- This was printed in January of 2014 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the 36th installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.
I know a few runners, who shall remain nameless, who run solely for the bling. These
ladies run to race, and they actually sign up for races strictly based on the finisher’s
medal — course, runner amenities and location don’t matter.
Their social media profiles are littered with photos of large, shiny, colorful medals from
dozens of races, mostly half marathons.
I put my competitiveness aside this past weekend to join them. Sunday morning I donned
a tutu and lined up outside of Disneyland in Anaheim with more than 13,000 runners for
the Tinker Bell Half Marathon — a 13.1-mile photo opportunity that awards finishers
with huge, heavy medals in the shape of Tinker Bell’s wings.
I enjoyed the run with my sister, Sierra, who turned 18 this month. It was her first half
marathon, hopefully of many, and I had promised to stay with her. We crossed the finish
line together at 2 hours, 31 minutes with dozens of photos saved in her iPhone and
several minutes of race footage stored in my GoPro video camera.
The highlight of the race, other than the gigantic medal, was taking a photo with a very
authentic Captain Jack Sparrow inside Disneyland.
RunDisney, the company that puts on the races at Disneyland and Disney World, is
definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience; and I say that because I’ll probably never do it
Yes, it was fun. Yes, I love the medal, Yes, it gave me a reason for a fun family vacation
(we bought three-day park hopper tickets). Yes, I’ll have memories of the race that my
sister and I can cherish forever.
But it was so expensive and so hectic and so exhausting that I think I’ll just stick to
With a price tag of nearly $200, the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is more than twice as
expensive as any marathon I’ve registered for — and no, it doesn’t include a ticket to
Disneyland. Runners get a medal, a long-sleeved tech t-shirt, a mesh bag, water,
Powerade, a box of snacks, and a foil blanket.
For an extra $15, my sister and I registered as a team and each received an extra bib with
our team name “Wink and Tink,” and lime green sashes, along with the chance to win a
prize for top three in the sister/sister team category.
By race morning, I was already exhausted from walking through the theme parks on
Friday and Saturday, waiting in long lines, and walking to and from our hotel.
Race morning was hectic. It was the largest race I had ever run in, and being in the
middle of a swarm of 13,000 runners — many of them adorned in fluffy tutus and huge
wings — was claustrophobia inducing.
The coolest thing about the race was seeing the variety of Disney-themed costumes. At
least half of the runners, including my sister, were dressed as Tinker Bell. I went as
Periwinkle, Tink’s sister.
I saw dozens of Disney fairies and princesses, including a husband-and-wife team
dressed as Prince Charming and Cinderella. There were pirates, Smees, Captain Hooks,
Peter Pans, Monsters University characters, Cheshire Cats and more running through
both Disneyland and California Adventure, Downtown Disney and through the city of
Lovina Arter, the Sherman Thomas teacher I wrote about last week, clocked in at 3 hours,
16 minutes at Tinker Bell, smashing her personal record by nearly 15 minutes.
Congratulations to my kids, too, who dressed as Tinker Bell and Peter Pan ran in the 100-
meter Disney dash on Saturday.
It was my 3-year-old daughter’s fourth race and my 15-month-old son’s first. I’m proud
to say Jazlyn won her heat and Isaac came in dead last.
My little ham saw a race photographer on the sidelines so he abruptly stopped and posed
for the camera. The lover boy stopped again to give Minnie Mouse a hug and a kiss a few
yards before the finish line.
I run to set a healthy example for my kids. My kids run for the joy of running… and the