I’m Doing The Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon…And So Can You!

Runner Jenny Wanland, aka Princess Leia, in the 2017 Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon

I am not what you’d call a marathon-type person. Though I was on the track team in high school, I have never really loved running. I ran for many years as exercise (which has left me with knees that crack every time I bend them). But I stopped after having kids and no longer have the stamina or time for long distance running. So I really never thought I’d ever be doing a marathon (even a half length one). 

And then Disney announced that they’d be offering the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon.

Let me back up and explain why they’re doing this and what this means exactly:

For many years now, Disney has offered themed races at both the Walt Disney World resort in Florida and our local Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Before my first child was born, I did a 5k that started in Downtown Disney, went all throughout the Disney California Adventure park, out through a backstage area and parking lot. It wound into the back of the Disneyland park, and ended with a final stretch down Main Street USA. There were characters and cast members stationed throughout the route cheering us on, and we got to be in the park before it officially opened to regular guests. It was super fun as a Disney fan and a runner.

Disney offers several races a year of various lengths, and various themes. Star Wars is one, but they also have Princess, Avengers, and one intriguingly called “Wine and Dine.” Participants love to dress up for the races, and you see some pretty awesome costumes along the route.

Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon Andy Smith
Runner Andy Smith, aka Lando Calrissian, in the 2017 Disneyland Star Wars 10k race

However, with the ongoing construction of the highly-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area at Disneyland and recently-begun renovation of Paradise Pier (soon to be called Pixar Pier) at Disney California Adventure park, hosting race events in Anaheim has become a logistical nightmare. So Disney had to temporarily suspend their Disneyland Resort races for 2018 and possibly beyond. Lots of runners and Disney fans were not happy with this news. Having just gotten over the hump with my second child and ready to get back into shape myself, I was bummed to realize I wouldn’t be able to do a 5k there this year. (5k being the longest distance I could realistically see myself training to complete at my current fitness level.)

Never in a million years did I think I’d be doing a half marathon in 2018. 

But then Disney had a brilliant idea. In lieu of an actual half marathon (that’s 13.1 miles BTW) on site, they are offering a virtual race.

What’s a virtual race?   

No, it’s not one you “run” from your couch wearing a virtual reality headset. This is one in which you actually do move and sweat! But you can complete the course in any location you choose, in any way you choose (run, jog, or walk), over however many days you choose within the official time frame. It’s done on the honor system and upon finishing it and logging your miles online, you will receive an awesome Star Wars themed medal and race certificate. Disney’s Star Wars Half Marathon registration is open now through February 28, 2018. And you have until March 31st, 2018 to complete it! 

Realistically-speaking, how am I doing the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon? 

So here was my big epiphany about this race: you don’t have to run all 13.1 miles at once. You can split the distance up into smaller, more managable segments spread out over multiple days. You don’t even need to run it, you could jog or walk it! Even though I am not currently in half marathon shape, I can totally walk 13.1 miles over two months. And I’m betting so can you. We all probably walk that much inside our houses in half that time.  

Where am I completing the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon? 

Originally, I planned to track my miles walking to and from my son’s school. The way I figured it, I’d hit 13.1 miles in less than a month. Within 19 school days to be exact. And he’d get to see Mommy working hard to reach a goal and be with me literally every step of the way. Of course, he’d get to share in the glory of earning that medal with me once those 19 days of walking were completed. After seeing how cool the medals look I doubt I’d be able to keep it out of his Star Wars lovin’ paws. 

But then, like a lightening bolt, I realized that we were already planning to be at Walt Disney World in February. I could actually complete the race there! On a typical visit to the Disneyland resort here in Anaheim as an Annual Passholder, I walk at least 5 miles. (One of the reasons I love my Apple Watch – it has a built-in pedometer!). So I figure I’ll walk at least that much in Florida, and should be able to complete the half marathon in three days or less! And what better place to finish my first ever half marathon, virtual or real, than in Walt Disney World??

So that’s my plan folks. I’ll be posting about my progress on Instagram and Twitter as @luckyloveglobe if you’d like to follow along and keep me accountable. And I’d love for you to join me in completing the race. Whether you do it in a park, on a gym treadmill, or just making trips to the kitchen for some night cheese. National Wear Red Day (for cardiovascular disease awareness) is coming up on February 2nd. As a woman, it’s especially important to stay active to ensure good heart health. Let’s get moving together! 

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Follow me on Instagram @EcoFriendlyMama, Twitter @EcoFriendlyMa, and Pinterest @EcoFriendlyMama! Though I was born and raised in New York City, I've lived in SoCal for over ten years now and am proud to call this beautiful and diverse place my home. My husband and I have a son and baby daughter (whom I was 9 months pregnant with when this photo was taken!). Prior to becoming a mommy I spent several years in feature film publicity and acquisitions for Miramax and later as the Creative Executive for Hilary Swank Productions before seguing to the music industry where I did Online Communications for the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. In my ample pre-parenthood free time, I also freelanced as a script analyst and screenwriter. I am fortunate now to be able to devote all my time to my family, but I still love to write so am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this blog! I am a foodie, avid traveler, environmentalist, preschool board member, and unabashed Disney nut. I can also be found writing about green parenting and eco-conscious living on my personal website, https://ecofriendlymama.com.


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