For Star Wars troopers and fans, 2016 is going to be a year to watch out (and train) for.

After the overwhelming success of the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon in Disneyland this year, runDisney is bringing back not only the second edition of the race in Jan 2016, but also a whole new running event at the Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, next April. Dubbed the “Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side”, the action-packed weekend (April 14 – 17) aims to get you running on Darth Vader’s galactic turf, even as hordes of storm troopers cheer along the way. Here’s a closer look at what’s in store:

Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side (April 17): The Sith Lord will be watching as you undertake this challenging but entertaining 21.1K from Epcot to the ESPN Wide World of Sports. The course winds through Disney theme parks, with plenty of on-road entertainment and storm troopers for company. There’s even a Family Reunion area with live entertainment and the registration includes on-course and post-race refreshments.

Dark Side Challenge (April 16-17): If just 21K is not brave enough for you, Darth Vader throws you an even more exciting challenge. This ultimate test of endurance involves finishing both the Star Wars 10K on April 16, followed by the Half Marathon – a total of 31.1K over 2 days. Troopers who finish both races are awarded the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge Finisher Medal in addition to the Half Marathon and 10K Finisher Medals.

Run as your favourite character (Image: Disney by Mark)
Run as your favourite character (Image: Disney by Mark)

Kessel Run Challenge (Jan-April): For those who can’t quite decide if they belong to the Dark Side or the Light, the Kessel Run Challenge saves you from making a choice. Compete in the Jan 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon in Disneyland (renamed the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Light Side) and follow it up with the Dark Side challenge in April, and you could be eligible for the coast-to-coast Kessel Run Challenge medal. Finish both races within the pacing requirements, and the Kessel Run and both Half Marathon finisher medals are yours.

Other events: The April 14-17 weekend also packs in a whole lot of other races for fans of all fitness levels, body types, and running experience. Apart from the Star Wars 10K, there’s a 5K run and the runDisney Kids Races in several categories for participant 12 months and older up to 13 years. There’s even a health and fitness expo that will feature seminars on training, racing, and nutrition, with speakers and panelists from the world of running and a showcase of the latest fitness equipments and apparel.

Training tip: First of all, remember to register early. The inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon this year got sold out within 2 hours! Secondly, all runners entering the Half Marathon, 10K, or 5K, must maintain a 16-minute per mile (approx 10 mins per km) pace throughout the race. Anyone unable to keep the pace can be picked up at any point along the course and transported to the finish line. Therefore, it is recommended to train at least at 15-minute per mile pace.

Main image: WDW Magic

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