I remember that weekend so vividly. That warm January weekend in 2013. I had decided I was going to run a marathon. It made me laugh because I said I would never run a marathon in my life because “that doesn’t make any sense to run that far”…nearly 30 marathons later here I am. I signed up for the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge during Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. I was set to run the half marathon on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday. I ran the half with a friend and opted to run the marathon alone. Well, at least that was the plan.
I was nervous about this marathon. Scared even. I hadn’t run that far before, and admittedly didn’t train properly. I did know I was determined. I did know I could do anything I wanted as long as I focused. I did know I needed support. So I took to Twitter a few weeks before the race and expressed my angst and nerves. Apparently, people were following me and joined in on this conversation. Interesting people I hadn’t met in person. The influence created this movement of people who began to communicate and create an unshakable bond. We chatted, shared our stories, and strategized. This group of complete strangers met for the first time in Corral G on race morning of the Walt Disney World Marathon 20th anniversary. We were the Corral G Gladiators.
We ran. We laughed. We walked. We character stopped. We pepped talked. We connected. This was a race about friendship. This was a race about pushing ourselves. This was many (if not all) of our first marathon so we were excited and anxious to take on this journey together, and frankly I think we are still happy we had one another to this day.
One joke we shared along the way was that we should Conga line across the finish line. Well turns out we did that. And they played conga music for us! We shut the finish line down and had a PARTY! And yes the mice joined in on the action!
Why does all of this matter? Because when I think about Walt Disney World marathon weekend, I don’t just think of events and races. I think of the people. I think of the impact this race weekend had on my life. It brought BEAUTIFUL humans into my world whom many of which I am still VERY close to. I think about what we did together. I think about the power of the human spirit. I think about teamwork and commitment and family. I think about progress. This was a race that changed me as a person. I learned more about what it meant to be a leader, a friend, and a runner. This was truly a journey and not one person was the same after that race.
With today’s medal reveal for the 2018 race (I will be running Goofy), it always warms my heart and brings these memories right back to the surface. I am happy for many of us to reunite in January to hug and take on the marathon again, together. Reliving moments and creating new memories.
Every race tells a story and this marathon is no exception. I have had some of the best times of my life on this marathon course and I look forward to January to making more. So to Corral G, know that I love you dearly, and to our adjunct adopted members Matthew and Angela you will always be part of the family. Take the time and appreciate the beauty of life and love around you because life is too short.