A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post celebrating my dad’s running accomplishment (yes, I dedicated an ENTIRE post to him!). He had just run a local 5k and took first place in his age division. This, in itself, is an amazing accomplishment for a man who just celebrated his 60th birthday, but is extra spectacular when you consider that just four short years ago he was king of the couch. We all were. My family is not athletic by any means and we were DEFINITELY not runners. We were a most stationary group. The idea of any of us running further than a block was unimaginable, even laughable. As a matter of fact, my dad coined the phase “TV won’t watch itself” and it became his mantra. That all changed six years ago when I decided to see if I could train and run a 5K. Not only did I accomplish something no one in my family had ever done but my little experiment also sparked motivation throughout my entire family. Since crossing that finish line in 2008, the desire to run has spread throughout my family, infecting my husband, my sister, my dad, four of my five kids (Baby Girl is too little to run just yet), and my brother in law. It has even encouraged my mom to join in the fun, although she participates solely as a walker.
So what does any of this have to do with Disney? Many of our “firsts” in our running life have come in the form of a runDisney event. My dad and two of my kids decided to give a 5K a try because it involved running through one of their favorite places on earth. I convinced my sister and my husband that a half marathon would be a fabulous idea because we would be running through a Disney park. Last February, we celebrated our most exciting addition to our runDisney-crazed group—my mom. My mom, who thought we were all crazy when we started all of this and VOWED that she would never ever do a 5K, walked in her first 5K during the Princess Half Marathon weekend. She was nervous and scared and thought she would be the very last one to finish—IF she could finish. But because it was at Disney, Mom had the courage to give this 5K business a shot and she did it and she wasn’t last!
Disney, itself, represents the possibility of magic, a place where dreams can come true and the impossible becomes a reality. That magic, that feeling like anything is possible, is what makes runDisney races so appealing. runDisney endurance events are races like no other. Besides the incredible experience of running through a Disney park, the on course entertainment you will experience is second to none. The scenery you find along the way keeps your mind occupied, which in turn helps you to keep your body focused. What really sets runDisney races apart from other endurance events are the volunteers and spectators. You will not find a race anywhere else where you will receive an abundance of genuine love, support, and encouragement. The spectators and volunteers have many times given me that moral boost I need to push through the final leg of a race. They are what makes runDisney races truly magical and keep my family coming back.
Since running his first 5K at Walt Disney World in the fall of 2010, my dad has run numerous 5K’s, several, 10k’s and last May he ran his very first half marathon at age 59! He is planning on running his second half this November –the Wine and Dine Half Marathon during Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. Not bad for a guy who decided at age56 to give running a try. My family is living proof that anyone can do it, regardless of age, gender, or couch potato status. runDisney events give our family vacations a new dimension, a unique way of being together and making memories. If you are thinking about doing your first 5K or looking to take your running a bit further, a runDisney event is a great place to make it happen—like it did for my family! The magic of Disney can be felt within every step but the true magic is accomplishing something you never dreamed possible and the life long memories you make along the way! So a big “HURRAY” to my dad. I’m so proud of you—-and to think it all started with a runDisney 5K.