The Casual Runner

runDisney Super Heroes Half Marathon & Infinity Gauntlet Challenge Preview & Tips

We’re back with yet another runDisney race weekend preview! Now, we know that the Super Heroes race weekend has an auspicious, albeit brief, history on the runDisney calendar. To be honest, of all of the event, this one has had the most trouble selling out. There have been many tweaks to the theming of this event in a short time, but, it still comes filled  with all of the runDisney pomp and excitement. So we want to get you ready to take on the courses at this year’s event! You can also check out our past coverage of this event:

2015 Avengers Half Marathon Race Review
2015 Captain America 10k
COSRUNNING: Big Hero Fred

COSRUNNING: HoneyLemon

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What are the events?

This year’s race weekend, as you might expect will include runDisney Kids Races, the Captain America 5k, the Dr. Strange 10k, the half marathon, and the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge (for those who registered for the challenge to run both the Dr. Strange 10k and half marathon).

Some Quick Changes & Tips For This Race Weekend. 

1) runDisney will NOT be offering a printed event guide, choosing to make it only available online. You can find the electronic event guide here. I am not a fan of this for three reasons. First, many runners value the event guide as a souvenir of this event. Given the high cost of these races, eliminating this benefit just seems silly. Second, from a practical matter, when you are travelling, it is nice to be able to thumb through the paper version of the guide in your hotel room and make note of important times, locations, and other information. Hopefully runners will not miss out on important information given this change. However, and this is my third, we saw how this method worked out (or did not work out) during the 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, and found it to create unnecessary confusion when information could have otherwise been easily obtained in a paper event guide.

IMG_67322) All events other than the Kids races begin on Disneyland Drive between Magic Way and Paradise Way, near Disneyland Hotel and the Lilo Parking Lot near Downtown Disney. The finish lines will be nearby. This is near where the expo will be held so you can plan your race morning route when you go to the expo.

3) Transportation: If you are used to Walt Disney World Resort runDisney events, Disneyland events are VERY different. Once you are near the Resort, everything is within walking distance, including many off-property hotels. If you want to save your feet, free transportation is provided via Anaheim Resort Transportation (check out the electronic event guide for more details).  For most people, walking or Uber will be your best option. If you are driving, there are lots of road closures and race days can be messy for traffic, so leave plenty of time and plan your route in advance. (Pro Tip: Uber  is also a great option to get you from the race expo to In-N-Out Burger, just sayin’!).

4) Start Times: Aside from the Kids Races, all 3 events start at the same time: 5:29 a.m. for the Wheelchair Start with runners starting at 530 a.m. Runners need to leave enough time to be in their corrals well in advance of these start times.

5) Safety Tip! I learned from experience that the lane markers on the Anaheim streets can be tricky to navigate, especially when they are wet. They are a hard plastic and can become very slippery if you are not paying attention. So, do yourself a favor and pay attention to these when you are running down the streets.

6) Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! Race photos are once again being included in your Disney Photopass package. So, if you are on the fence about whether to buy it, you may want to look into it.

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7) Plan Your Route! If you are staying east of Disneyland, you can walk to the races via the Esplanade. However, after the 5k and 10k, if you plan on returning to your hotel this way, you may have difficulty. In past years, if the race is still going on, they closed pedestrian access in Downtown Disney and we were stuck for a good 45 minutes, until all runners finished. So you may want to opt for a different, longer route back to your hotel, especially if you want to get cleaned up before hitting the parks. You will also need to pass through security every time you enter the Esplanade, so make sure you build in extra time for long security lines and are prepared to have bags and costumes searched.

Moving along…

The RunDisney Health and Fitness Expo

While we have an entire article with tips for Surviving a RunDisney expo, I wanted to share some Disneyland-specific ones. The Expo begins on Thursday morning and goes thru early Saturday evening at the Disneyland Hotel Exhibit Hall.  From past experience, runDisney expos tend to be the most busy on the first day of the expo (especially when the expo first opens). However if you want official race merchandise I suggest that you make it to the expo on the first day, preferably at opening. They have been doing a good job of restocking some of the event merch at recent events, but you never know.

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Also, another tip for getting official race merchandise is to go to the merchandise booth before you go to pick up your bib.  Your bib will be there no matter when you go, the merchandise may not.  The only people that absolutely have to go to the expo on Thursday are the 5K runners. That being said, all 10K and Infinity Gauntlet Challenge runners have to go to the expo before it closes on Friday. Because of this, Saturday will have the lowest crowd levels because the only people left to pick up bibs that day are the remaining half marathon runners.

So you know what to expect, you will pickup you race bibs, ChEAR Squad, and pre-purchased commemorative item on the LOWER LEVEL. You will then have to go upstairs to the main Expo floor for everything else: race shirt pickup, vendors, speakers, etc. This is also a good chance to check out the course maps as they will be printed on large displays.

Tip: Don’t leave without checking out the photo ops runDisney sets up. They are usually worth the wait. 

Make sure to check out more tips on Surviving a RunDisney expo.

New Balance & Special runDisney Running Shoes.

Many runners say, aside from nabbing some event merch, say their top priority at every runDisney expo is to head on over to the New Balance booth so they can grab the awesome runDisney-themed shoes. If you want to get your hands on these shoes you need to sign up for a virtual spot in line the day before you go.

I always head to check in and collect points on the MyNB app. If you are not familiar with this program you can collect points on the app to get rewards such as, runDisney race bibs! (Yes this is amazing, go ahead go sign up…just don’t forget to come back and finish reading this article!).

Now, lets get to the races!

Captain America 5K 
Friday, November 11, 2016 at 5:30 a.m.
CLICK HERE FOR COURSE MAP

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This course is pretty straightforward. You start out heading south on Disneyland Drive, before making a left turn into the backstage area of California Adventure. You will find yourself just south of Paradise Pier before entering onstage in CarsLand. TIP: Keep an eye out to your right for a gorgeous view of the mountains, and then to your left for the neon lights of Radiator Springs. You’ll make a gradual left turn where you will find the Mile 1 marker and then be treated to a gorgeous (albeit brief) view of World of Color, so get your cameras ready.

A right turn takes you around Grizzly Peak and past Soarin and the Carthay Circle Theater en route to the Hyperior Theater. A right turn takes you past the Tower of Terror and then a left exit backstage. You will be heading north and pass UNDER the Esplanade. This is the only real elevation of the course, and its a fun feature. On the other end you will find the mile 2 marker and a backstage entrance into Tomorrowland near Space Mountain.

You will make your way past the Finding Nemo Submarine Lagoon and the Matterhorn on your way to Fantasyland. A quick left turn past the carousel brings you to the spectacular run INSIDE Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and your stroll down Main Street USA (heading south) to the main exit of the park. You will exit onto the Esplanade and turn right, heading towards Downtown Disney.

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After you cross over Disneyland Drive you will encounter the 3 mile marker then a quick .1 mile long chute right into the finish line.

Doctor Strange 10K
Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 5:30 a.m.
CLICK HERE FOR COURSE MAP

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You start out heading south on Disneyland Drive and keep heading south for nearly a mile (yes you are heading away from the parks, sorry). You will make a left turn just before the 1 mile mark and then start making your way around the Anaheim Convention Center. I actually enjoy this part of the course: it is well-lit and wide open so it gives crowds a chance to thin out a bit. Once on Harbor Boulevard you turn left and head north, entering the backstage area of California Adventure from the East just before the 2 mile mark. You will make your way backstage behind CarsLand, following roughly the same route as the 5k (see above). This big difference is you get to run ALL THE WAY AROUND World of Color. Enjoy this as it is a true highlight of any runDisney race. You will pass the mile 3 mark just after Toy Story.

A left turn takes you around Grizzly Peak and past Soarin and the Carthay Circle Theater en route to the Hyperior Theater. A right turn will takes you past the Tower of Terror and then a left exit backstage. You will be heading north and pass UNDER the esplanade just after the mile 4 marker. This is the only real elevation of the course and it makes for a fun feature.

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You will be backstage to the east of Tomorrowland for a while as you pass the roundhouse (that houses the Disneyland Steam Trains and Monorail) and the support buildings for the horses and parade units. Enjoy this time as few park guests ever get to see it. You will enter the Disneyland Park in Toontown and make your way into Fantasyland, then past the mile 5 mark before encountering the Matterhorn, the Finding Nemo Submarines, and Space Mountain. Next you reenter Fantasyland so you can run past the Carousel and into Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, where you will emerge onto the main Hub. Enjoy this moment before you stroll down Main Street USA (heading south) to the main exit of the park. NOTE: you will not be running in Frontierland or past the Rivers of America.

You will exit onto the Esplanade and turn right, heading towards Downtown Disney.  The mile 6 mark is just before you cross over Disneyland Drive and then it is a short .2 miles to the finish line.

Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon
Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 5:30 a.m.
CLICK HERE FOR COURSE MAP

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First, you should know that only the first 4 miles of this race are in the parks. Second, these 4 miles are a mix of the 5k and 10k courses.

You start out heading south on Disneyland Drive, before making a left turn into the backstage area of California Adventure. You will find yourself just south of Paradise Pier before entering onstage in CarsLand. TIP: Keep an eye out to your right for a gorgeous view of the mountains, and then to your left for the neon lights of Radiator Springs. You’ll make a gradual left turn where you will find the Mile 1 marker and then be treated to a gorgeous view of World of Color, so get your cameras ready.

Like the 10k, you will run all the way around World of Color. Enjoy this as I personally think World of Color is THE highlight of this race. A left turn takes you around Grizzly Peak and past the Mile 2 marker. You will pass the Carthay Circle Theater as you head down Buena Vista Street to exit California Adventure, cross the Esplanade, and enter the main gates of Disneyland! You will pass under the Disneyland Train Station and take a glorious stroll up Main Street USA, into the hub and into Sleeping Beauty’s Castle!

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After the Castle you will make a right turn in Fantasyland to head towards the Matterhorn and Tomorrowland. You will exit into the backstage area north of the park and pass the mile 3 marker. You will then work your way around the backstage area along the monorail beam (monorail!) and cross under the Esplanade (heading south, which is the opposite direction of the 5k and 10k courses). TIP: There are no public bathrooms in the backstage area, so keep an eye out for port a potties, better yet, use the bathrooms before you exit the parks! Mile 4 is in the backstage area of California Adventure, where the course designers inserted a small loop and 180-degree turn.

You will exit California Adventure’s backstage area, turning right at Harbor Boulevard and heading south. You will turn right on Katella as you make your way around the Anaheim Convention Center. You will turn left on Disneyland Drive and see the mile 5 marker about half way down the block, and then turn left again to run down the palm-lined stretch of Convention Way.

Past the Convention Center you will turn right on Harbour and then left onto Orangewood Avenue, will you will find the mile 6 marker. At this point you will be heading east so, its time for another tip! TIP: You may want to have sunglasses or a hat with a brim as you may be looking directly into the sun at this point.

Its time to settle in because, other than two turns, you pretty much have 2 miles until you get to the parking lot of Anaheim Stadium, home of the Angels. You will skirt along the edge the parking lot, pass by the big A, and then be ready to enter the stadium itself. A quick jaunt through the stadium is always a fun highlight of this race. Watch your footing entering and exiting the baseball stadium, and be sure to wave to the assembled fans and soak in the fun atmosphere…you may even hear them announce your name. The mile 9 marker should be located just before you exit the stadium.

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Back in the parking lot, you will be heading west on Gene Autry Way. You will have to take a right exit so you can turn left to go under the overpass that will take you to the Mile 10 marker, and then 2 right turns. Prepare for about a mile and a half back to Harbour Boulevard, will you will re-renter the Disneyland Resort via the backstage entrance to California Adventure. There you will find the mile 12 mark. Again, for reference, at this point you will be just south of CarsLand and then California Screamin and Paradise Pier. You will not go back to into the parks, instead you cross over Disneyland Drive before turning right and making your way north in the parking lot of the Paradise Pier Hotel and then towards the finish line.

Post Race

After crossing the finish line make sure you collect your medal!  A first-aid tent is available if needed, if not, its time to collect your goodies.  You’ll get your water and Powerade.  And it is also time to stop for a finisher photo!

It is important that if you earned your Infinity Gauntlet Challenge or Coast to Coast medal you head through the appropriate line or tent to do so.  Volunteers will verify your bib with the photo you took at the expo for the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge or your wristband for the Coast to Coast medal.

Next, make sure you pick up your banana and runDisney snack pack.  You have officially made your way through the finish line at this point and it is time to spend time with your family and friends or hurry back to your hotel to shower and spend times in the park!  Don’t forget if you’re going out to the park to celebrate wear your medal(s)!

Good luck Casual Runners! We hope you all have a magical race weekend at the Happiest Place on Earth!

You can also check out our past coverage of this event:

2015 Avengers Half Marathon Race Review
2015 Captain America 10k
COSRUNNING: Big Hero Fred

COSRUNNING: HoneyLemon

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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