The Walt Disney corporation has always prided itself on a commitment not only to building quality entertainment but to pushing forward and leading the way in innovative thinking on everything from green living to personal health and fitness. Nowhere is that more apparent then with Disney’s commitment to the rundisney programs, generating fun events, opportunities for cosplay, and opportunities for people to get fit with more then a hint of Disney flare.
“They’re addicting” said Jen, an accountant and friend of Harriet, A Disney World cast member, “I did one and now I can’t stop.” Harriet, as a Disney World cast member confirmed this, “I run for sparkle skirts, which makes custom marathon tutus and skirts.” Harriet intends to return for the Star wars half marathon January 14th-17th.
The opportunity to get fit in a fun and friendly setting attracts families from around the country. Guests at the resort came from as far away as England to run in the Captain America 10k, ironically dressed as Captain America. People come dressed in specially designed runner cosplays or disneybounds (and there are companies that cater specifically to designing runner costumes). They can meet official characters (Black Widow and Hawkeye make frequent appearances) and RunDisney enlists professional and non-professional cosplayers to cheer on the runners.
TMR’s own Julie, host of Carter’s cosplay corner, was on hand to cheer on the runners,” I’m part of a costuming group called The Avengers Initiative, a non profit charity organization.” she said, ” Together with the organizers of Club Cosplay, a huge group of us get together to cheer on the runners around the halfway point of the Half Marathon.”
Cosplayers represent an important part of the marathon, providing support for runners, “We give them a little boost along the way. I think we were around the seven mile marker this year (approximately half-way) and the runners are tired and probably hitting a wall at the point. We hope that coming around the corner and seeing a bunch of grown adults dressed up as superheroes cheering them on, handing out high-fives and hugs, and even posing for a picture or two, might keep them going for a few more miles.” It combines the two best things about conventions – cosplay and spending time together, with a new part, getting fit and healthy, “I’m someone who has always personally struggled with running, so it’s a real inspiration for me to see people push their physical endurance.” said Julie, ” I also know that many of the runners do it for charity or in memory of loved ones, so it’s a real treat. I’m truly honored get to cheer them on!”
Disney is good to it’s cosplayers too, when asked about the attitude that Disney castmembers had towards cosplayers, “Our Disney crew are fantastic! Even as they’re checking us in at 4:30 in the morning, they all smiles and asking us about the characters we’re cosplaying. They make sure we’re having a good time and talk to all of us. Their positive attitudes set the tone for the day, really.” A disney staple and standard that extends even into cosplay.
Disney is good to it’s runners too. The park offers a pasta breakfast as an inaugural part of the event along with a runner expo sponsored by new balance and Dooney and Burke. The Avengers Half Marathon included the following events:
Captain America 10k: Captain America put out the call to all superheroes to test their mettle in this run around the Disneyland resort! A must if you’ve ever wanted to experience backstage at Disneyland! (spoilers, it’s actually pretty cool)
Avengers Superhero 5k: A good run for beginners, you get all the fun and experience of running in a simple not-as-challenging course.
INFINITY GAUNTLET CHALLENGE: which offered an impressive 19.3 mile course ranging from Anaheim to the Disneyland resort. Completing the course would win you your own space jewel, and a gauntlet worthy of Thanos himself.
If you’re interested in participating in a future race (rundisney offers a number of other opportunities. Speaking for herself, this reporter will be attempting to at the very least join SHIELD next year by participating) it can get pricey. The event can run upwards of 200 to 250 dollars. However, for each event you register for you get awesome medals, your own t-shirt, gift bags, goodies, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get fit and healthy. Not a single person was encountered who regretted their choice.
Marvel Enterprises even sent their own Agent M and his wife to participate! They encountered many cosplayers and fun surprises along the way, but their biggest sell seemed to be the opportunity to see behind the scenes parts of the Disneyland resort experience parts of it that are never seen by guests.
— Ryan Penagos (@AgentM) November 15, 2015
The rewards are rich within the Disneyland resort, especially for people who join Disney on our mission to make life better for everyone! Congrats to @AgentM, @Omg_DJ_Judy, and the rest of the runners and cosplayers who made the Avengers Half Marathon weekend so memorable! See you all next year!
— Ryan Penagos (@AgentM) November 15, 2015