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Fitness: My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

I mean, unless you've been living under a rock, or ya know, not actually checking my social media channels (but, let's be real, why wouldn't you?) then you'll probably have seen that I took part in the inaugural Disneyland Paris runDisney event.

What's runDisney I hear you ask? Well, let's get into it shall we? (I promise I'll try and stop being some sort of narrator you get at the start of Disney films now. Soz.)

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

I first heard about runDinsey a couple of years ago, however when I looked into it, all I could see was that races sold out ridiculously fast, and were equally ridiculously expensive. I mean, I'd have had to factor in flights, accommodation etc. and whilst I was desperate to do it, my budget was saying not anytime in the near future.

For those of you who don't know, runDisney is basically a series of race weekends that happen in both Disneyland and Disneyworld in America. They have various themed events, and various distances, and people can take part, win medals and meet various characters. I mean, you can read more about it on their website here, 'cause let's face it, this will explain it better than I can.

However, toward the end of last year, I saw a rumour that runDisney was heading to Disneyland Paris for the first time, which, is a lot easier for me to get to than 'merica, so I got on it. I also roped in my lovely friend Shen, and the good ol' Mr Biscuit.

I think applications opened in the October, and at around half 7 in the morning, I gave Mr B a call to say it was all booked. Disneyland Paris gave a list of their travel operators, and at this point you could only book both accommodation and race registration, then in the January they opened just race applications.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

Tbh, we didn't really have to do that much afterwards. We had to get a medical certificate signed by a doctor, and put in what we thought we'd complete the race in, but bar that it was all pretty simple if I'm honest.

We booked to go for 4 days and three nights, which was the maximum time on offer, however later added extra days with Disney themselves. Within the package we got our accommodation, entry to both races, and a two-day park hopper pass. You could add extra park hopper passes, and travel if you wanted to (we booked travel separately after we booked the extra days, and our extra days gave us the extra park hopper pass we needed. )

I'm going to do a whole other post on our Disney visit etc, which will include accommodation, so come back soon if you want to read about that. (Although, be warned. It'll probably be even longer than this blog post...)

Whilst in America they do a whole host of different length races, in Paris they only offered a 5K race and Half-Marathon (and some kids races) so I signed us both up to the 5K and the Half, 'cause medals.

Now, I did just sign up to both so I could get the medals, but I'm really glad that we did both of them, because they were both fantastic experiences.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

BIB Pick-Up

Before we left, we were sent an email detailing what would happen for BIB pick-up, and it all sounded a little daunting if I'm honest (but I'm also a scaredy cat, so there's that.)

We had to print off a form for each event, then hand that in at the events arena to get our BIB pack, gearbag and T-Shirt.

The events arena was really well organised, and when we arrived at around lunch-time on the Friday, we hardly had to wait in any queues, and the volunteers were fab, and very helpful.

I would say one thing about the T-Shirts and that is to size up, especially if you're having a women's size, as my ladies XL was smaller than Mr B's men's M. You can swap on the day you get there, but be careful as when the sizes are gone, they're gone.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

Bit ridiculous, but at least I have something to shrink into for when I finally start losing weight again.

When you first get given your BIB packet, you need to hand over a form that will have been sent to you by email, then in the packet you have your BIBs, a sticker for your gearbag (if you want to hand it in during the race) and a slip for you to get your T-Shirt.

I didn't find the events arena that exciting, and from what I've seen of places in America, they appear to be a lot better. But I did manage to get a couple of the pins that I wanted, so all is not lost.

And that was that really. I reckon we were there less than an hour, and that was with looking at merch etc.

Oh, and also, in our bags, we got given a booklet on how the whole weekend would work AND a 15% off voucher for food in the Disney Village, which was re-usable and could be used for the whole weekend.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

The 5K

Both the races began at 7am, and we read that you needed to be in your Corral by 6:30am, so, us being us, we got there at about 6am.

Well done us.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

However, bar the fact we had to stand for longer out in the cold. I'm actually quite glad we got there at that time. We got to have our picture against the fancy background without having to wait years in a long queue, and we both got to pretty much the front of our Corrals.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

Shen didn't run this race, and Mr B was in the Corral above me (we didn't realise at the time, but you can actually move down a Corral, just not up) so the wait did feel a lot longer than it probably should've done because I was standing, waiting to start by myself.

However, being in Corral B, and getting quite close to the front meant once the race began I was out quite quickly and it wasn't too crowded. (Mr Biscuit said there were no queues for characters when he ran in, lucky nugget!)

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

Because of the amount of days on our park hopper ticket, we hadn't actually been the parks yet, so this race was my first time actually seeing the castle and everything, and oh my god, I nearly cried. IT WAS SO FREAKIN' MAGICAL.

I mean, every time I walked through the gates and saw the castle at the end of Mainstreet my eyes pricked a little, 'cause guys, there's nothing like it, but there was something about that morning, about being part of a special group of people, about actually freakin' running, that made it that little bit more special.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

We ran down past the hotel. through the main gates and straight up Mainstreet.

We then headed to the right of the castle where we were met with 3 villains, Jafar, Captain Hook and freakin' Cruella (one of the main people I wanted to meet).

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

Now, the 5K race isn't timed, so I decided to take my sweet time meeting everyone I wanted and then for the half, which is timed, just power through.

So I got in the queue for Cruella, and honestly had an 'I can't believe this is happening moment.'

I skipped Jafar, but got a pic with Hook, 'cause, well it's Captain Hook, then carried on.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

The sun was just starting to rise and everything looked even more magical. Honestly, it was AWESOME.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

I waddled past some Star Wars characters, rounded a corner and spotted Rabbit and Eeyore.

Now, if you know me at all, you'll know I love Pooh bear, so I'm not going to lie, was a bit disappointed the main man himself wasn't there, but I got in the queue none the less.

THEN (this is where the magic truly happened) two people before my turn, out strolled Tigger, then Piglet, and then Winnie the goddammed Pooh came out, and they all stayed and I got a picture with them all, and then I sat on a wall near them and Instagrammed my picture and tried very hard not to cry. I mean, I couldn't see how things were going to get better than that.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

After that I ran past Alice and Crew, Thumper and his lady, and then got in the queue for Mary, Bert and a Penguin. However, karma kicked me in the bum and two people before my turn, Mary and the Penguin disappeared.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

The run then took us through the Castle, and out toward Walt Disney Studios.

By this time I was getting a little tired, and was conscious of the time and making Mr B wait for me, so ran passed other characters, however I'm now kicking myself, as what I thought was the White Rabbit, was actually the one and only Roger Rabbit, so I'm wishing I'd stopped now. But oh well.

The race then took you out of the studios, and outside the lot toward the finish  line, which I was very happy to see.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

Now, unlike other races I've ran (ok, the two...) the medals are given out as you cross the finish line, not in the runner's bag, so whatever you do, don't walk passed the people giving out medals (IDIOT). Luckily Mr B told me and I was able to go back and get mine.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

After I got my medal, we queued to get our photo taken by the finishing wall, which was a mad rush and the photo was awful (ha), we then got our finisher bag which just had a cereal bar and a bag of peanuts in, then headed back to our hotel, to shower and explore the parks. (Although, not before finding a better spot to take a nicer finishing photo, obvs.)

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

The Half Marathon

I'm not going to lie, I was feeling very nervous about the half. I think it was a mixture of not knowing the course, to knowing I wasn't as prepared as I had been previously. plus the fact I'd hurt my foot two weeks before.

Again, it was another early morning start, but this time it was a lot busier than the previous day.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

We got our starting photo, and then got to our Corral for about 6.30ish. Mr B moved down to mine and Shen's Corral for this race, which was nice.

The wait this time though, was really long.

There was delayed start due to security reasons, and because we were in the third Corral, it took us ages before we were able to start. I felt sorry for the people at the back of our Corral. At about 7.40, we finally started.

This time we began by running toward the Studios, where we raced straight for a toilet.

Shen and I had a pact that we would only stop for Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel if she had Flynn, and of course Winnie the Pooh.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

Mr Biscuit stopped for quite a few characters, but he's a lot faster than us so it didn't really matter.

Out was Captain America, Spider Man, Marie, The Incredibles, Darth Vader, and more I now can't remember.

Apparently the UP people were out, but I missed them. I probably would've stopped for them.

As we rounded the corner where Pooh was the day before, we spotted Cinderella and Prince Charming, however as we weren't fussed, carried on. Then, out the corner of my eye, I spotted the blue of the Beast, then all of a sudden, Belle and human Beast (Prince Adam, as we were reminded in the queue) came out. So obviously we raced back and got in the queue.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

This gave us such a buzz for about 3 miles.

And then we were out of the parks and out into the French countryside.

This is where things got tough.

To be fair to us, we got to about six miles and were still doing ok. There weren't that many hills, and it was a lot nicer than the city suburbs that I've run through previously.

However, there got to a point where you could see runners going the other way, so obviously, in our heads we thought a turning must be soon.

It wasn't.

Those miles where you couldn't see the turn were most definitely the hardest. It was a shame actually, as we ran through a gorgeous areas, but I just couldn't enjoy it.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

Once we finally go to the part where we'd seen the other runners, we got a bit more energy, so we queued for a porter loo (rank) and then got going again.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience
They had some pretty awesome KM markers, but I think this was my fave.
However, I really struggled when I realised we were still so far. We got back to the hotels, which was nice as there were more supporters, however I then got a bit emosh 'cause I was all like, where's my dad cheering (he was at my last two races, and knowing he was at the end to cheer really spurred me on), but we carried on.

After we got round the lake and back to the Disney Village, I was all like, yeah, let's do this, nearly there, and the course was all like, ha no babes. Just another mile.

Again, that was tough.

I honestly don't know what I would've done without Shen keeping me going and encouraging me to go on.

And then, finally, we made it! We go to the finish line and omg I nearly cried. 

1) because of the beauty of the medal, and 2) because I'd only gone and bloomin' done it.

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

So of course I did the natural thing and rang my mom to tell her I'd survied and then begged Mr Biscuit to take me to McDonalds ha!

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

Again we got another goodie bag, (I say goodie, it had a banana, cereal bar and nuts in it) and got our finisher picture.

At this point, I was all, I'm never running again. Then about two hours later, once I'd had a bath, and was back in the parks, I was like, sign me up for next year, because honestly, bar the pain and mental barrier, it was a fan-bloody-tastic experience.
Then, later, in the parks, I got to meet the one and only Becca! 

I've followed Becca for ages, and find her story so inspiring, so to get to meet her in person, and for it to be like I'd known her forever, was so awesome. Apologies to her though for my random babbling, I was very tired...

My runDisney Disneyland Paris Experience

TL;DR This truly is a magical experience, and I'd highly recommend it. Do the 5K if you're not confident as it's not timed but you still get to feel the magic.

For more information on both events, check out the runDisney website and the runDisneyland Paris website.

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