Run to The Dark Side

risa xu rundisney inaugural dark side half marathon

*hums Imperial March*

This is a LONG overdue post and I feel really awful that it's taken so long. I know, I say that every time when I'm overdue for something. It's just something I do. BUT – better late than never right? Without more unrelated blabbing, here's my recap of The Star Wars Half Marathon: The Dark Side!

A photo posted by Risa Xu (@risaxu) on

run disney join the dark side sign

So this race was in April this year – I timed our engagement shoot around this trip. If you've never registered for a runDisney race before, let me tell you the hardest part may be trying to register and not even the actual race itself! Things sell out quickly and you really need to be committed since registration opens months in advance.

This was my second runDisney race – the first being the Disneyland Half Marathon last September. Despite all the trips I've taken to Disneyland and overseas, this was actually my first trip to Walt Disney World so it was a lot to taken in three short days.

risa xu rundisney inaugural star wars dark side half marathon
available here from Etsy

available here from Etsy

My favorite part of the runDisney race has to be dressing up and figuring out your costume. Last year, Alice and I dressed up as Alice and the Cheshire Cat. This race, I ran solo so I went with the ultimate villain in The Star Wars universe. As much as I would love to go really go all out and be as creative as one of my favorite runners to follow on Instagram, I know I don't have 1) the creativity to make costumes and 2) I would die running with all that stuff on my body and eventually would be removed from the course for lack of clothing and indecent exposure. So I go simple and choose colors that represent the character and some sort of defining qualities. For Darth Vader, I chose a bow that was his chest piece and I strung red fairy lights through my black tutu. 

rundisney dark side star wars half marathon

I also love seeing other people's costumes at these races. While it's true that many do choose to wear a performance t-shirt and running shorts, the amount of Princess Leia's, Slave Leia's, Darth Mauls I saw were amazing. And many of those Leia's were actually men! It definitely gives you an extra burst of energy when you feel like the end is near.

One of my favorite outfits from this race was actually not a costume at all. I ran behind this runner for a while when we were entering the Animal Kingdom area and I couldn't help but laugh a little to myself. If you can't read it, her cape says "I find my lack of speed disturbing" – a play on a Darth Vader quote. (If you know who this runner is, please let me know so I can credit her appropriately!)

risa xu star wars dark side half marathon rundisney r2d2
risa xu rundisney star wars dark side half marathon stormtroopers

And no runDisney race would be complete without some character photos! The lines for pictures were crazy for this race – I think I stood in line for anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes for the picture with R2D2. I wasn't going to miss out on my favorite little Droid! But this race actually had more character photo ops than the Disneyland Half. There were so many places to stop, props to take pictures with and even photo ops with multiple characters. The only issue with that area was that there were no photographers so you either had to selfie it or ask someone who was also in a rush to take your picture for you. (Where are you when I need you, Alice?!)

Another awesome thing this race had was when we were running between parks, there was entertainment along the way – this included music and DJ's, smoke machines with red lights and Darth Vader breathing playing through speakers, as well as clips for the movies playing!

risa xu rundisney dark side half marathon finish

While there weren't many downsides to this race, I will say that I noticed many people cutting the course. And this seems to be a growing epidemic in the running world. Several articles and blog posts have been written about cheating in other races and seeing it happen multiple times first hand was a little sad to me. I'm definitely not the fastest or best runner out there but I give it my all and I complete the entire course. Many people have never run a race before and this may have been their first. If I had one suggestion to runDisney, it would be to manage the blind spots along the course. I realize we can't catch everybody but it was a little disheartening to see someone at mile 8 decide to shave a couple miles off their race.

All in all, the race was a really fun experience and I'm already eyeing which race I'd like to do next – though, it might not be a while considering we have a wedding to plan for next year! I'm also still trying to convince Nicholas to do one with me – he's not much of a runner and I don't think he wants to do the Tinkerbell or Princess half-marathons... 

So, if you're on the fence about a runDisney race, whether it's because of the costs associated or the idea of a race scares you, I encourage you to take the chance and experience a really fun 5K/10K/13.1 miles! Plus, runDisney has the most AMAZING medals I've received to date.

risa xu dark side half marathon rundisney medal star wars