Why Marathon Weekend Means So Much to Me

Today marks the start of Disney World Marathon Weekend.  With the first day of the expo being today, followed by four consecutive days of races, its going to be quite an exciting five days at Disney World as thousands of runners and their families take part in the Marathon Weekend activities.

Last year during Marathon Weekend I found it extremely difficult to focus at work.  With several friends down at Disney running in the various races, and of course sharing lots of pictures on social media, it was hard for me to not be a bit jealous about them being there and me not being there.  While I often have similar feelings during other runDisney race weekends, it was during last year’s Marathon Weekend that I wished the most that I had also been there participating.

Preston and I participated in Marathon Weekend in 2013 and 2014.  It was in 2013 that Preston ran his first marathon, and that I was inspired to start running.  Then in 2014 I ran my first half marathon, and Preston completed the inaugural Dopey Challenge.

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon! Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon!
Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

While I’ve run five other half marathons since I ran the Disney World Half Marathon two years ago, no other half marathon has given the sense of accomplishment that running my first half marathon did.  I am so grateful to have not only been able to run my first half with Preston and cross the finish line holding his hand, but I’m also grateful that my parents were there to celebrate with us after I accomplished a goal that I’d been after for almost ten months.

Celebrating with Mom and Dad at dinner at California Grill

Celebrating with Mom and Dad at dinner at California Grill

Its incredible to look back over the past two years and see just how far I’ve come with my running.  Not only have I become a faster and stronger runner since I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon, but I’ve also shown myself that I could continue to run while pregnant.  Its incredible to think back to more than three years ago when I had yet to start running, and to think about how much dreaming about running a half marathon, and putting my mind to it, has drastically changed my life.

To those who are running any or all of this weekend’s races, I sincerely hope that you have a blast and that you thoroughly enjoy your Disney World running experience.  Whether this is your first time running Disney, or you’re a veteran runDisney participant, I hope your race weekend is all that you’re hoping that it will be.  Its very likely that I’ll have some feelings of jealousy as I follow along on social media and will wish that I were there with you.

QOTD: What is one race that you’ve run that you wish you could participate in each year?

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49 Responses to Why Marathon Weekend Means So Much to Me

  1. Pam says:

    What a cute photo of you celebrating your first half marathon with your parents and Preston. A first marathon is always very special and I have similar feelings about the Princess Half. To choose a race that I would love to do every year is difficult because there are so many new ones I want to race, specifically the rest of the marathon majors!

  2. Craig hughes says:

    Those are really good memories. I had a blast running inth also. As for the qotd, mine is the Flying Pig, here in Cincinnati. With the course through the neighborhoods and over 100,000 people watching and cheering on the runners, as well as the last 1/4 mile that has so many people screaming and yelling, you forget you are running and are out of gas. Really a great time. You guys need to come do it. First weekend in May.

  3. Aww I totally understand your feelings on this! I we’ve been going to either princess weekend or marathon weekend ( or sometimes both) for the last several years now. I know this will probably be my last marathon weekend for a long time now because the timing of it is just way too hectic right after Christmas and all. I don’t know what will be in store for us for other Disney race weekends but I do enjoy following along social media with those that are in attendance! I’m sure you’ll be at Disney soon enough with your little man. That will be fun!

    • Its very hard to take leave for Marathon Weekend with it being so close to the end of Winter Break. And we’re definitely looking forward to introducing little man to Disney. We are in the initial stages of planning a family vacation there this summer, and will likely also bring him with us for Wine and Dine in November.

  4. I totally get this! Altho for me, that race is the Chicago Marathon. I’m not planning on running it this year, and I know I’m going to feel FOMO as I stand on the sidelines, cheering the runners on! Chicago was my first (and so far only) marathon, and even tho I’ve run it 3 times now, that magical feeling never goes away.

    There’s always next year, right?

  5. The first race definitely always holds a soft spot in the heart. Disney would be a fun first race.

  6. Aw, I love this.

    Space Coast is my race. That was my first half marathon, and I just couldn’t believe that unathletic, untalented me could finish that many miles in a fairly respectable time and want to go back for more.

    ❤ to you! You'll be back out there next year!

  7. Chaitali says:

    I’m definitely feeling some race jealousy this weekend with all the people at Disney Marathon weekend 🙂 I was surprised but I felt that way during Richmond last year, probably because in 2014 it was the first half marathon I did. I think the first one might always have a special place in your heart.

  8. love love love the photos!! I’ve got the Marine Corp Marathon, the Air Force marathon, and the Disney marathon on my bucket list!!

  9. Lesley says:

    I feel the same way with every rD weekend. I know many people who run rD so I know at least a couple people who are at each weekend. It’s fun to see the costumes, hear the stories, etc. I loved Princess weekend and was so happy I made that one my first half.

  10. Disney looks like such a great place to run…I may have to add it to my list, because I haven’t heard a bad thing about it yet! It’s great to look back on the memories of when you first started running. My first half is special to me too, and ironically it’s my fastest!

  11. Ah the first half or marathon does hold special memories doesn’t it?! I’ve still not done a Disney race yet!

  12. Ivanna says:

    Great running journey you have had. I can’t think of any race I’d like to run every year, I like to try different things and races.

  13. I am running the 10K and Half for charity with my whole family this year. I would love to run the Marathon someday! After I finish NYC…

  14. I love that picture of you and Preston holding hands crossing the finish line even more every time I see it! There’s always something special about your first half and there’s something special about a race at Disney. How awesome your first half was both of those!

  15. Becki S says:

    I have my eye on the Disney Princess run but it just hasn’t happened yet. I think if I could do one run every year it would be the Gigi’s Cupcake run. Awesome medals and cupcakes at the end =)

  16. Karen :0) says:

    Love love love marathon weekend!! I have a similar story to yours, only mine took place in 2009/2010. I’m definitely feeling the urge to train for and run Goofy again! 🙂

  17. mkadens1 says:

    What great memories! I too am finding myself growing more and more excited for friends running Disney this weekend. It makes me wanna run it! I feel the same way about my first half. I had no idea going into it. Little did I know it was the such a hard course. After 50+ marathons it’s still the hardest half I’ve ever done. I’ve been back to run it 6 more times!

  18. Coco says:

    What a nice look back! I see why so many people love Disney races.

  19. Disney has a special place in my heart, too, since it was my first marathon. I’m so happy to be back here this year for Dopey. I hope you can come back soon with the little one, so he can experience the magic!

  20. I love the Grand Rapids Marathon . . . a local race and friends of mine are on the volunteer leadership committee. It’s such a friendly, well thought out race.

  21. elenasonnino says:

    I love marathon (and half marathon) weekends! It is about so much more than the actual race! The race that I wish I could do each year is probably the Rock’n’roll Philadelphia–it was my first half back when it was not a Rock’N’Roll race and I still love running in Philly whenever I can. And then I always stay at least one night to make sure I can go out and have a scrumptious dinner somewhere fabulous 🙂

  22. love this post! My first half marathon (and race ever!) was the Disneyland Half marathon and I plan on running it every year until I can’t anymore! Last year was my first wdw marathon weekend and I did Dopey and I am so sad to not be there this year-that race is incredible!

  23. Marathon weekend is definitely one of my favorites as well! It seems to be the most runner-ish of all of the Disney race weekends. Disney is such a great place for first time racers too…I feel like so many people I know did their first half or full in Disney which is really neat. Also…I can’t remember if I ever told you this but your husband took a photo of Mom and I after Dopey Challenge. The whole time I was thinking, this guy looks so familiar! 🙂

  24. ishouldrun says:

    I’ve run Marine Corps Marathon the past two years and I wish I could run it every year. It’s in my hometown and with the military so it’s near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to fly up there on that weekend right before the holidays. I’ll be feeling the same as you when I watch other people run it next year.

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