Day 2 at the runDisney Star Wars Dark Side 2016 Inaugural Event had us back at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Day 2 was all about the #TampaTrio and their first runDisney race, the Star Wars Dark Side Kids 1 mile run!
Their race was set to start at 1pm, but I wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to explore the expo, participate in photo opportunities, get to the starting line, etc., without having to stress about time, so we arrived at 11am.
There was so much cool stuff at the EXPO!! I wish I had an unlimited budget because it was a Star Wars lovers dream!
I totally regret not buying this Darth Vader RUN shirt. That was an epic fail on my part, but there is always next year!!
At the Expo they also had an area where you could make posters for the loved ones that you were there to cheer on! Here are the signs I made for my gang. They loved them!
We saw a sign for BB-8 photo opportunities so off we went. The trio LOVE BB-8.
I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU to the staff that were in charge of this photo opportunity. It was packed, so busy with probably a hundred people waiting in line to meet BB-8. To help off-set the wait they had placed 2 giant screens on either side of the room and both the screens were showing The Empire Strikes Back. It was LOUD. Very loud. And as I mentioned it was also crammed with people. Loud and crowded. 2 things that really set my little dude off. We were waiting in line when I suddenly realized Ronin was no longer standing next to me. I look down and he has curled himself up into a ball and had his hands over his ears. I bent down and asked him if he wanted to leave. He started to cry and said "No, I need to meet BB-8." And then he began rocking back and forth. I looked at Haley, told her to stay with Ronin and off I went to find the person in charge. I found him and asked if they were offering any sort of "meet & greet" or photo opportunities for people with Special Needs. He said no that they weren't and I quickly explained our situation and pointed out Ronin. Without hesitation he immediately told me to go get the kids and they'd be next to meet BB-8. You can tell that Ronin still looks "off" in the photo but once we left the building he was so happy and talking a million miles a minute about how he got to meet BB-8.
We started our walk over to find the start line!
It was really quite hot. 1pm start time for a running event is really too late IMHO. The trio were sweating bullets and thirsty before the race even started! Thankfully they had ice cold water and cups at the waiting area. They also had live music and a big grassy field for the kids and their parents/fans to wait and stretch. My gang drank so much water that by 12:50 they all had to go to the bathroom! There was a port-a-potty at the far end of the field so they sprinted over there, did their business and made it back with plenty of time to get to the starting line!
It always cracks me up to see where my kids "self-seed" themselves in a race. As usual, they are as close to the front as they can be.
Ronin has his fingers in his hair which means that he is feeling some stress and/or anxiety. My guess is that it is from the very tight quarters and loud music that was playing. Thankfully he wasn't in that crowd for long! Once the race started he was off and running!!
I couldn't follow them along the course, so thankfully runDisney took some on-course photos. These are the photos were taken by runDisney.
I honestly had no idea what to expect as far as finish times for these three. This was Ronin's FIRST short distance run since his broken leg last year. I hightailed it to the finish line and before I knew it I heard the announcer saying that the first finisher was nearing the track which would take him/her to the finish line. I looked at the time on the clock and it was 6:14, soon a speedy boy in very bright yellow shoes came sprinting towards the finish line. His finish time was 6:40. I was cheering for all the kids when all of a sudden I spotted my Ronin!! I couldn't believe it! I mean, I could believe it, but also I couldn't believe it. His finish time 7:25. He only finished 45 seconds behind 1st place (did I do my math correctly??)
I also saw Ella come across the finish line around 11 minutes and Haley just after 13 minutes. Apparently Ronin was a top finisher and he earned a cool award signed by Darth Vader himself!
I mean just look at that smile! He was so proud of himself!
Haley and Ella were so so proud of Ronin they even hugged him and got close enough for this gem of a photo!
All 3 kids said that they LOVED the event but were hoping for more Star Wars themed "stuff" on the race course. I told them that in order to see that they'll have to do the 5K next year and they all agreed that is what they want to do! Even James said it looked super cool and he'd be up for doing the 5K next year, so it looks like 2017 will be a family affair!
After the race we went back to the hotel and just swam and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon/evening. I had a VERY EARLY wake-up call for my 10K the next morning and needed to rest my body and my feet.
Have your kids ever done a Kids Race at a runDisney event?