Let's start with the corrals. There were 5 corrals to separate the mass of runners. I'm not sure how they exactly broke the corrals down, since they didn't ask for a proof of time at registration (I know this because I had registered my friend Mel for the 10K the day registration opened, and I specifically remember not having to put a proof of time in for her). I do know that runDisney did have my proof of time for Dumbo, so they may have used that to place me in a corral. Any way, Mel was in corral C and I was in corral D.
(With Mel before we separated into our corrals)
(Just before the start of my 10K - upside down because I was looking down at my bib)
The race had a 5:30 am start time which is typical for runDisney races, so they can get the runners through the parks before they open. I can't remember exactly how many minutes were between corrals, but it didn't seem like much time had passed before my corral was off and running.
The first two miles were pretty boring as it was outside the parks on the streets of Anaheim. There were still people out on the streets cheering us on though, so that was nice. Once I had made it to mile two of the race we entered California adventure. That is where the fun began!! All the lights were on, the rides were moving (though no one was on them), and the rainbow sprinklers from the World of Color show were going. I first made my way down through Cars Land where Mater greeted runners and many stopped to take pictures.
(Sorry, it's a little blurry, I think my pic from the 1/2 is better)
Once through Cars Land we whipped around the corner and up to Paradise Pier, here is where I was able to see the World of Color Fountains. We ran down the boardwalk down by California Screamin', past the carousel and Mickey's fun wheel (debatable), and back around the front of the pier. Just as I was coming up to the Carousel, I noticed they were letting people on to ride it. I ran up to the line, but the woman said, " Sorry, it's full and this is our one Magic Moment." BUMMER! If only I hadn't stopped to take a few pictures at Cars Land and Paradise Pier. Oh well, it was a really neat idea!
(View of Paradise Pier)
(I'm still wondering why I decided to pose like this in ALL of my pictures)
Once through paradise pier we turned and ran down by the Grizzly River Run and back around near the front of California Adventure and ran back towards the Tower of Terror. The course had us exit California Adventure through the side of the park where we ran down a ramp, underground and then back up the ramp where we came out inside Disneyland by Casting and Costumes. We turned by the Main Street USA train station and entered the park from the front.
(My VERY first glimpse of Sleeping Beauty's Castle EVER!)
(Main Street USA)
I ran down Main street USA and turned towards Tomorrowland, then around by the Matterhorn and It's a Small World. We looped around a back part of the park where they had a few of the parade floats out playing music. We reentered another part of the park, and turned back down towards Sleeping Beauty's Castle. One of the most exciting things about running through Disneyland (and Magic Kingdom at Disney World) is running through the castle!
(Just hangin' outside my favorite princesses castle)
After running through the castle we turned down toward Frontierland and through New Orleans Square, where we exited the park through the side. Once outside the park we looped back around toward to front of the park and ran through Downtown Disney. All of downtown Disney was lined with people on both sides. As luck would have it, I looked to my right just as I was coming up to Nita and Tracee!
(Can you tell I was excited to see my friends?! Haha)
Nita caught that action shot of me (that will probably be the only decent looking picture of me while running, I swear the rest of them make me look like I'm dying). When I saw Nita and Tracee, I had roughly 4/10 of a mile to go. I finished strong, and claimed my Stitch medal and my 10K finisher bracelet for the Dumbo Double Dare, then met up with Mel so we could walk back to the hotel together.
The reason I enjoyed this course so much was because the majority of the race was inside the parks. Being inside the parks, there's more opportunity for pictures (Disneyland can't have characters on the streets of Anaheim). Even though I rarely stop for pictures with characters it definitely adds to the fun. At Disney there's always something to distract you from the fact that you're running (the rides, the lights, music, characters, etc). During the 10K I had also decided to listen to the Disney music from the CD my brother and his wife gave me for Christmas, so it was Disney all around for me (I know, I'm such a goof).
If you've never run at Disneyland and are debating on what race you think you'd enjoy more, I can honestly tell you, I think you'll be the happiest with the 10K! I loved every second of this race! Stay tuned for my Disneyland half recap in a few days.
QOTD: Do you have a favorite race course that you enjoy running each year? What's your favorite part of a runDisney race?