Geek Girl Off the Grid: Run Disney Avengers Weekend

By Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan
Meghan Sullivan

Runs have become big business of late. It seems every weekend there is some sort of themed run happening around town to support one cause or another or just to promote running and fitness through an organized run.  Did you know that Run Disney has been in the running business for more than 20 years?

Neither did I. To be fair, Disney has only been in the running business in California for 10 years (which is still a long time). But as running has become more popular, Run Disney has added more races. I first discovered RunDisney in 2011 when they added a women-focused Tinkerbell themed race to their 2012 Anaheim offerings.  And from there, I’ve been hooked. I’ve run one or two RunDisney races every year since 2012.  This year, I’ve done two. The most recent was their Avengers themed run – right up my alley.

As a geek girl, I couldn’t be more excited when Disney added more geeky themed races, based on their other properties, to their schedule. November 13-15 was the second year for the Marvel Avenger’s themed race (and the first year with a 10K). New this year was a Challenge – a way to get an extra medal for pushing yourself harder (i.e. running 19.3 miles in two days with a 10K on one day and a half marathon on the very next day to complete the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge).  

A RunDisney weekend with a geeky theme is perfect for getting this geek girl off the grid. Not only do I get to go to Disneyland and enjoy the magic of the happiest place on earth, but I also get to push myself by running with thousands of other Disney and Marvel nerds through the theme parks and the streets of Anaheim. The costumes of fellow runners, the character photo-ops along the course, the tech shirts and the finisher medals make for a good (if exhausting) time.  

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If you’re looking to get in on the RunDisney fun, here are some tips:

Before Race Weekend:

Mark your calendar (and make several reminders) for the on-sale date of your planned race. They sell out quickly! (The Avengers 10K sold out in less than 40 minutes).

Plan your outfit. Whether you’re running (or walking) for fun or planning a PR (which stands for Personal Record to all runners, not Public Relations), it’s important to know what you’ll wear. The races are early (except for Florida’s Wine and Dine) and it can be cold at 5 in the morning when you’re standing in your corral.  Plus, costumes!! It really is more fun to wear something that goes with the theme of the race. Last year, a guy ran one of the Star Wars races in a complete wookie suit (or maybe it actually was Chewbacca?).

Book your hotel early. Race weekends have become extremely popular. Add those visitors to the normal tourists in the area and your favorite hotel could be sold out of rooms before you know it. Plus, given the road closures, it is beneficial to be within (a short) walking distance of the race start.

During Race Weekend:

Make sure to visit the expo (you’ll have to go to pick up your race bib anyway) and check out the cool stuff. The New Balance Disney themed shoes are pretty cool.

Hydrate! After all, you’re running a race and Southern California can be very dry. Plus, you’re probably also spending time in the parks, which makes it even more important to remember to drink water and stay hydrated.

Consider the theme park visits in relation to your mileage. A visit to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure can be taxing on your legs and body all on its own. Make sure to consider your race goals when planning for your trip. Nothing’s worse than missing out on what you wanted to do (for the race or in the parks) because you just hurt too dang much.  Even a well-trained athlete (which I am not), can feel the burn from cramming too much into a day.

Have fun! Disney races are very expensive, but I think they’re worth it. The race organization is extremely thorough. The medals and shirts are pretty great. And the course is unique – how often do you get to travel through closed theme parks and even see some behind the scenes activities?

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