Disneyland runDisney Meet Up – Friday, August 30, 2013 – Jim DeMarco


Earlier in 2013, I signed up to do the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge in Disneyland August 31st and September 1st at Disneyland (in California).  The 10K (6.2 miles) was on Saturday and the ½ Marathon (13.1 miles) was on Sunday.  Little did I know how much fun it would be!

Two weeks prior to the event, Disney Parks Blog posted that they would have a runDisney meetup the Friday prior to the event – only 50 people would get in, and you had to be fast on the draw to get into this exclusive event.  Well, guess who was quick enough?  Yup, me!   🙂

Fast forward to the morning of the event – yes, it was EARLY, but it was just prep for the next couple of early days (good thing I’m an early bird!).   We had to meet at the Sorcerer’s Hat at the Disneyland Hotel for check-in no later than 5:30am.   Was happy to see some of my smiling friend’s faces that early in the morning.   We were also given a great blue runDisney tech shirt to change into.

Marc, Mary Jo, Me and Marc
Marc, Mary Jo, Me and Marc

People started to show up pretty quickly and everyone started to get pretty excited about the event – the icing on the cake to all of this was that we’d get to run 2 miles with the likes of Jeff Galloway, Joey Fatone, Sean Astin and Ali Vincent.   Doesn’t get better than this!

Well, everyone had arrived and I immediately made some new friends.  The runDisney group is so friendly and it was great to meet some new people who share the same loves!


Once everyone was ready, we all were taken to the Downtown Disney area, where we had a clinic with some real nice folks from New Balance!

jimrun4Once the clinic was done, we were split into two groups (based on preference).  Either Run-Walk-Run or straight running.  I was in the Run-Walk-Run group (which Jeff Galloway led!)

Picture of Jeff Galloway, Mary Jo, Marc and I
Picture of Jeff Galloway, Mary Jo, Marc and I

Jeff led us on the first mile of the run, doing 30/30 splits (30 run, 30 walk).


After the first mile, we had a great break where we got to ride the tea cups and take pictures with Alice!


Yup, that’s Joey Fatone on the tea cups – and we all got to do this in an EMPTY Disneyland Park (keep in mind, it’s only about 6:30am at this point!)

We ran the second mile (after the nice break), and then made our way to an area where we were treated to a light breakfast, and got to sit for a program filled with last year’s Disneyland ½ female winner, Diet Diva Tara, Sean Astin, Joey Fatone and Jeff Galloway.

jimrun9 jimrun10

We also got to see some of the great runDisney medals for the Dumbo challenge, as well as some of the upcoming runDisney races!


It was an amazing morning filled with great friends, a great run around Disneyland Park and California Adventures, and some brushes with “greatness” such as Jeff Galloway, Sean Astin, Joey Fatone and Ali Vincent.   All these “stars” were so down to earth and easy to talk to  and they were genuinely happy to spend time with all of us.

Me and Joey Fatone (yes, I look sleepy)
Me and Sean Astin (love this picture)
Me and Sean Astin (love this picture)

If you ever have a chance to do a runDisney race or go to a runDisney meetup, such as this, please take advantage of it!   There are races for every walk (or run) of life, including 5Ks, 10Ks, ½ Marathons, Full Marathons and combo races (the Dopey Challenge in Disney World in Florida in January is ALL the races above!)

Oh, and this was only day 1 of running.   Stay tuned for upcoming posts about my 10K and ½ marathon experiences!

Thanks for reading!