Collecting has always been a part of Star Wars fandom. There is just something about the characters, vehicles, and worlds of the galaxy far, far away that we want to take home with us. Some collect action figures while others collect books. Some are completionists who want it all and others have a focus on one corner of the galaxy. For me — and thousands of other Star Wars runners — we collect hard-earned runDisney race medals. Another opportunity to start or grow your collection is coming this April, as we prepare for the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon — The Dark Side. Here is a look at the latest runDisney Star Wars medals you could earn this April!
I’ve collected a lot of Star Wars items over the years. I love the thrill of the hunt, curating my collection, and showing it off. But nothing in my collection is quite like the runDisney race medals. Although they are some of the newest pieces I own, they are also the pieces I am most proud of.
If you aren’t familiar with runDisney, they put on races across the Disney Parks with multiple themes. Star Wars fans got in on the action in January 2015 at the inaugural runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend in California. That race returned in 2016 with all new medals and a light-side theme. That was where I completed my first half marathon and really became hooked on the whole experience.
This coming April, the first East Coast Star Wars race comes to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. This all-new race is dark-side themed, and like the others, features special Star Wars touches during the run and all weekend long. The races vary in length and include Kids Races, a 5K run, a 10K race, and a half marathon too. Runners who sign up for the Dark Side Challenge must complete both the 10K and the half marathon, but are rewarded with an additional medal for the accomplishment.
The most dedicated runners who signed up for the runDisney Kessel Run Challenge will run two half marathons: One this past January in Anaheim and the upcoming race in Florida. What’s reward for such a feat? You guessed it, another medal.
Collecting runDisney medals is unlike collecting anything else. Like so many highly sought after collectables, they are limited in number, as they are only given out to race finishers. On top of that, they are only available for a limited time because they are different every year. Medals are a bit like convention exclusives too: You have to travel to the event to get them. Perhaps what makes them most special is how you get them. The medals are earned by participating in the races: That means training, sweating, and working hard. If you are an inexperienced runner like me, it means pushing yourself to do something new.
In the end, I think that is what makes them so special. Unlike everything else in my collection, I am proud of how I earned each and every medal. Each one tells a story too. I look at my collection of medals from 2015 and 2016 and see just how far I’ve come. In just a year, I’ve gone from never running to doing two half marathons. They remind me of all the great friends I see at the events and the people I’ve met along the way. Without a doubt, the runDisney medals are the only items in my collection that people say “congratulations” when they see them.
Are you ready to start building your collection? Now is a great time.
The only way to get these medals is to sign up and start running. Registration opportunities for the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon — The Dark Side event are open again for a limited time. Races sell out fast, so I recommend signing up at runDisney.com as soon as possible. I also recommend following the advice and guidance of the runDisney training plans found at runDisney.com. And if you ever need a little motivation, here is a look at the medals you could be running for.
Following the dark side race theme, the medals coming this April feature our favorite villains and bad guys. The Kids Race medallion — with its epic rendition of Darth Vader — makes me wish I was a kid again. The 5K finisher medallion features a trio of stormtroopers and is a favorite of mine. The 10K medal is all about the TIE fighter that looks screaming fast. In fact, I dare you to not make the TIE fighter sound while wearing it!
The half marathon medal includes a dual-sided spinner featuring the Empire’s best bad guys. On one side is the Emperor and the other is Darth Vader. I love the fine detail of Vader’s lightsaber, too. Runners who finish the Dark Side Challenge will receive a Death Star-themed medal. I’m sure you will be proud of that technological terror. Rounding out the 2016 runDisney Star Wars medals is the Millennium Falcon-themed Kessel Run Challenge medal. It’s no hunk of junk!
I can’t wait for many of you to join me on the dark side this April for the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend — The Dark Side at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Follow @runDisney on Twitter and Instagram to join the fun using the hashtag #StarWarsHalf. And as always, stay tuned right here on StarWars.com for much more.
Cole Horton is a full-time Star Wars fan, historian, and author. He is the co-author of Star Wars Absolutely Everything You Need to Know and also makes games at EA. You can follow him on Twitter @ColeHorton.