Yesterday it was announced that, for the foreseeable future, RunDisney will no longer be holding races in Disneyland, California, and the Avengers Half Marathon weekend next month will be the last races that grace the streets of Anaheim.
I’m slightly devastated, but not overall surprised, having noticed that no dates for next year’s races were being announced, and the only race that had been announced, the Star Wars weekend in January, had had its registration delayed.
There is, of course, a big difference in the scale of Disneyland races compared to Walt Disney World, which can only be expected given the park sizes and facilities available, but having participated in races both this year and last, it was very apparent this year that numbers of participants were dwindling. In fact, while I was there in May for the Tinkerbell weekend, they were still trying to sell bibs at the expo for the races in the following days!
Disney’s announcement stated that the reason for the cancellations was due to the construction work that is ongoing for the expansion, but personally I don’t think this is flimsy front for the fact that the races have been bleeding money. While the 5K and 10K courses are mainly within the confines of the park, the half marathon only does about 5 miles in the parks before the course leads out onto the streets of Anaheim, which means a lot of roads have to be closed, and unlike other Disney parks, the immediate area surrounding Disneyland is residential, so these road closures do affect a lot of people – there are rumours of quite a lot of complaints – and the permits cost Disney a lot of money, which with the dropping numbers of runners just can’t be afforded.
So yes, I thought this announcement was coming, but that doesn’t make it any better. Despite a lot of RunDisney veterans often slating the Disneyland races, personally they have been some of my favourites – the Disneyland 10K course is the best course out of all the RunDisney courses I’ve ever done. Disneyland is such a special place to me anyway, but racing through the parks is like nothing else. I completed my first weekend challenge (Rebel Challenge 2016) here, and ran my half marathon PB here.
The announcement also means there will be no more Coast to Coast challenge, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and leaves only Castle to Chateau as an option for those runners who will complete a half marathon in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris in the coming years.
All I can say is that I really hope that Disney will restart the races when the construction ends, and I can run through my happy place again soon.