Race Recap: Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon 2018

Right on, it's Dark Side Half Marathon time! This was my third year participating in the Dark Side races and my third Dark Side Half. Since I ran the 10K the day prior, I was in for the Challenge and would be getting an additional medal.

I had also signed up for Disney's money-grab Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon, offered as a sort of substitute for the Light Side race of Disneyland (all Disneyland runs are suspended due to construction at the parks and surroundings). Running the virtual plus the Dark Side Half meant I was also in for the Kessel Run Challenge -- and another medal. Yeah, Disney finally got me to do a virtual race.

I ran the virtual on March 31st, the last day in the race window. I completed my miles in and around Gemini Springs, running some of the grass trails as well as the paved multi-use path, including a run over the new safe path over the St. John's along 17-92. I was lucky with an overcast and relatively cool day.

Okay, back to the Dark Side Half. I ran this race as Jedi Master Yoda. My kit was extremely basic, with a licensed Yoda baseball cap and a tan Sparkle Skirt. I wore a thift shop brown tech shirt and for Yoda's Jedi robe I cut up a tan thrift shop tech shirt and trimmed it with dollar store ribbon attached with Res Q mending tape.

The course was very similar to last year's Dark Side course. Pandora was added in Animal Kingdom and we took the other way around Crescent Lake.

Training & Goals
Training was a whole lotta nothing for this weekend. All of my runs in April have been races! And after my fall and suspected fractured/bruised rib(s) at Colt Creek on the 14th, I was going to take it really easy.

Race Day: April 22, 2018
Arthur came along. He dropped me off at Epcot and I hopped on a bus to the TTC for the start. I had a huge drop bag that had a change of clothes and shoes, plus my 5K, 10K, and virtual medals. We weren't sure if Arthur would meet me at the finish line or not.

After dropping my bag, I got into my corral and snuck as far up to the front as I could. It was about 72°F at the start with 83% humidity. It was overcast and remained cloudy for the entire morning. That kept temperatures low and humidity high.

Mile 1, 2, 3, 4: 12:17, 12:40, 12:15, 12:10
These miles took us from the TTC / Magic Kingdom parking lot out along Bear Island Road to Animal Kingdom. I usually snap quick pictures of the photo ops and entertainment as I pass by but I didn't feel like it for this race. Almost from the start my chest / rib was bothering me. They had the fun Battle of Endor segement like last year, this time with a fire effect enhancing the battle ambiance. That was cool. There was also a Darth Vader segment of road with red lights and the Imperial March and heavy breathing.

Mile 5: 19:15
We ran through Animal Kingdom, hitting Pandora for the first time in a Dark Side race.

Mile 6, 7, 8, 9, 10: 17:20, 17:43, 13:31, 16:04, 17:17
Just out of Animal Kindgom there were some 501sties backstage. Photo time!

Arthur was spectating in the Animal Kingdom parking lot. It's always great to see him on a race course. He was close to the Hoth photo op and of course I had to stop for that once more, it's my favorite.

I stopped to have photos with Sabine & Ezra and Darth Maul before reaching Hollywood Studios.

Mile 11, 12, 13+: 20:57, 16:27, 21:16, 16:15*
We entered Hollywood Studios to be greeted by a bunch of 501sties. 

The speeder bikes were out between Hollywood Studios and Boardwalk. The line was short so I stopped. I always skip this one because there are two speeders and I feel a little bit sad to take this photo alone. I also stopped for Chewie for a change.

I was running in Epcot after 9AM so the park was open. Between World Showcase and Future World I saw that a Joffery's coffee kiosk was open. I made a pit stop to get a frozen adult beverage. I finally remembered to get myself a treat for that last mile.

Just as we left Epcot, before the finish line, was the last group of 501st characters. These guys make the races so much fun. I can't wait to see them again next year.

After the Race
Arthur met me at the finish area. After a couple of finisher photos, a look at the merch tent, and a big celebratory beer, I went to change my clothes. We spent the rest of the day at Animal Kingdom for the park's anniversary (with a bonus visit to Epcot to see Lonestar's Garden Rocks concert).

Chip time: 3:45:20
Placement details:
823rd of 922 in Age Group, 14132nd overall out of 15089 finishers
Race Amenities:
Women's short sleeve tech tee, Captain Phasma medal, usual Disney goodness
$315.13 for the 10K and half marathon challenge plus $69 for the virtual & Kessel Run Challenge

*With all the bobbing and weaving of a runDisney race, my GPS usually ends up going significantly over the race distance. For this 13.1 mile race my Garmin gave me 13.7 miles.

Report written April 29, 2018

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