With the hiatus of runDisney races at Disneyland, runDisney re-branded the prior Star Wars Darkside Weekend as the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend. Each runner was permitted to select their side- either Darkside or Lightside during registration and their race bib reflected their choice.
All runners received the same race shirts, which featured two Star Wars characters, one from the Lightside, and another from the Darkside. The same was true of the medals that runners earned at the finish line.
The race weekend was composed of 3 race distances- a 5k on Friday, a 10k on Saturday, and the half marathon on Sunday. There was also a unique challenge available to runners of the Half Marathon- the Kessel Challenge
While I was not a participant in the 5k, I did anxiously follow the race as I made my trek to Disney World. Moments before the first runners were sent off, runners were evacuated from the race course as thunderstorms came into the area.
Runners were evacuated back to their cars, the race buses, or into EPCOT to await the passing of the storms. Approximately 90 minutes later the storm passed, and runners were sent back to the race course. The race was shortened from 3.1 miles to approximately 2.7 miles and all runners started the race in a mass start rather than the normal corral system runDisney usually employs.
Despite the shortened race course, runners had a great time and those who completed the race earned a medal featuring Finn and Captain Phasma.
The 10k brought much better weather, as not a drop of rain was visible. The course featured a lot of road mileage, but also over a mile through EPCOT. There were two unique character photo stops on the course featuring the 501st– a group of Star Wars fans who create their own costumes featuring Star Wars characters. These characters include Stormtroopers, bounty hunters, etc. With these characters not being Disney sponsored, there was no PhotoPass, but as long as you brought your own camera, these photo stops were some of the most unique and featured the shortest lines on course.
After crossing the finish line, runners earned a medal featuring Han Solo and Boba Fett.
The morning of the half marathon was warm and humid, but a steady breeze helped keep race temperatures bearable. The first park that the course went through was Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and with it being early morning, unique shots in Pandora and in front of the Tree of Life were available, if you were willing to stop and use your own camera or phone for pictures.
Perhaps one of the most unique character stops on course was brought by the 501st– when just outside of Animal Kingdom- but before the parking lot mile, I found Chewie and Han waiting for me!
Once I crossed the finish line, I had earned a medal featuring Rey and Kylo Ren.
Also unique to Star Wars Rival Run Weekend is the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon. This is where runners completed a half marathon at home prior to the race weekend. This medal featured R2-D2- and could be completed by any runner, not just those who ran the Rival Run.
Runners who completed the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon and the Rival Run completed the Kessel Run Challenge, which of featured the Millennium Falcon.
There was also the Star Wars Rival Run Challenge consisting of both the 10k and the half marathon that earned a medal which featured Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in a unique spinner format.
Overall, the weekend was another fantastic job done by runDisney, even with the shortened 5k. Next year, will be the 5th year, and if you know runDisney, you know that means even more awesome medals and shirts are in store. Until then, May the Force be with you!
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