Registration for The Dark Side Star Wars Half Marathon 2017 Weekend at Walt Disney World opens at 12 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, August 9, 2016. The Disney half marathon race weekend themed to The “Dark Side” will take place April 20-23, 2017 in a galaxy far, far away. OK, it’s really in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, but you get the idea. I ran the inaugural race in 2016, courtesy of runDisney, and had a blast(er)!
More than 18,180 runners finished The Dark Side Star Wars Half Marathon and another 12,173 flew through the Star Wars 10K in 2016. Among them all, 6,795 runners completed the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge by finishing the 10K and half-marathon on consecutive days. All those races will be back for 2017, along with the Star Wars 5K, runDisney Kids Races, and free runDisney Health and Fitness Expo—the only place where you can buy shoes in the coveted New Balance runDisney Collection.
The Walt Disney World race weekend also has a companion event at Disneyland. The Light Side Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend will take place January 12-15, 2017 in California. Runners who complete both Star Wars Half Marathons receive an extra medal for completing the Kessel Run Challenge in this special edition of the Coast to Coast Race Challenge. Registration for The Light Side Star Wars Half Marathon is open.
I ran the The Dark Side Star Wars Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in 2016 as a media guest of runDisney, and absolutely loved the race. You can read about my experience at Shape.com and RunKarlaRun.com:
“Do. Or do not,” Yoda famously says in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. “There is no try.”
Yoda obviously wasn’t a runner.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I first tried to break two hours in a half-marathon. It was 2010 in Montreal, Canada, and I failed. Six years later, I’m still trying. I’ve run more than 25 half-marathons, gutting out 2:00:30 at my fastest.
At this year’s Star Wars Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in Florida, I channeled the Force for yet another attempt. Dressed as Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with my husband as Chewbacca by my side, I set out on a 13.1-mile—or, you know, 6.83 parsec—quest.
I’ll admit: I’m not the world’s biggest Star Wars nerd. Yes, I’ve seen all the movies and enjoy them. I even had an Ewok stuffed animal as a kid in the ’80s and wanted Princess Leia buns in my hair. But I’m not as into it as I am Disney animated films. After all, my dog is named Cinderella, not Princess Leia.
So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this race and totally geeked out over all the Star Wars characters. Any time one of them—like Stormtroopers or Captain Phasma—talked to me though a thoroughly convincing voice modulator, I felt giddy as a kid completely transported to another world.
Here’s the scoop, including running in costume, the course, where I stayed, and the race itself.
The Dark Side Star Wars Half Marathon Registration Fees
Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side
Star Wars Dark Side Challenge
Star Wars 10K
Star Wars 5K
runDisney Kids Races presented by GoGo squeeZ® Applesauce on the Go
- Dashes – $20
- Mile – $30
I ran the Star Wars Half Marathon as a media guest of runDisney. But as always, all opinions are purely my own. I really do believe in being honest about my experiences and Disney is no exception. For more information read my Disclosure Policy.