I was among the many runners in the Inaugural Tinkerbell 10K who were stopped from finishing. We all signed the waiver that we knew we could be picked up by the " sag wagon" if we failed to keep up a 16 minute mile pace. The first group started at 6am. My group, the fourth, started between 6:15 and 6:30 depending on where you were in the throng. It was like being part of a 5000 person human centipede. We were told the Pace runner passed us. It was dark. We never saw her.
As we entered Disneyland back lot we were passed by two men with red bicycles yelling " coming through". Others reported they had been telling runners how far off pace they were. I guess we were so far off pace they didn't feel it was worth bothering. Ignorance being bliss we foolishly believed what turned out to be unofficial cast members cheer squads who shouted "you're doing good! You're on pace!, etc".
I'm a 63 y/o beginning runner, my one daughter is a 30 weeks pregnant , the other is a good runner, but loyally stayed with us. This was the first 10K for all of us. We knew the crush at the start had cost us time so we raced past all 13 photo stops, only taking a few quick selfies in places where there were no lines.
As we went out the interior gate going to Harbor Blvd, right after passing another cadre of Disney cast cheerers, we found a huge pool of stopped runners and the exterior gate closed in front of us. Two large busses were crammed with runners. All was silent. We didn't realize our race was over at first. They forced people out of the way and got the busses out. By now both gates are closed. We are a sea of women surrounded by security. It is reminiscent of a scene from " orange is the New Black". After waiting about 25 minutes nervously chatting amongst ourselves, someone began to chant " Let us out!" It was quickly taken up and within seconds a Run Disney staffer ran up a conveniently placed set of pipe steps and shouted " you will get your medals but you are going to have to follow instructions and stay together, we will walk you out the way you came". Someone had started to open the gate on the TOT side, but another Disney cast member slammed it back shut. At that point Mr RunDisney began to lead us around between the walls back towards the finish in Timba lot. About halfway we were met by cast with a golf cart thingy. They had boxes of wrapped medals which we were tossed, someone wrote down our numbers. I guess so we couldn't somehow sneak onto the course and pretend to finish. Another cast member handed us warm bottles of water.
My pregnant daughter asked the staff about her snack as she was feeling faint by then. We were told the course was closed, the race was over, but if we insisted we could probably find her a snack at the tent. When we arrived many runners were still coming in, to cheers and properly awarded medals and proud photos. If you check their 5K time you will find many were no faster than us, they just started sooner and got through the gate in time. Being inexperienced we trusted the Disney cast members words. We were wrong. But there is no excuse for the way we were treated. The RD man could have let people know what was going on, if there was some plan, other than leaving us stand backstage until they figured something out. Communication is key, but it needs to be honest communication.
Please feel free to clean up my poor writing and check the corroborating posts on the Run Disney Facebook page. I have video of the scene back there if you would like to see it. Denece