Posted by Chris on April 23, 2016 at 09:04 PM CST
The exclusive merchandise store has become something of a phenomenon when it comes to these Star Wars races and really, I'd put them on par with what you expect to see at a Star Wars Celebration or even the now defunct Star Wars Weekends. At 7:00am, the line for the store that was scheduled to open at 10:00am was 100 deep. By the time we were let in, it was absolute chaos. Items were flying off the shelves faster than cast members could stock them and most event merchandise sold out during the first day of the three day Expo leaving basic runDisney themed items for those that chose to arrive on Friday or Saturday. Many who arrived late now have to revert to eBay to pick up items they were after to commemorate their runs. You can check out a full gallery of all the merchandise right here.




This was the first year for Star Wars themed runs at the Walt Disney World Resort, so all three races carried the "Inaugural" title which makes it a little more special to be a part of. The first of these three was the Star Wars 5k (3.1 miles) on Friday morning consisting of 10,000 runners. Starting at 6:00am and being the shortest distance of the weekend, it was a quick 28 minute run for me and then I turned to watch others finish. The course started in the Epcot parking lot and finished in the Epcot parking lot winding around the park in between. For finishing, everyone received a Stormtrooper themed Star Wars 5k medal.



On Saturday, the Star Wars 10k (6.2 miles) began at 5:30am and started in the Epcot parking lot. The course went through the park and out the other side into Disney's Hollywood Studios and then finished at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. I finished this one in about 54 minutes. The finisher medal for this race was an incredibly cool (and heavy) TIE Fighter!



On Sunday, I had to be up super early (like 1:45am) to catch the monorail to Epcot for the start of the race at 5:00am. With 26,000 runners taking part in this historic Star Wars Half Marathon - The Dark Side (13.1 miles), people traffic is at an all-time high and you really don't want to miss the start of the race because you're stuck in line for a bus or monorail. Once again, the course started off in the Epcot parking lot, ran through the park and out the other side to Disney's Hollywood Studios and then made a sharp right turn on a long stretch of road to Disney's Animal Kingdom where we made our way through twists and turns passing Mt. Everest before streaming back the way we'd just come on the way to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the finish. I hadn't planned on pushing it with the excessive heat, but when I crossed the finish line, I was pleased to see a new personal record for the Half at 2 hours and 12 minutes. Because I finished the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Rebel Challenge at Disneyland and now the Dark Side Challenge (both 10k's and Half's on both the west and east coast), in addition to the new Half Marathon medal came a Dark Side Challenge medal, a Kessel Run medal and Disney's Coast to Coast medal for a total of six medals over the weekend. This makes for two things...a sore neck and a bunch of hardware to display.

As you can see in the header image of this article, several Rebelscum.com forum members were participating as usual and a few of us brought our medals from California to display with the six new pieces of glory to show the entire run of 2016 Star Wars medals. From left to right, Gus Lopez (gus), Bret Calltharp (sarasotarockstar), Chris Wyman, Will & Elaine Grief (dspair) & Michael Bender (TK6682).

General registration for the 2017 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland is June 14th at 12:00pm (Eastern). If you've seen our reports about these events over the last two years and wondered what it's like to do it in person or thought you might like to try yourself, I would implore you to give it a go. Exercise is good for anyone and what better reason to do something good for your body then celebrate Star Wars with your fellow family, friends and fans! Hope to see everyone January 12-15, 2017 for the next one.
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June 7, 2018  runDisney: 3rd Annual Star Wars - The Dark Side Weekend In Review
January 3, 2018  runDisney: First Ever Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon Announced
October 18, 2017  runDisney: Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - The Light Side Cancelled
April 27, 2017  runDisney: 2nd Annual Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - The Dark Side In Review
February 2, 2017  runDisney: 3rd Annual Star Wars Half Marathon - The Light Side Weekend In Review
January 12, 2017  Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend - The Light Side Merchandise
November 10, 2016  runDisney: Star Wars - The Light Side & The Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend Updates
December 4, 2015  Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon - The Dark Side Medals Revealed
November 10, 2015  2nd Annual Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Medals Revealed
August 25, 2015  Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon - The Dark Side Announced For Disney World
June 17, 2015  Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Limited Release Training Shirts
January 25, 2015  Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend In Review
January 12, 2015  Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Merchandise Revealed
November 12, 2014  Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Medals Revealed
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