I have run a lot of RunDisney events over the past few years – the inaugural Tower of Terror 10 Miler in 2012, Princess 1/2 Marathon and the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare (back to back 10K and 1/2) in 2013, the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2014, and this past weekend, the Inaugural Star Wars Rebel Challenge (back to back 10K and 1/2). Although each race is unique in its own right, the Star Wars races have opened up a new galaxy of opportunities for RunDisney, Star Wars fans, and runners alike. The weekend began on Thursday with the opening of the Health & Wellness expo and included a 5K race on Friday, a 10K and kids races on Saturday, and concluded with the half marathon on Sunday morning.

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Run Disney Expos have been known to be intense; long lines for merchandise and running out of products and sizes. Rather than running over to the expo as soon as we got off the plane, SK2 and I decided to relax and have lunch and a cocktail at Trader Sam’s in order to let some of the early morning crowds die down a bit. This was a great plan, because when we hopped over after lunch, there was no line and no wait for expo goodies. There were however a few things already sold out, like the men’s grey rebel challenge zip up, but most everything else was still available, in all sizes as well. In addition to buying a few additional shirts for ourselves, we took a few photos at the RunDisney Instagram booth and around the expo

Darth Souzapalooza
Jedi SK2
Jedi SK2






Star Wars Backdrop
On the way to bib pick up
Leaving bib pickup
Reminder to let the Wookie win!

The best part of the expos are always the speakers. RunDisney always has an array of speakers that cover a gambit of information a runner may need for this, or any other race for that matter. Covering everything from costumes, general info for runners and spectators, training techniques, recovery tips, nutrition, and over all lifestyle experiences from seasoned runners. SK2 and I got to see two sets of speakers that we were both eager to hear speak, Chris and Heidi Powell of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss as well as actor and running enthusiast, Sean Astin.

Chris and Heidi talked about some of their inspirational participants as well as some ideas on how to live a happy, healthy, life. The Powell’s stressed the importance of honoring your integrity which in turn raises your feeling of self worth.  The way to do this is to keep the promises you make to yourself. By keeping SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Sensitive) promises to yourself on a daily basis, you can make steps towards your goals. It also helps to have an “accountabilibuddy” to help keep you to you accountable to your promises without judgements. They also spoke about FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. The easiest way to destroy fear is to take action toward it. As soon as you act, the fear dissipates and you conquer it. Chris and one of the participants from Extreem Weight Loss ran the race. We caught up to them around mile 7 and she was doing amazing. We spoke to her a bit as we ran. She didn’t stop for pictures along route because she was focused on a time goal but she was having a fabulous time and appreciated the support from all the runners. I told her to make sure she crossed the finish line with her hands up high to celebrate her victory. Here is a picture of SK2 and Chris Powell on course (and yes I ran backwards to take this!).

SK2 & Chris Powell

Of course, once again, the star of the Expo for me was Sean Astin. Sean came on and spoke of his love of running and showed pictures from some of his recent races. He, like many at the race, had just come back from Orlando finishing up the Dopey Challenge and was going for the Rebel Challenge and Coast to Coast Medal. Pretty amazing! Sean also talked about his Run3rd program which I first heard about in 2013 when I saw him speak at the Dumbo Double Dare Expo. In short, Run3rd is a simple idea Sean came up with in 2009,  “I run for myself first and my family second, but the third reason I run is to support those who run for someone they love or for a cause they believe in”. He gets tweets from all over the world people asking them to run for them and their loved ones. SK2 and I got to meet Sean after his talk. I told him how inspired I have been with his Run3rd program and mentioned how earlier that morning I had received news that a relative had passed and I was very upset for her daughter. Sean kindly asked me her name and I said, “Her name is Kelly” and he said “Tell Kelly, that tomorrow, I will be running third for her” He’s a pretty awesome guy!

Sean Astin & I at the Expo

So much excitement and I haven’t even gotten to the running parts! More to come, so check back this weekend!

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