Being a runner and a lover of Disney, it's only natural that running a Disney race is top on my list. I've now run 5 different races at Disneyland and have thoroughly enjoyed them all.
I hadn't really planned on running the Avengers Half because the price tag $195 was a bit much for a half marathon considering full marathons are generally less than that.
As luck would have it, a friend was offering her bib the day before the race, so I got to run the race for a greatly reduced price. So I could just review the race in relation to the price I paid, but that wouldn't be fair as most people paid 4 times what I paid. So even though I didn't pay much, the review below is based upon the full retail price of the race, $195.
I also won't be reviewing the expo as I didn't have a chance to go, this is strictly for the race.
We also need to apologize for the blurriness of some of the pictures, as I was running, well, trying to. =)
At the starting line.
Compared to other Disney races I had run, it seemed they were enforcing the corrals much more than in previous years. While this is usually a good thing, it meant that I would be starting in the very back. I was probably among the last 500 people to start the race.
The first group of runners began about 40 minutes before I would, so staying loose was a problem.
Finally at about 6:15am my race began
The race began down Disneyland Drive and then quickly turned onto the old Tram Road behind DCA's Paradise Pier and backstage behind CarsLand.
The biggest thrill of running a Disney race is the time spent running inside the parks and backstage. To say that the Avengers had the least amount of "on property" running of any Disney race I've done would be an understatement.
Below is a map of the backstage/onstage route we took for the first part of the race.
1.74 miles backstage or onstage. No running through Hollywood in DCA, no Tomorrowland at Disneyland. If you include just the "on stage" route, this amounts to only 1.2 miles, so less than 1/10th of the total race.
We entered DCA at the gate between CarsLand and BugsLand.
Running down Route 66
Obligatory bad running selfie
After leaving CarsLand we made our way down towards Mermaid and right towards Grizzly River Run.
The path inside DCA ended at Soarin'. That was all of DCA we'd be running through for this race.
After a quick trip through the Esplanade, we found ourselves backstage at Disneyland. A look at the Indiana Jones show building.
We entered Disneyland at the gate next to Splash Mountain
We proceeded to run through New Orleans Square and Frontierland on our way to Big Thunder Trail
Of course we had to run through the castle but there was no chance for individual castle pictures due to the congestion.
One of the things Disney is known for during it's races is great photo ops with the characters. I didn't notice it until I was putting together this update, but this race had a severe lack of character moments compared to the Disneyland and Tinkerbell Half Marathons.
And just like that, our run through Disneyland is over
One of the great things about running a Disney race is the awesome Disney CM's, and even better when you run into a Disney CM that you know. Hi Allison!!!! At least one of us is awake in this picture (hint, it's not me).
Allison and her CM friends made an awesome Avengers direction sign in the Esplanade. It's the little touches.
Heading to the "Exit" of Disneyland and onto the tram road that the toy story buses use.
And finally out to "Beautiful" Anaheim ... a mere 2.5 miles into the race.
I guess Target could be a part of the theme? Hulk Smash Target?
After running on Harbor Blvd, Chapman Blvd, through the parking lot of the Crystal Cathedral and Garden Grove Blvd, we found ourselves on the Santa Ana River trail.
For the next 2 miles we would run on a narrow trail, in a race with 20,000 runners.
Since it was a very windy day, the mile markers were unfortunately a casualty. Not even the Avengers could have saved them on this day.
More of the beautiful trail. Ooooh, look at all those awesome flags.
Shouldn't it be "Los Angeles Angel Stadium of Anaheim"? =)
(we all hate the name)
Getting ready to run through "The Big A"
Is it weird that I've now run through Angel Stadium 4 times and haven't seen a baseball game here since the 80's? I think so too. Need to fix that one of these days.
Back on the streets, headed back towards the resort
Nothing like a big ad on a truck to say "here's where your $195 was spent".
As we approached the resort I'd hoped that we'd get a little more running inside of the parks, but nope, just under the tunnel that goes under the Harbor entrance and backstage at DCA.
The race ended with a loop around the Paradise Pier Hotel and directly in front of the Disneyland hotel.
This here was one of the most awesome things ever as there is always a back up for pictures, even if you don't want to take one.
The winds were so strong that they had to get everybody out from around the stage and the family reunion area. Obviously people were upset, but really, there is nothing Disney could have done about the wind. It's not like the bubble that surrounds Disneyland extends to the hotel parking lots. ;)
People were still wanting to use the Port-o-Potties ... in the high winds. I don't know if you've ever been in one of these that tipped over, but I'm guessing it's not a very pleasant experience. =)
After the race I'd normally show off my medal in the parks (because I earned it) but this was as close as I'd get. =)
I finished the race in about 2:44, which isn't my best time and isn't my worst time. You don't run a Disney race to set a Personal Record, and considering we had spent 12 hours at Disneyland the day before and I was running on 2 hours of sleep (and no breakfast) I was perfectly happy with that time.
Overall, I'd have to easily say that the course for the Avengers Half was the worst for any Disney race I've run. it didn't have enough inside/backstage at the parks compared to previous races and the amount of time spent on narrow trails was ridiculous for a race with 20,000 people.
Is this race worth $195? Honestly, if I'd payed that much I would have been greatly disappointed. It will be interesting to see what course the upcoming Star Wars Half Marathon takes in January.