The Dark Side Challenge is a 2-race challenge – The Star Wars 10k and the Star Wars Half Marathon – that takes place at runDisney’s Star Wars (Dark Side) Weekend at Walt Disney World. Since this is an inaugural event with huge appeal in running, Disney, and pop culture – communities, we are bringing you extensive bi-coastal coverage:
– Star Wars Dark Side Challenge Weekend Recap & Overview
– Star Wars Dark Side 10k: Candace’s Race Recap, Jennifer’s Race Recap, All Along the Course Video, & Event/Course Preview
– Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon: Candace’s Race Recap, Jennifer’s Race Recap, All Along the Course Video, & Event/Course Preview
– Star Wars Dark Side 5k: Event/Course Preview
– Star Wars CosRunning Concepts: Tangled Up, Beauty & The Bounty Hunter, Admiral Piett
The first half of the Kessel Run Challenge took place during the Rebel Challenge in Disneyland in California:
– Star Wars Light Side 10k: Race Recap & All Along the Course Video
– Star Wars Light Side Half Marathon & Rebel Challenge: Race Recap & All Along the Course Video
When we launched Casual Runner, we did so with the idea of providing runners with a voice for sharing their personal experiences and opinions. In so doing, we created a platform where fellow runners can learn from the experiences of their peers and enhance their own Casual Running adventures.
This is perhaps most important when it comes to committing yourself to selecting races, especially given the significant investment of money, time, and training that goes along with committing to a race. Our race reviews provide a snapshot of runners’ experiences at many events. It is also important to note that not every Casual Runner will have the same experience at the same event. This is why, at times, our Team has very differ opinions of the same race, and it is important to us that we share these opinions with our readers – all of them.
Case in point, while I did not have a favorable opinion of the the 2016 Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, Jennifer’s experience was quite different. So we shared both sets of opinions so our readers – and the race directors themselves – could hear the whole store and make decisions appropriately.
Jennifer and Candace shared their views and opinions on runDisney’s inaugural Star Wars Dark Side events, and noticed that they had very different experiences of the same event (seriously, go back and read their thoughts now, you’ll be glad you did: Star Wars 10k: Candace’s Recap & Jennifer’s Recap; Star Wars Half Marathon: Candace’s Recap & Jennifer’s Recap). See what we mean? Same event, very different experiences.
Given this, I wanted to share my final thoughts on this event by looking at the hits and misses of this inaugural event, and hopefully give both runDisney and Casual Runners some ideas for making futures events even more magical.
EXPO & PRE-RACE
Race Expo (HIT) – I am not generally the biggest fan of race expos. The fact that runDisney had me enjoying this one says a lot. The photo ops, random Storm Trooper appearances, and overall theme made this an enjoyable experience.
Event Merch Design (HIT) – Disney knocked this one out of the freakin park. I have never seen a better selection of merch at a runDisney event.
Event Merch Sales (HUGE MISS) – Everyone knew that this was going to be a disaster, and it was. For the life of me I can’t figure out why runDisney doesn’t take reasonable steps to lessen the crowds (and accompanying chaos) by making all of the event merch available for online pre-order with pickup at the expo. They could even add a no return no exchange policy on all pre-order items. Regardless, something must be done about this, seeing grown adults push and shove to grab merch is definitely no bueno and leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.
Event Transport (HIT) – Aside from some misinformation on departure times, the pre-race event transport was as good as I’ve ever seen it at a runDisney event. As Jennifer pointed out, however, there were some issues with the expo transportation that need to be worked on.