10 March 2009

A little shortcut

Last weekend at Walt Disney World thousands of princesses, including the Main Street Gazette’s favorite Princess, ran in Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. I would like to offer my sincerest congratulations to each and every participant, you are each miraculous individuals and are worthy of celebration!

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon is part of Disney’s Endurance Series. At Walt Disney World, this includes not only the Princess Half and the Walt Disney World Half and Full Marathon, but a plethora of events that occur throughout the year. A majority of the other races, 3, 5, 10, and 13Ks revolve around events, such as ESPN The Weekend and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, or attractions, like the Tower of Terror 13K and the Expedition Everest Challenge. These races, more against one’s self than the other participants, speak to the increasing awareness and enjoyment that a healthy lifestyle and exercise can bring.

One event that is lacking a race through Walt Disney World is the Star Wars Weekends that run in late spring/early summer. As Star Wars Weekends is a highly anticipated event that many guests book their annual vacations around, a 5K or 10K, or both, race would draw in a remarkable number of participants. It would also allow a race event to fill a gap that currently resides between March and September under the existing Endurance Series.Growing up in Florida, I immediately understand one of the drawbacks to such a race, the heat index in Central Florida during the months of May and June. I think a simple solution to this problem would be to run the race in the late evening/nighttime hours, similar to the Expedition Everest Challenge and Tower of Terror races. Plus, the idea of running past an illuminated and active Ewok village has a certain charm to it.A race tied to such a well known universe of work would clearly need a name that not only represented what the event is, but also gives the fans something to spike their Geekometer. A name like, oh, I don’t know, The Kessel Run*. Given that one parsec equals nineteen trillion miles, any participant in The Kessel Run would be able to boast that they, too, had completed the Kessel Run in under 12-parsecs, as Han Solo had claimed in A New Hope.Star Wars Weekends is only one event that currently does not have a race event tied to it, the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is another. With the appreciation of all that an active lifestyle can do for a person, I would expect the number of people becoming active to continue to rise. As a result of this, I would also expect Disney to continually find ways to entice people to run through the World.

*Kessel Run – According to the official Star Wars website, “The term Kessel Run came to encompass a number of smuggler methods designed to separate spice cargoes from licensed Imperial shippers. One particular method saw the quick distribution of spice along a slowly moving train of cargo freighters, while another approach was just a pure contest of raw speed that skirted dangerously close to the black holes of the Maw Cluster. A smuggler that managed to shave off a sizable portion of the 18-parsec Kessel Run had bragging rights indeed.”


Anonymous said...

May I suggest that the reason a 5K run would not work so well at a Geek fest like Star Wars Weekends is that the average Geek is not that interested in physical activity. :)

On the otherhand, I think they would totally get behind a different type of event. A Charity 5K where instead of running you pledge to ride an attraction (perhaps TSMM) for the equivalent of 5K.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

John, this is a topic I thought long and hard about when writing this article. I think this is a serious misconception. Any fan base for any film, franchise, idea, etc. has a stereotype, and this is a common sci-fi stereotype. I grew up with the Star Wars Insider, online Role Playing Groups, and fan conventions. And while there are a few members who fit the not physically active mold, I think there are a fair number of active people who filled the ranks of geekdom. For instance, in my high school alone the Star Wars fans also ran track, cross country, and played soccer.

Here in Asheville, there is a 5K that is amongst the most popular that is called the Superhero 5K, in which participants can choose to dress up like a superhero/supervillain and run the race. Something similar to this would, I assure you, bring in the troops, uh, stormtroopers that is. As well, a family event themed to Star Wars would also be a wonderful event tie-in.

Princess Fee said...

Thank you for the kind support!!!
And a run at the Star Wars weekends would be great fun - I agree, it is majorly lacking an event such as Expedition Everest - but I can also understand that 1. the heat and 2. the 'fans' may not be interested in that sort of thing... But I would certainly love to see something like that be developed!