As many of you have heard by now, runDisney had to make a difficult decision last week: to cancel Saturday’s Disney World Half Marathon due to forecasted thunderstorms before and during the race. My heart sank when I heard the news Friday evening, but it sounds like the best, and safest, decision was made. With this race having been my first half marathon back in 2014, the race holds a special place in my heart. Like me, many people run their first major race at Disney World. Traveling to Disney for a racecation is also a major expense. And during marathon weekend, many complete the half marathon as part of the Goofy and Dopey Challenges. For Disney to cancel a race is a big deal.
In a situation like what happened last weekend at Disney, many people could have easily been extremely frustrated and upset by runDisney’s decision. I know that I would have. Although there was lots of thunder and lightning during the early hours on Saturday morning, later on in the morning the weather cleared up enough and it was safer for people to be outside. Because of having to reopen closed roads, and the impact on the parks themselves, I completely understand why delaying the start of the race wasn’t an option, but so many people still wanted to be able to earn their Donald medals.
I was so impressed by how people came together on Saturday to virtually run, but more importantly, cheer on and support the half marathoners who chose to run around the resort or on the treadmill in order to earn their medals. Kudos to them for turning a situation that was out of their control into a more positive outcome. It was a joy to watch the events unfold on social media as people shared photos and videos of the impromptu virtual race and the aid stations that were set up at various resorts.
I was incredibly impressed how the “Pop-Art Half Marathon” came together. Sarah was down at Disney to run the marathon on Sunday and to support her husband who was running the Dopey Challenge. She had plans to be out during the half marathon to hand out candy to runners along the course. When the half was canceled, she found herself with a lot of candy, and set up shop at Pop Century to hand out candy to the runners, including her husband, who decided to complete their virtual half by running around Hourglass Lake.
What was incredible to see was how her kind gesture exploded as others donated water and more food to create a full on water/aid station. Parents brought their children out in costumes to create “character stops.” The “Pop-Art Half Marathon” that developed throughout the day was as close to a Disney race as you could get. And it was an incredible sign of what the running community truly is all about – runners coming together to support one another. I was so moved on Saturday, and couldn’t have been more proud to be a member of this community, as I was scrolled through my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds.
In a world where there is so much hate, the support that everybody showed one another at Disney on Saturday gives me hope that there is still more good than bad in this world. It was truly amazing to see how the running community came together on Saturday to support one another, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of this network of runners!
QOTD: How would you react if a race that you were supposed to run was canceled?