Yay, it's Star Wars race weekend at Disney World! I've run this weekend for the past three years. You can read my reports about previous 5K races here: 2016 Dark Side 5K (my first runDisney event); 2017 Dark Side 5K; 2018 Dark Side 5K. This year the race series was rebranded as the Rival Run, but it will always be the Dark Side to me!
I had so much fun running the 5K last year as a Star Trek: Discovery officer that I decided to go Trek for the 5K again this year. I wore a classic-style yellow science officer uniform.
Training & Goals
Still struggling with an achy Achilles, I took almost three full weeks off from running. I fully expected to walk much of the weekend and had fears and doubts about completing the half marathon. The usual Disney race goal for me is to have as much fun as possible, and that was still the main focus.
Race Day: April 5, 2019
For the 5K I aimed to arrive as early as possible to knock out the photo ops for the weekend. My alarm was set for 2AM, but I woke up on my own at 1:50AM. I went to get my iPhone 6S from the charging station and it was completely dead. PANIC!
First World Problem Alert: I had been having battery drain issues with my phone for about two weeks. I got a battery case that I hoped would get me through the weekend until I had a chance to go to the Apple Store. It had performed well for the few days I had it before the morning of the 5K, but now the phone was completely dead; even when plugged in it wasn't getting any power. What to do? I want to take photos! I want to be able to text Arthur if I have to! I want to be navigate in case of traffic! Eek! I ran upstairs and got an old iPod Touch that had a front-facing camera. I figured that was better than nothing. I still had the faint hope the iPhone might wake up in the meantime.
In addition to this little phone problem, Arthur and I had suffered a rear-end collision on I-4 in our Prius on Sunday night. We borrowed my parent's car for a few days so we didn't have to drive the disabled Prius too much. I left home in my parent's car at around 2:17AM. I was parked by 3:15AM and got in line to get into the pre-race area, which opened up at 3:30AM. It was neat to see all of the photo ops and pre-race area deserted for a minute before everyone else started arriving.
There were 7 photo ops set up; Ewoks and K-2S0 were new so I got in line for those first. I also got my photo with BB-8, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, and Boba Fett. I skipped Jabba the Hutt.
Soon it was time to get into the corral. I was in A for the 5K and got in around 5AM. We started shuffling towards the start and watched the announcers as they entertained us before it was time to run. At around 5:25AM they seemed to be acting a little off, going to the DJ playing music in a way that seemed a little bit unplanned. The wheelchair atheletes usually start a minute or two before the runners, but by 5:30AM we were still watching a psychedelic screen of kalidescope images playing to a Star Wars mixtape with no word of the race starting for anyone. Someone in the corral mentioned having seen lightning in the distance. Clouds were visible in the distance but the weather where we were seemed perfect. Let's go!
A few minutes later it was announced to a confused crowd that there were electrical storms in the area and the start area was to be evacuated. Runners lined up to get into nearby buses, but they filled up quickly. We were advised to go to our cars if possible, or to the entrance of Epcot. I headed to Epcot (I couldn't go to the car without having a smart device to follow race updates). I was under shelter when it suddenly started raining very hard. Race participants started streaming in, and we crammed together to make space for everyone. Time passed with no announcement. Some participants left.
By 6:30AM I was certain the race wouldn't go forward and I was surprised there was no announcement yet. At around 7AM we were told that the course was being evaluated and if all was good, we would still be running. Wheelchair athletes were escorted out and the rest of us followed. We would basically be starting our race upon arrival; there were no corrals and no wave starts. Once I arrived at the starting area it was a long, slow, crowded walk to the start line.
It was about 64°F at the start with steady light rain. Just before I reached the start line there was a scary loud cracking lightning bolt about a mile away that made everyone jump and question runDisney's decision. That ended up being the last lighting and thunder of the day.
Mile 1: 16:03
I figured I'd be walking most of the race anyway, so I didn't really mind the constant course congestion that resulted from the entire field starting at once. The emperor's chair was out as a photo op as we got into Epcot around Test Track.
Mile 2: 18:18
There was one water stop, and those poor volunteers were having a much longer day than they could have anticipated. In the rain, no less. Disney didn't have any characters out in the rain.
The Rest: 20:14
Leaving Epcot I was delighted to see the 501st out for photo ops. I guessed the rain would have kept them inside but they were out there, taking pictures with everyone and cheering us on with smiles and encouragement.
Because of the delay, the course was shortened. The official course had us going through both sides of Future World but after we left World Showcase we just headed out of the park. My Garmin gave me 2.75 miles but I think the consensus I heard from fellow runners was about 2.45 miles.
Though I was walking for most of the race, I started to jog at the end. There were cast members out telling us to slow down as we approached the mat -- it was wet and slippery I guess. A lot of folks were not happy to be told to slow down at the finish line. It was kind of funny.
The rain let up eventually, but I'm not sure if any of the characters were out after the race. It was very late, after all. I went to change clothes and then drove up to the Apple Store to get my iPhone checked out. The outcome wasn't good, but that's another sad First World Problem story for another day.
Race Amenities: Cotton t-shirt, medal for all, magical rainy course through Epcot.
Cost: $90.61 (about the same as last year)
Report written April 10, 2019