Today begins the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. The Dopey runners will be racing first to the expo today before beginning their four days of races. With the 5K starting tomorrow followed by the 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon. Each year I get emotional when this weekend approaches. This race has been a very important part of my life and will always be special to me.
When I started running I was looking for a goal race and when I saw the date for the Disney Marathon I knew it would be perfect for me. I was an undergrad and knew that the best race would be during the winter break allowing me to take an extended vacation to the race and not have to worry about quickly heading back to attend class. That was beyond the fact that getting to run around Disney would be a great first race to complete. It served as a great motivation during the training and will always be one of my favorite races.
Beyond Disney being my first marathon, it was also the race where I accompanied two of my best friends complete their first marathon. In 2014 and 2015 I accompanied friends through the 26.2 miles as they completed their first race. Being able to watch each of them through the struggle that each marathoner has made me realize how great an accomplishment completing the race is. I have accomplished a lot of goals since I started running, but seeing each of them cross the finish line in Orlando was a unique accomplishment that I will always appreciate.
Lastly, and most importantly, this race was the backdrop for one of the most important events in my life. After completing my first marathon in 2012 I made another commitment that would change my life, I proposed to Bride! I thought that there was no better way to signify an ending of one chapter in my life and starting a new one than completing my first marathon as the period of one chapter and proposing as the introduction to the next chapter.
During my training for Disney Marathon 2012 I grew so much and learned so much about myself. It changed my life forever and I will always look fondly at the race, the environment, and the emotions at the finish line.