Racing Disney: The 2016 Never Land 5K Recap

June 6, 2016 ,
  13405326_10157129104730106_1434486351_o So for this year’s Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend, my family decided to make it a complete family affair. This included signing up my nephew and my dad for their first ever races! We absolutely love the Never Land 5K course as you spend a majority of time inside the park so what better first race for my dad and nephew than this one?

From the get-go this adventure was going to be a walking event for us. My dad is currently on an amazing health transformation and we convinced him to make this race his first one as a way to celebrate him. Then we decided to add in my nephew on a whim to have him there with his “Pepaw.” We added my nephew long after the races had closed, but it’s important to know that travel groups and charities often will have bibs available for these events after runDisney has “sold out” of bibs.
So for the race itself, we all woke up rather early, this 5K STARTS at 5 AM! My sister, Hannah, and her son, Luke, met my mom, my dad, and myself in the lobby of our hotel. We then patiently waited for an ART shuttle to take us to the start line. We would have probably walked the distance to the start line from our hotel, but we voted with little legs making the 5K adventure, we would allow the ART shuttle to drop us off at the main gate. Plus, Luke found riding the bus super fun!
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Luckily we were able to hit the parks the day before so Luke had already seen the castle and wasn’t completely awestruck the morning of the race. However, he was completely mesmerized by Tink’s special appearance before the race began! We also had brought along some light up rings that were quite entertaining prior to the start of the race! We were in corral C, so we did have a slight wait before getting to start, but it was soon our turn and we took off.
They shot off streamers at the start and of course Luke needed to have one, so we were able to gather up one of those to take along our 3.1 mile journey! We made our way through the course. We laughed, joked, held hands and made wide chains and skinny chains. Luke took great delight in wanting to hold our hands and then have us swing him forward. He also got treated to some shoulder rides and a few pick ups from his auntie!
About mile 1.5 was when Luke started to get hungry. My sister is mother extraordinaire and had brought snacks for Luke to munch on on the course. He was a real runner with his fuel! The rest of us just stuck with the course water! After Luke had gotten some fuel in him, we were able to start to convince him to actually run some. A lot of that was achieved by telling him we were going to race one another to a certain point. It definitely helped that we started this when we were in Carsland. That boy is a die hard fan of Lightning McQueen and his gang! There were a few times we had to catch him and tell him we would come visit Lightning after we had our post race breakfast.
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We continued to wind our way through California Adventure and as we were leaving Paradise Pier there was a water stop. Luke took full advantage of his cuteness level at this point and really started playing off the crowd of volunteers who were rooting for him. We then stopped and snapped a family photo in front of Mickey’s Fun Wheel and then wound around the park some more towards the exit. Luke found the bears and we stopped for another quick family picture. This time, the Disney Cast Member even took a selfie with us!
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Next the course took us out onto Downtown Disney towards the finish. Every line on the ground Luke would look down and ask Hannah and I if it was the finish line. We sadly would have to say no! But then he would pick back up with his “super speed” provided by his “super special running shoes!” He really got into the race thing here near the end as well. He was running by spectators and grabbing high fives. We finally turned the corner in front of the Disneyland Hotel and there was the finish line! Luke just took off and ran right through! He was so excited! We then turned around to watch our mom and dad cross the finish line!
Luke and Dad posed for some first time pictures. We got our medals. Luke was slightly disappointed to learn it wasn’t a metal medal, but he was very proud of it! Dad was extremely pleased with himself, too! Needless to say, we had a great time celebrating our accomplishments that morning!
I loved that our family took full advantage of the Family Fun Run aspect of this runDisney 5K. We made such magical memories and had so much fun together. I highly recommend anyone with young ones or those who aren’t sure that ever doing a race is their type of fun to participate in one of the runDisney 5Ks. We never felt pressured to speed up and the support was fantastic and helped keep all of us sleep deprived runners on the move!
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TMSM is very excited to publish the “Racing Disney” runDisney series by Addie Clark and Catie Neal. Please keep an eye out for more of their amazing and informative articles! If you missed of the articles in this series make sure you check them at
If you are planning on running in a runDisney event and have questions, or have participated and want to talk about your experiences make sure you visit our runDisney Forum at

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