Where Dreams Come True!!
Disneyland Paris Half
by Andrea Meek
Ever since I read about this race in a running magazine, I wanted to do it. The first half marathon at Disneyland Paris was in 2016 but due to work and family commitments I was unable do it. I was initially disappointed but I promised myself I would sign up for the race in 2017.
I’ve always been a fan of Disney and the characters, even now at 36 years of age I enjoy watching the films with my children. For me, running at Disneyland was something I not just wanted to do, but needed to do.
I knew Laura liked Disney too so as soon as I told her about it she was in and we started planning the trip. My husband and I thought it would be a good idea to hire a motorhome and drive all the way to Paris. The children were very excited but as the date drew closer our schedules became busier making it no longer possible to drive. At the last minute Laura and I booked our flights and hotels and we set off on a very expensive weekend to Disneyland Paris.
Our day started at three am. We got ready and set off to the airport arriving in Paris at 8.30am. We decided to head straight for Disneyland as we wanted to collect our bibs and visit the expo. It was a bit confusing at first, long queues and not a lot of information about where to go, but after asking a few people we finally found our way. We got our bibs and t shirts and we spent some time looking around the expo. We had heard some rumours about there not being enough medals for everyone. I was starting to get a bit worried since I’m quite a slow runner, I thought I might get to the finish line and they would tell me sorry, the medals had all gone!
We did a bit of yoga and had a coffee. We had seen on a poster that Paula Radcliffe was speaking at the expo and as we finished our coffee we walked towards the the auditorium to catch the talk. As we got up we realised Paula was standing about three feet away from us. We were very excited and we couldn’t resist posing for a quick selfie.
The next day we got up at 4.30am and started getting ready. I was wearing a blue top and a golden sequin skirt which I made myself. My red compression sleeves were an attempt to look like Snow White. Laura was Belle, she looked so pretty.
We arrived early and had a croissant for breakfast. We said our goodbyes as Laura was to start with the first wave. It would be another 20 mins or so before I would start the race. I finally saw the fireworks and off we went!
The first 5 miles were inside the park and was so much fun. There was so much to see and I stopped several time to take photos. The best part was running through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
Once we had left the park the course continued on a long empty road. I soon realised that there were lots of participants using the run walk strategy. I figured that if I kept running I wouldn’t miss out on my primary goal of getting my hands on that medal. By mile seven we reached the village of ‘Magny-le- hongre.’ We ran around a lake and made our way back to the park at around mile eleven. By this time my feet were in pieces, I hadn’t ran this far since the Milton Keynes half back in May. We ran through the park for a second time but mostly following the service routes with nothing much to see. I could finally see the 20K mark and I knew I was nearly there but the last 1K dragged so much. The last bit was very windy and felt never-ending. At last the finish line was in sight and I felt that I had a bit left in the tank for a sprint finish. The thought of that amazing medal helped get me over the line. I did it with my hands in the air, feeling elated that I had ticked Disneyland Paris off of my running bucket list