are designed specifically for the runDisney events are also sold here.  Be sure to sign up on the virtual queue the day prior to your arrival at the expo to try on and purchase your sneakers.  You will not be able to purchase them unless you sign up!

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6.  Eat a Light Breakfast

Remember that it’s best to workout on an empty stomach, so if you plan to eat breakfast, be sure it’s a small one.  Last year, I snagged a banana, some apple slices, and a granola bar at the expo the night before, so I munched on these before arriving to the start line.  If you’re a coffee lover, there are a couple of stands that sell some with other small treats prior to the races. Snack boxes are  (of course) distributed immediately after receiving your medal when you cross the finish line.  They include a bunch of snacks that are sure to please your tastebuds and tummy!

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5. Check the Bus Schedule!

While you can stay at an off-site resort if you are a registered runner, it is highly discouraged.  As you may already know, the transportation to the races in the morning produces heavy traffic and can cause a major delay in your arrival.  Disney is very strict with being punctual at the start of a race, and it would be a total bummer not being able to complete what you paid for and have been looking forward to doing for months now.  Luckily, all Disney World resorts offer complimentary busses to and from the race.  This way, you don’t need to worry about parking or being stuck in traffic since the busses have their own special routes and drop off areas.  Be sure to check with your hotel lobby for the bus schedule before your race.

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4. Try Not To Bring A Bag To The Race

Like a regular theme park day, there are bag checks at the races.  These lines can be extremely long because not only are they checking your bags for safety, but you will also have to turn in your belongings to be held for you while you run, just like all of the other races.  You will then have to form another line to collect your belongings after the race.  This is a huge delay that can be avoided by carrying minimal items.  I personally carried my phone in an armband that held my ID and credit cards.  Don’t even worry about having to carry a water bottle either!  There are several water stops during the race and regular size bottles of water and Powerade served as soon as you cross the finish line!

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3. Arrive Early

I love arriving to all of the Disney runs as early as possible.  Getting there early allows me to enjoy the DJ’s tunes while I wait in line to take pictures with rare characters that aren’t in the park.  Last year, I was able to take pictures with Jabba the Hutt and the Sarlacc, who we all know are not located anywhere in the parks!  I am also able to stretch a little and use the restroom without feeling rushed.  Remember that the only restrooms available are portable toilets, so if this is something you’re not into, make sure you use the restroom before you leave your hotel room and try not to drink a lot of fluid until the race starts so that you won’t have to go often. I prefer to only have to use the portable toilet once before the race and once I enter Epcot, I usually stop in a restroom in the park.

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2. Prioritize Your Character Meet and Greets

If you don’t care too much for the timing of your run, you will love stopping to meet each of the characters along your path!  There are many Star Wars favorites along each of the races during this event.  I highly recommend you prioritize your character meet and greets if you’re falling behind on your pace or simply want to save some time.  I usually think to myself; Is there an opportunity to meet them inside Hollywood Studios or do I already have a picture with them from a previous trip? If I answer yes to these two questions, I continue on with my race. I would rather wait in line for the characters that aren’t normally available for pictures at the parks.  You’ll be amazed at how much time you save by thinking this way.  I also felt that the characters set up before and after the races were so unique that it was worth waiting for them instead of the ones along the path.

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1. Have Fun!

While many of us are working on goals and focusing on finishing, its always important to have fun!  You are in the happiest place on earth after all!  The most special part of the runDisney races is the magic that Disney provides in every part and detail of the event.  I always like hanging out at the parks after the races (and a nap, of course) to show off my medal and have fun!

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I hope you have a fantastic time during your Star Wars Dark Side run!  May the force be with you!

XO, NAT

Disclosure:  All images and opinions are my own.

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