There were a lot of great things about this past weekend running through Disneyland during the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend. I ran the Pixie Dust Challenge which includes both the Tinkerbell 10k on Saturday and the Tinkerbell Half on Sunday. I had a great time visiting the parks and spending time with friends that I don’t get to see very often. However, there were a few things about the way the 10k was setup that really bothered me. Read along and take it as my 2 cents.
- Both the Princess and Tinkerbell Half Marathon do not allow males to win awards during the 13.1 mile events. I understand this idea and agree. They do not want a man to be the first one to cross the finish line so they remove the incentive to run fast. To help even more all the boys start in Corral B and give 1,000ish girls a 7 minute head start. Got it, sounds great.
- For the Princess Half Weekend I started in Corral A for the 10k & B for the half. That’s because they do offer awards for the 10k. However, for some reason this weekend I was placed in Corral B; I assumed this was because B stands for Boy. But as I stood on the front line of the corral that morning waiting for the race to start, waiting to try to set a new PR, waiting to try to podium in my division (like I did in February at Princess) I watch male after male enter the corral in front of me.
- The races starts and within the first mile (remember Corral A had a 7 minute head start) I’m weaving in and out of traffic of walkers already. Walkers! Coming out of the first corral of the race and I’ve caught them in the opening minutes of my run. I spend the entire race weaving in and out of people and miss a PR by less than 10 seconds. For the life of me I can’t understand why some males were allowed in A while others were not. So in typical Joe fashion I made a spreadsheet and started to crunch some numbers.
- There were 106 Men in my division Age 25-29
- 7 of those Men had a difference of Clock time and Chip time of less than a minute, meaning they started in Corral A.
- The fastest finish of those 7 men was a 1:05:41 (22 minutes behind my chip time, 16 minutes behind my clock time) Meaning I passed by him on the course before reaching mile marker 5.
- The 3 fastest males and overall winners all started in Corral A. If you offer awards to runners why should you pick and choose who is able to compete for them.
- I finished with a net time of 43:39; 7:05 behind the clock time. Finishing 2nd in my division and 16th overall male. 1st place in my division was over a minute ahead of me. The traffic that I fought through wouldn’t have made up that time, but I may have shaved off those 9 seconds I needed to finish with a new 10k PR.
Then there’s another issue that I have. The last person to finish the race. The official final finisher. I’m going to catch heat for the following bullet points, I’m aware. I’m sure his story is inspiring. I’m sure he overcame all odds to make it to Disneyland and finish the 10k. Please know that I work hard to advocate the importance of a healthy lifestyle and being active to my family, my friends, and my students. Getting to a starting line of your first race or your first race of a certain distance is hard. I chickened out of the first 5k I had registered for because I didn’t think I could do it.
- Starting a number of years ago runDisney started doing an admirable but not highly publicized thing of celebrating the final finisher of the race. They receive the same treatment as the winner does. Confetti flies, crowds cheer, music plays, the characters all run across the line with them. I’ve watched it, it’s an emotional time for the runner and for the spectator. As runners we know what that finish line is like every single time you take the final corner and see it.
- Saturday afternoon runDisney posted on Facebook pictures of the last place finisher of the 10k. His name was Gary, he crossed the line confetti went off, it was a great moment. His bib said Corral A. However, I looked through the results page and he’s not listed anywhere.
- There were 8,572 finishers in the Tinkerbell 10k. The man who finished 8,572nd had a net time of 2:30 & change. Also, started his race from Corral A (his chip time and clock time are identical)
- There were 72 males whose Chip time and Clock time are less than 2 minutes apart, meaning these men started in Corral A. Of those 72 males 9 of them finished the race in under an hour… 9!
- 9 men were given the opportunity to race with open roads ahead of them, 9 out of 1,193.
- The longest time of those 72 males was official last place finisher named Art. He was also the only person outside of the top 3 males who have the clock time listed as exactly the same as his chip time. Did he start the race toeing the front line of the corral A?
- The 3rd place overall male finished with a net time of 40:20, 3 male runners from Corral B finished with a faster chip time than that but have been cast to age group awards because Overall Awards are placed by the clock.
I can not be the only person outraged by this situation. If awards are available runDisney shouldn’t be hand picking who has the opportunity to race for them. Part of me also feels like runDisney is attempting to select who they feel will be the last place finsiher. Staging an inspiration story and finish together to keep people feeling that the Disney magic is present in each of their events. In the mean time this man, who may have worked hard to get to the finish line is exploited.