I wasn’t much of a runner until a year back in college when I decided to challenge myself to run my first 5K. I have to admit, it was a little tough with me being out of shape, but it definitely fueled my fire to run more events. After running a couple more 5Ks, a 20K, and a Half Marathon, I was looking to run my first marathon. As I was looking for my next event, I ran across the runDisney page for the 20th Anniversary Marathon weekend.
For all that know me, I’m a BIG KID and completely love Disney movies but I haven’t been to a Disney Theme Park since the opening of Animal Kingdom in 1998. So, when I found out that you will be running through all four of the parks I was sold. But there was only one problem...which race was I going to sign up for? The 26.2 miles of magic with the Marathon or 39.3 miles of purely Goofy with the race and a half challenge. Well…with me not being one to back down from a challenge, I signed up for Goofy for both my first Marathon and runDisney experience.
After a six hour drive from Atlanta to Orlando with my mom and little sister, our first stop was the expo to pick up my bib and goodie bag. We followed the stampede of people into the field house for the bib and over to the expo for the goody bag. With this being my first race with an expo I have to say everything from the size, vibrant colors and number of vendors blew me away.
Fast forward to race day, the starting corrals had a liveliness that I have never experienced before. They had a DJ playing music, runners dancing, and big screen for interviews. If that wasn’t enough, the energy was even more electric the second day for the full marathon. I was in Corral F and I had to wait for a while before the start of my group, but with so many friendly runners in costumes to talk to the time flew by.
Running through the course, every twist and turn had a new surprise to keep you on your toes. Everything from the huge crowd of people cheering on Main Street, to every photo op with new and old Disney characters (Even Darkwing Duck…Let’s Get Dangerous!), to running in the shadows of Mt. Everest (I heard some runners were able to ride it during the race…goal for next year!) enhanced the race to a true Disney experience.
Once I crossed the finish line of the full, a feeling pride of my accomplishment hit me in a huge wave. I can honestly say that those couple of days had to be one of the most mentally and physically toughest things I've ever done.....but after holding all three of the medals, I knew this was only going to be the start of mine and runDisney's journey. So, why did I run Disney? I run Disney for all the obvious reason (great organization, the on course entertainment, and awesome race medals), but the reason I plan to come back very year is the magical feeling of every part of the event that brings out the big kid in everyone. Plan to see me at the 2014 Disney Marathon Weekend for the Inaugural Dopey Challenge…….I CAN’T WAIT!