I’ve always hated running. In school I played sports, so running was a necessary evil. The Marine Corps was big on running, so for 8.5 years I ran. The Army likes running, so again I find myself having to run.

What I do like are shiny things. And medals are shiny. So to motivate myself to run, I started doing half marathons. These exercises in pain and endurance keep me military and climbing fit, and also reward me with shiny medals.

It is interesting how medals impact running. The quest for “cool” medals actually moves the hobby. There are all sort of medal combinations. And for my first race of 2017, I did the Disneyland Star Wars Rebel Challenge. It was basically a 10K on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday. Complete the challenge and you get three medals.

The 10K was January 14th. First off, there were a lot of people. Over 10,000 runners showed up. However, it was a nice run through California Adventure and Disneyland. The crowd was very low key, with many runners stopping for selfies with stormtroopers or at static Star Wars displays. I completed my run around the 70-minute mark. Not fast, but not too slow.

The Sunday half marathon was very similar to the 10K. The first 4 miles were identical to the previous run. Once we passed that mark, the race took us outside the park and into Anaheim. It was a good course. The coolest part was all the 501st Legion members lining the roads. There were stormtroopers and Jedi warriors everywhere. I finished under three hours, so it was good.

Would I do the race again? Maybe. The Star Wars theme was cool and the medals are great, but the race was very expensive. For the price of the Rebel Challenge, you can run four races. Still, those Star Wars medals are very cool. If I were to run it again, I would sign up for the 5K on Friday.

Need to get ready for the 2017 Run to Remember next month.