Why I runDisney

Finish 2

Holding hands as we crossed the finish line of our first runDisney event … keep this in your memory – I think it may be the only time this has ever happened and probably will ever happen! Always expect the unexpected with runDisney!

Kris and I have loved participating in runDisney events over the last 7 years! Our first was actually our 2nd 1/2 marathon ever (our first being Rock ‘n’ Roll AZ) and we were hooked on runDisney events immediately!  So far we have done (and if it’s highlighted, we’ve done a blog post on it):


Labor Day Weekend – Disneyland 1/2 Marathon

Our first time running through the castle! Even with the race being black flagged due to horribly hot & humid weather, we LOVED it!


Labor Day Weekend – Disneyland 1/2 Marathon

We were excited to come back and have much better weather!


Labor Day Weekend – Disneyland 1/2 Marathon

Back at if after a little running break and finally starting to feel like runners. We actually had real running clothes and somewhat knew what we were doing … and ran for new PRs!


January – Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Goofy Challenge (1/2 marathon & full marathon in one weekend)

The finish line of the half marathon – the first part of the Goofy Challenge.  We ran this one easy together but fought over who’d get to cross first (yes, things changed a lot after the first couple events!).  This was our first event at Walt Disney World in Florida.

After completing the marathon – sporting our Goofy medals

Labor Day Weekend – Disneyland 1/2 Marathon

First time I ran in costume … so much fun! Plus, we earned our first Coast to Coast medal!


January – Disneyland – Inaugural Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon

Our first time winning a runDisney award … Team Champions!

Labor Day – Disneyland 1/2 Marathon

Our first event where we really interacted with Jeff Galloway … What an amazing man!  Little did I know how much his training program would impact me!

November – WDW – Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon

Our first nighttime 1/2 marathon. What an after party!!!  During the after party, we found out we both won our first runDisney age group awards!  Plus, our 2012 Coast to Coast!


January – Disneyland – Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon

Back to defend our title of Team Champions and our first race as Hammer Nutrition sponsored athletes. It was an amazing weekend with a new 1/2 marathon PR, age group award, team award and participation in the meet-up, tweet-up where we started our friendships with Ali Vincent & Sean Astin.

February – WDW – Princess 1/2 Marathon

An unbelievable last-minute trip out there with Ali … check out the blog post to see how it all happened!


Labor Day Weekend – Disneyland – Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare

The inaugural 10k – the first part of the Dumbo Double Dare

Ran the 1/2 marathon with Sean – sporting our love for #run3rd

November – WDW – Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon

Had the opportunity to participate in the first nighttime meet-up

Yes, we enjoy the runDisney events! They are much more than just a race to us.  And, while we do enjoy ‘racing’ – we set goals, try to place in our age group, push ourselves to new PRs, … we find we get so much more out of the runDisney events than we ever expect.  Each one has provided us with endless memories and opportunities we never dreamed of.  With most races/events – you pick up your race number, do the event and go home – even with other destination events, we have never had the interactions or experienced the personal touches that runDisney has given us.  Their events draw huge crowds, yet somehow they still manage to make us feel special.  That’s why we just can’t seem to stay away!

Through runDisney, we have met amazing people and formed everlasting friendships, we have pushed ourselves to new PRs and we have gone and done things we would have never dreamed of doing. RunDisney has taught me ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! RunDisney has empowered me to believe in myself as I have pushed myself beyond what I thought I could thanks to the amazing support they give on course. Everyone needs a little runDisney magic in their life!

When I transferred to my current teaching position for the 2008-09 school year, I started up our after school running club.  Over the years it has grown quite a bit and evolved into something I am very proud of – the kids LOVE to stay after school and run; challenging themselves and their friends to see how many miles they can get in before we are done for the day and usually asking to stay a little bit longer to do ‘just one more lap’.  Throughout the school year we participate in as many community events as we can to help keep the excitement and give the students something to look forward to.  The events are also a fun way to celebrate all their hard work and show them it pays off.

I teach in a low socio-economic community and do what I can to make our experiences as affordable as possible.  Through community partnerships, ECA donations, grants and private donors we have been able to provide a lot for our kids to keep them active and healthy.  However, with my love for runDisney events, I wasn’t going to be fully satisfied until I could find a way to get our kids to a runDisney event.  I’ve been to Disneyland a countless amount of times … and yet, I still get giddy when I know I have a trip or race coming up.  I still beam with excitement every time I run through the parks in the dark with everything lit up and photographers all around.  I still feel like a princess as they call my name crossing the finish line. I can’t get enough of the experience!  What would this experience be like to my students from Arizona who have never been to Disneyland?  How much would this impact these kids to do something they never dreamed of doing?  I had to figure out a way to find out! My goal as a teacher and coach is to show my students anything is possible if they work hard and believe in themselves.  It’s a message I hope to teach all my students and one I feel fits the runDisney events perfectly.

My first challenge – figure out how to tell my principal I wanted to take kids to Disneyland.  While my principal thought I was crazy for wanting to take on this challenge, she was actually quite supportive.   I explained to her how educational this would be with the kids having the opportunity to learn from Jeff Galloway, Diet Diva Tara Gidus, Ali Vincent and Sean Astin and she agreed that it would provide the students with a great learning opportunity in addition to the race participation (insert devilish grin & thumbs up).

Then I had to get district approval.  This took a while and we weren’t able to make it work the first time we tried (a great lesson for the kids to see we shouldn’t give up!).  As we returned to school this past August, I was determined to make it work for 2014 Tinker Bell 10k.  If you have ever registered for a runDisney event, you know they sell out rather quickly -so, I knew I would need to move quick! My secretary was amazing and helped with all the paperwork so we could get the trip approved by our school board in time to purchase our race registrations before they sold out.

Now we needed to figure out which families were willing/able to commit to going so we would know how many registrations to get.  At this point I couldn’t guarantee the parents we would be able to help with the cost and I told them how much it could potentially be out of pocket.  While parents agreed it was a great opportunity, with most of them having several kids and tight budgets, this was a hard sell.  In my heart I KNEW we could get the money we needed … but, I couldn’t promise it and we needed to commit.  From the dozen kids invited (kids who had already completed a 10k and were currently in running club)  two sets of parents were fully committed to making this work – allowing 3 kids to take advantage of this opportunity (2 are twins).

Finally … how were we going to afford this? Our families aren’t in any position to pay for a trip like this so I had to figure out how to make it affordable.  Part of the approval process was figuring out what we could use ECA donations for.  Race registrations and anything educational – yes.  Park tickets or entertainment – no.  Luckily, Get Travel was kind enough to work with us to accept a school purchase order for race registrations and hotel … with their race packages, they include a 1-day, 1-park ticket … perfect!  Now we just needed to find enough kind people to use their tax credit on us – time to start begging on social media!  Fortunately, we have some amazing people in our lives who made it possible for us to cover the entire bill.  Through ECA, we paid for registration (with park ticket), hotel and meals while we were together … parents were responsible for getting the kids there and any extra food and entertainment.

It was really going to happen!  Let the excitement begin!  And, little did I know what all was in store … click here to continue

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