“Every Mile is Magical”
The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend kicks off early in the week with a 5k on Thursday morning, followed by a 10k, Half Marathon, and ends with the Full Marathon on Sunday. This weekend thousands of runners and spectators flock to the Disney Theme Parks for a week of running and park-hopping. For me, it was the first time I’d been back to the park since I was a kid, so I was interested to see how it would be visiting as an adult versus a moody teenager 🙂 I was also excited to have my husband run his first Half Marathon and my friend run her first Full Marathon!
We had worried all week what the weather would hold for us- forecasts continued to look ominous for the Half Marathon on Saturday and quite chilly, but dry, on Sunday for the full. After exploring the expo and picking up our gear for the next day, we headed to meet our friends and grab dinner before hitting the sack (3 am comes early, y’all!) As we were getting ready for the night, phones started buzzing with email alerts that the event the next day (the Half Marathon) had changed. In fact, the whole thing had been canceled! Disney had decided to cancel the event due to the high chance of lightening during race time the next day. Needless to say, my husband and our friends were very disappointed!
The next morning, the boys got up and decided to get a few miles in anyway despite the
canceled event. I joined them to show my support and encouragement for getting out there! It was drizzly, but cool, and perfect running conditions. We walked out the hotel room up to a trail that looped around a pond separating the two resorts. Upon arrival to the trail, the scene was incredible. Everyone was out running! There were runners running left and right around the pond, some with bibs on, others in costume, all getting their miles in to earn their medal! As the three of us started out, I began to see numerous spectators out cheering all of the runners on. A lot even had “aid stations” set up with water, Powerade, and candy! Several children also dressed up as princesses to be pose as “characters” that would have been along the real course. It was an incredible experience, and I couldn’t have felt more proud of the running community than at that moment.
My husband made me incredibly proud. What started out as “just a few laps” turned into completing his first half marathon! He even finished in a decent time, despite running on minimal sleep, several beers, and only a banana moments before starting. I can only imagine what he would have run had we actually prepared for a race instead of going out the night before! He earned that medal on Saturday despite the less-than-optimal circumstances.
Speaking of being proud, let me tell you about Lindsey! This girl has the grit and determination like no one else I know! She trained her tail off all summer, fall, and winter long for this race. Unfortunately, she developed severe knee pain that kept her from running for the last several weeks leading up to the event. What was moving along as a solid training program, with several PRs along the way, abruptly had to stop due to her injury. She hung in there and remained determined to complete her race no matter what. She crossed the finish line with a strong time and was even able to stop for pictures with characters along the way! Needless to say, she’s one happy mouse to have accomplished her goal! Now she’s out celebrating with her hubby on a Disney cruise where they can finally kick back and not worry about any training for the time being.
Congrats ya’ll! You earned it!!
I know in the city I live, we have a close-knit group of runners that support one another through the ups and downs that is running. However, I was blown-away to see that kind of support at Disney. Runners from all over the country (and world!) came together to run despite their event having been canceled and show their support for each other. It showed the immense resoluteness, determination, and steadfastness that runners possess. We are strong, and we won’t be brought down by a little rain (or lightening!)