This past weekend was Run Disney’s annual Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, which draws thousands of runners to run through their theme parks in a 5k, 10k, Half and Full marathon. Many runners flock to this Run Disney event, specifically for their Goofy (Half and Full Marathon) and Dopey Challenge (participating in all events) to test their endurance. It’s Run Disney’s largest running event of the season.
Unfortunately, bad weather was projected during the race weekend and Run Disney made the difficult decision to cancel the Half Marathon for the safety of the runners. Runners took to social media immediately to express their disappointments, understandings and concerns about the cancellation. In return, Run Disney offered 3 options to runners:
1- Defer the race entry to a different Run Disney race
2- Run during the Full Marathon on the following day
3- Receive two Park Hopper tickets to the parks
Many of the runners, who traveled to the race weekend for the special Challenges, didn’t feel like they would deserve their challenge medals without running those 13.1 miles. Runners are stubborn, to say the least.
That’s when the weekend drew out the best of the Run Disney community…
Runners took to the streets and paths around the Walt Disney World resorts and ran their own “non official” 13.1 miles after the bad weather passed. Social Media feeds started to flood with photos of the runners and all of the spectators who came out to support them.
Family and friends set up waters stations, handed out fuel and cheered the runners on as they ran around the resorts. Some of the runners ran multiple loops around their resorts just to achieve those 13.1 miles.
It was amazing to watch from home and see all of the love and support that the running community has. People chose to spend their vacations cheering these runners on when they didn’t have to. That’s what makes the running community so special to me, it’s like a family. There’s tons of support!
But it gets even better…
The small group of runners that chose to run the Full marathon course were only trained for 13.1 miles. But they came to run a Run Disney race and that’s exactly what they were going to do!
Everyone at home watched with suspense as runners reported their progress during the marathon. So many never thought they could go beyond 13.1 proved themselves wrong. This year’s Walt Disney World Marathon made a group of runners official “marathoners” that had no intentions of running one this weekend! That is unbelievable to me. Can you imagine running twice the distance you were prepared for and surprising yourself? The weather, for the Full marathon, wasn’t favorable either. The amount of mental fortitude that those runners had to find, with little notice, is incredible.
Disney is truly a magical place to run and this past weekend was full of even more magical miles than planned. It really proved how amazing and supportive the Run Disney community is and I’m proud to be a part of it!