Race Recaps: 2021 Virtual Star Wars Rival Runs

The 2020 Rival Run Weekend was cancelled due to COVID-19. It would have been the 5th year for Star Wars races at Walt Disney World, and my 5th time running the half marathon. This is my favorite race weekend at Disney World and something I really look forward to each year. It was extra disappointing for all legacy runners who were looking forward to participating in the events for the fifth straight year. 

Unfortunately, the 2021 race weekend, originally sold as an in-person event, was converted to virtual due to the ongoing pandemic. The Star Wars Rival Run Weekend 2021 was originally scheduled to take place on April 16, 17, and 18, 2021. I completed the series a couple of weeks early, during a pleasantly cool few days in early April.

In anticipation of many runners completing the races during the original race weekend, runDisney produced this video for participants in mid-April.

Virtual Race Goals
I had no time goals and planned to mostly walk all three distances. My main goal was to simply complete the series in three consecutive days as the live event would have been.

5K: April 1, 2021
Finish Time: 43:27
When I started at 8AM it was about 68°F. I completed this in my neighborhood.

10K: April 2, 2021
Finish Time: 1:35:42
I completed this on local trails. I started at around 8:28AM when it was a pleasant cool 54°F.

Half Marathon: April 3, 2021
Finish Time: 3:36:12
I walked a few loops through my neighborhood to complete this event. I put a cooler with water and snacks on a lawn chair in our driveway as a makeshift aid station that I walked by a few times. It was 54°F when I started at around 7:38AM. A local, in-person marathon and half marathon was taking place on nearby trails and I could see the runners each time I went by my house. Seeing the runners made me excited to do in-person events again.

Fun fact: this was my second virtual half marathon of all time, following the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon I ran back in March of 2018.

Another fun fact: my finish time of 3:36:12 was faster than three of my in-person half marathons! Disney races are meant for fun and I got my money's worth at the 2019 Rival Run (3:38:31), the 2018 Dark Side Half (3:45:20), and the WDW Half Marathon as part of Dopey 2018 (3:51:40).

Swag
As this was originally scheduled to be an in-person race weekend but later converted to virtual, registered runners had several options from which to choose when it came time to decide how to proceed, from full refund to various degrees of partial refund depending on chosen swag options. I decided to take the most swag with the least refund (More Galaxy Option for the 5K and Lightspeed Option for the Challenge). That got me shirts and medals for all events plus challenge.

For this race, the 5K was a separate registration from the Challenge (the 10K plus Half Marathon), but I received all of my shirts and medals in the same jumbo box.

Each race has a different set of featured characters, matching the overall Rival Run theme. The 5K features a two-sided medal with Ahsoka Tano on one side and Darth Maul on the other.

The 10K characters are Princess Leia in A New Hope versus a Stormtrooper.

The Half Marathon spinner medal has Darth Vader on one side and Yoda on the other.

The Challenge shirt and medal both feature a TIE Fighter and an X-Wing. The split spinner medal is a neat idea but the ships don't line up on my medal, unfortunately.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the swag. I like the medals. Yoda looks weird on the Half Marathon medal, but Vader looks good so I'll just display that side. Small bummer that the ships don't line up on the challenge medal.

runDisney started producing their own shirts last year after using nice tech tops from Champion for some time (at least since I started with rD in 2016). Those tops were thick and heavy. They have switched again to a different in-house style which is a good, lightweight tech material, though it has a bit of waffle-weave look and feel, which tends to snag very easily. In fact, my 5K shirt came pre-snagged with a small pick between the neckline and the design.

I'm glad I opted to do all of the Star Wars races virtually, (in my head I'm still 'legacy' on the Half), but I am so looking forward to the next in-person runDisney event. I can't wait for the next Star Wars race weekend! I'm crossing my fingers for 2022!

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