Will run for bling

  • 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

again.

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

“normal” races.

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

Anaheim.

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!

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

bling.

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