Before we even try to convince you of the superiority of this particular runDisney event, it is imperative you accept Star Wars as a now integral part of the Disney experience. No, it does not mesh seamlessly with the Disney on which we were raised. Given the Walt Disney Company’s $4-billion investment, and recent, profound cinematic success, Star Wars’ place is now carved into the bedrock. If you are unable to come to terms with this, Disneyland’s new Star Wars-heavy renovations will not please you. For everyone else, know that in the series of incredible runDisney orchestrated weekends, there are many standout races. The Star Wars 10K is the best.
Granted, it’s a close contest. Any runDisney race in which you participate is unarguably wonderful. The 5 and 10K courses are primarily within one or more of the Disney Parks, setting them far above the further distances, which, as necessitated by real estate and hours of operation, send you out onto various surface streets, frontage roads, parking lots and one dusty trail.
The Walt Disney World 10K course falls just short of the distinguished honor. It circumnavigates Epcot, the Boardwalk and surrounding resort area, is exceedingly runner-accommodating and is the envy of every other event. Except Star Wars. Where the Epcot course loses points are the nearly four miles it winds around the lot, driveway and service road system. Some preliminary distance is required to thin out participants before they descend upon Epcot’s unavoidable pinch points. But four miles is a bit excessive. By the time you get into the park, your race is 2/3 over. It’s still a beautiful jaunt around the World Showcase Lagoon and back through Future World, but it’s almost tragically abbreviated.
The Disneyland 10K course is a masterwork of crowd control and virtual theme-park exclusivity. To be fair to the 5K races, they trod much of the same ground, but like the Epcot segment of the Walt Disney World runs, they’re over too quickly. The time the Disneyland 10K spends outside of the park, you can literally reach out one hand and touch Disneyland property. You can smell popcorn and hear train whistles and roller coasters.
So, what sets Star Wars apart from the other Disneyland 10K’s? Not theme, nececssarily, it’s more a product of volume. Disneyland and Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekends are incredible and just attract too many visitors. As for Avengers, despite the advice we issued above about adaptation and acceptance, vis-a-vis Avengers we haven’t gotten there yet.