This past weekend I finished my 24th half marathon! While I love running in Disney theme parks, Kings Dominion is a lot closer to where I live, so when I saw that they had a race there, I knew I needed to be a part of it.
When I registered, there was an option to have the packet mailed to you. Since the park is two and a half hours from where I live, I knew that I should seize the opportunity to have one less thing to stress about on race morning, so I paid the $20 to have it shipped. It arrived right on time, and it was an amazing swag packet!
On race morning, I woke up at 3:30 to be able to pick up Morgan and then hit the road (so really, the wakeup time wasn’t any different than a Disney race, it just involved a little more time to get to the park!)
We made it there in great time, and noticed they let us park as close as we could get to the park entrance without being in the preferred parking spots. As an added bonus, there were real bathrooms outside the park entrance, so we didn’t have to use a porta-potty!
The one thing that surprised me was how small the race was. It’s such a cool concept to be able to run through an amusement park before it opened that I was surprised more people weren’t joining us!
We took off, and after a loop around the (gravel) parking lot, we headed into the park. This was (obviously) the coolest part of the run. As we ran through the entrance area, we met Snoopy!
After our photo op, we ran through Dinosaurs Alive! and the dinosaurs were “waking up” making noises and moving around. I’ve run through a lot of places, but that one was definitely one of the most unique!
From there we ran through all the areas of the park, including Soak City and Planet Snoopy. They had the music pumping and the employees out cheering us on, it was fantastic. After about 4 miles in the park, we exited and started running toward the camp ground on property. To be honest, I had no clue the campground existed until then, but it was a nice, shady area to run in. Around this point I wondered how they were going to fit 6 more miles in since I hadn’t looked at the course beforehand. Turns out, it’s a giant loop so we got to do it all again!
When we started the second loop, things started to heat up. This race was never about time for me, especially since I knew I was going to be hardcore racing the NCRC Classic two weeks before, and I was glad I hadn’t set a time goal. I may have been a little dehydrated, and the sun was zapping all my energy!
The second loop seemed to go a lot faster than the first (maybe since we knew where we were going?), and soon we came back to the finish and got the number one thing we came for. The Snoopy medal! This series has really cool medals, featuring various Peanuts characters riding roller coaster cars. They even have magnets on them so you can form a train!
We still had about a half hour before the park opened, so we took some photos, ate a bagel, sat in the grass for a while, and then made our way to the bathrooms to change. In addition to all the cool gear you get with your entry, you also get admission to the park for the day!
We had a plan to take it easy in the park, and just kind of did things as we wandered around. The best part was going to Soak City and floating on the lazy river for over an hour (oops).
The second best part? Finding a Dole Whip station! I thought they were only sold in Disney parks!
This was a top notch race, and I fully plan on being back next year! While the half was fun, the current plan is to go up Saturday for the 5K and then do the Quarter Marathon on Sunday for something different. That’s subject to change, however 😉
Swag: 5/5 Cool shirt, buff, hat, magnet, and a park ticket! Find me a race at this price point that gives you that much.
Course Support: 3/5 There were ample aid stations, but they only provided water and Gatorade. No Gu or food on this course.
Spectators: 3/5 We got cheered on by park employees and random people staying in the campground who looked like they had no clue what was going on.
Course: 5/5 While the entire race wasn’t in the park, the parts that were made up for the gravel parking lot and the campground. Running through the park before it opened was so cool!
Medal: 5/5 Snoopy, on a roller coaster. What more could you want?
Overall Experience: 5/5 I’m sad there weren’t more people there because this race was awesome. Totally worth the 3:30 a.m. wake up that I had to do, and that says something. See you again in 2018!