Many runners love to run the races at Disneyland and Walt Disney World for a multitude of reasons. Some runners are there to go fast, get that personal record (PR) and possibly win a trophy. Some runners are there for the Bling (The finisher medal). However most of the runners come to have fun, see their friends and accomplish something that had previously seemed impossible to them.
For me, I had something to prove to myself but I didn’t know it. I had become healthy after learning about nutrition and in turn helped quite a few others do the same. One such person is my dear friend Rachel Radvinsky. After hearing I had lost 60lbs. and that my asthma had disappeared she came to me. I helped her to lose over 70lbs. Little did I know that she would return the favor and change my life.
Rachel had been participating in the runDisney 5k for many years. Before getting healthy she would walk. Her family would run and meet her at the finish line. After she became healthier she got to cross the finish line for the first time with her family and I was there to see it. Amazing!
This is why many people participate in the runDisney races. Many have a deep, deep reason to do so. Unlike other races, the runDisney races give you that extra magic. Rachel wanted to run the half marathon and she managed to snag a couple of bibs.
She begged me to run with her, as she was afraid she wouldn’t finish. I hadn’t run since I was age 7 and I mentioned I was a heck of a lot older now. Reluctantly I agreed. When we finished that race she cried, and I became hooked. It was our first race but it wouldn’t be our last.
The runDisney races are in my blood now and there is no stopping me now.
Run Disney race courses take you through places that you can’t get access to unless you run the race, you’ll see back stage. You’ll see rare characters. You’ll race through the parks. It’s just magic. Plus there are a ton of photo opportunities to fill your memory card and allow you a quick rest while you wait in line.
So much to see and a multitude of folks that will help you get to the end should you need a helping hand. That’s my reason to run the races now. I love to help others feel the confidence to get across that finish line.
Just this last race, I signed up so that I could help my friend John complete his first marathon. Every day before race day he was very sick. He rested and then told me he would not miss the Half Marathon. So there we were together, walking. I felt that if he ran after being so sick it might not be a good idea. So we walked. I kept our pace consistent and made sure he stayed upbeat and hydrated.
Many times he felt like he should run, but I told him “Slow and Steady wins the race.” I kept him occupied with stories and we sang. Before he knew it, we finished, and we even had enough energy to run across the finish line. He had a smile from ear to ear.
Anita is another that I helped in her first race. This race is her 12th, or something like that, but she was worried about completing her first race, way back when she started.
I taught her how to eat, as many runners forget that you must eat during a long race. Often, when you properly nourish yourself, you won’t hit the famous “wall” we hear about all the time. If you’re super fast, perhaps you don’t have to eat because your done with the Half Marathon in under 2 hours, but if you’re going to be on the course for 3 hours or more it’s a good idea to eat something on the run.
I have become hooked on helping others finish the race. I had asthma and could barely walk, then one year after getting healthy I ran the Dopey Challenge (48.6 miles) twice. During that race I got to help people and they helped me.
It happens so easily. While you wait to race in you assigned corral you start chatting with people. This is due to the fact that you have to get there pretty early. Very early if you’re not in one of the first fast corrals.
During the Dopey Challenge, I was chatting with a man who had hurt himself and was back to finish the Walt Disney World Marathon. He confessed that he had trained but kept hitting the “Wall” at mile 17. The “wall” is a term runner’s use when almost everything shuts down and you have to dig real deep inside yourself to get to the finish line. Many runners may even resort to crawling. Basically they do whatever it takes to get past that “Wall.”
It was the 10 year anniversary of the Half Marathon and this meant so much to him to finish he said. I offered to run with him. Now in all fairness, I’m a run-walker. I run and walk. I love to run full tilt down hills, but there aren’t many hills in Florida. This gentleman and I found that our pace was exactly the same.
So we ran and walked together and chattered the whole time. Those of you who have met me know that I can do this. We sailed past mile 17 and were ahead of our normal pace.
I stayed with him until mile 21 then he insisted that I pick up my pace to insure that I would get my Dopey Award Medal. So I picked up my pace and left him. After I crossed the finish line I waited for him and yelled my head off when he crossed the finish line.
The magic is contagious and filters into the surrounding Hotels and restaurants near the parks. Many of these establishments join in the fun with great deals and special menus for runners, plus so much more. One of my favorite places to stay is the Anabella Hotel. It has an amazing group of people who work hard to make the runner feel extra special. And this year, they have really reached out to the runDisney runners as well as MiceChat readers. They aren’t paying me to say any of this, but I am holding an event at the Anabella with Dusty Sage this weekend . . . and you are invited to join us.
You can join me and all your fellow MiceChat readers at a cocktail party on the patio of Anabella’s Tangerine grill this Saturday evening (September 3rd). I’ll be speaking from 6pm to 7pm. There will be appetizer and drink specials and lots of fun. This is a free event, so come on down. So we know how many people to plan for, it would be helpful if you could click this link and let us know you are coming. I’ll be speaking about my years in Imagineering and with Jim Henson as a Muppeteer. I’ll also talk about how my motivation has helped me with not only my career, but also my runDisney races.
I’ve been staying at the Anabella since I first read about them on MiceChat. They have cozy beds, good rates to stay, hot tub, two fancy pools, and an amazing bar and restaurant called the Tangerine. It’s my dream place to stay for the race because I like to load up on pasta the night before the event, take the short walk to the starting line in the morning, then stagger back to the Anabella and plop in the hot tub for a relaxing soak before checking out. It’s ideal.
Right now they are offering a runners special, which allows you “late checkout” which helps if you plan to catch a plane after you finish the half marathon, or need extra time to shower and pack after the race! They may already be sold out, but it’s worth clicking this link to find out: MiceChat Runners Special
There just isn’t any type of experience like the Run Disney Races. So much fun, so much joy, so much love and so much support these races are truly magical. Besides, where else can you get a hug from Mickey and Minnie Mouse at the finish Line?
Are you a runDisney racer? I’d love to hear your reasons for running, or even the reasons why you haven’t entered a race if you’d like to. Also, I sure would love to see you this Saturday at the Anabella event. Let me know if you’ll be joining us. We’ll have a great time, I promise!