Sunday, March 3, 2013

Royal Family 5k and Kids Races- A Spectators Perspective

The Princess Half Marathon weekend has come and gone and I am still reeling from our amazing experiences (a week at Disney World can do that to you)!

We flew in to Orlando early on Friday morning (and arrived Friday night thanks to the time change) to meet up with my parents (Boris and Valerie), my soon to be sister-in-law (Amy), my soon to be niece (Bella), and my soon to be mother-in-law (Sue).  Our parents were meeting for the first time and all of us would be participating in the Princess Half Marathon Weekend!

On Friday night we started preparing everyone for the Royal Family 5k.  My parents would be doing the 5k as one of several races they have already done.  My Mom did her first race ever in her 60's and my dad did his first race ever in his 70's!  Sue would be doing her first 5k race- she had previously done a short triathlon at her gym.  Bella (5 years old) would be doing the kids race, her first race ever!

Bella is my favorite kid- so spunky and fun and shares our passion for Disney.  I really wanted her first running experience to be a great one!  We shared with her our tradition of laying out our race clothes the night before- she loved that!

Isabella - all ready to run/fly!

On Saturday morning Sue, Boris, and Valerie all got ready and left the room at 4:45am to head over to the race start.  We stayed behind and left at 5:30am to go spectate.  We boarded the shuttle bus with several other 5k runners and spectators.  We had absolutely no issues with transportation and got there with plenty of time!  

We saw tons of people in costumes of all ages.  Bella really loved seeing everything there!  We would yell out which characters we saw.  Bella loved Santa Claus- real beard and all!  They were playing music and pumping up the crowd at the starting line.  Then they brought out Royal Mickey and Minnie and set off the first Corral with fireworks.

They set off fireworks for every Corral- we loved cheering!

Then it was time for our parents to go!  We caught them in their Corral and showed them all of their signs.

and off they went!  There were several more Corrals to go- which meant more music and more dancing!  I'll tell ya they kept us entertained.  They even called Bella up to the stage to dance for the crowd!  We were making such special memories for her!  RunDisney really made it so awesome!

A high five for the announcers

We then headed over to the finish line to watch the 5k finishers come by.  What a beautiful sight with Spaceship Earth (aka Epcot Ball) in the background!

Go runners go!

We cheered for so many runners!  I was so impressed with how many young kids were doing the 5k.  As a youth coach I LOVE seeing that!  The costumes were just awesome!  We saw a family run by where the dad was dressed as the Genie, the son was Aladdin, and the daughter was Jasmine.  It was awesome!  We found them later and told them how much we loved their costumes.  Then we saw Sue head towards the finish line and soon after we saw my mom and dad!  Everyone was doing great!

Sue dressed up as Tinker Bell

Mom and Dad dressed up as- Mom and Dad

We had so much fun watching the Royal Family 5k and up next was the kids races.  I had no idea the amazingness that would soon happen.  

I pinned on Bella's race number and then she was put into the Corral with the other kids running 200 meters.

So focused on getting it centered

While we waited for Bella at the finish line we got to watch the 100 meter races- the 1-3 year olds.  Oh my goodness... THE cutest race I have ever watched!  They had several small Corrals within the race.  The only downside is that it took forever to finish those races - so we waited a very long time for Bella's race.  The 100 meter kids were TINY and so funny!  There were princesses and princes and several parents running with, in front of, and behind all the runners.  Some kids were having the time of their life smiling and waving and some, well, were not.  Some kids would just take 3 steps and sit on the ground.  Some would cry and chase their parents.  It was hilarious!  Everyone watching just loved this very slow 100 meter race.  

Finally it was Bella's turn!  She was in the very back of the Corral so we thought for sure when they split them up into sub-groups and let them go, she would be one of the last to start.  

Laurie showing Bella her race sign on the way to the starting line

When they sent the first wave we really didn't expect to see her but all of a sudden from the back of the pack- there she was!

Cruising up from the back!

 Passing people!

To the finish!

I was so excited for her!  She did it all by herself- Amy walked behind everyone to follow her.  She got her medal and we gave her so many hugs and kisses to congratulate her.  Later we saw her official photos- she was so focused:

Focus faced!  (Photo credit MarathonFoto)

Overall, we had such a great time spectating the 5k and kids races!  If you are at all considering doing it- go for it!  It was so well run (despite waiting for a very long time for the kids races) and everyone in our group had the best time!

We headed back to the hotel to clean up and then Laurie and I went to the Expo to pick up our race packets for the Half Marathon.  I'll continue more about that when I do my Princess Half Marathon Update (coming soon).  

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