Dear friends, please bare with me while I do a bit of rambling today. I’m not sure that I have a point, but hopefully this experience will resonate with some of you…
This year once I crossed the finish line of the Walt Disney World Marathon I walked back into Epcot to meet Jason and my friend Jenn in hopes of spotting Kellie finishing her first marathon (and to pass her a grapefruit beer in Germany!).
After a successful “beer to runner” handoff to Kellie (and a sweaty hug!), Jason and I continued walking around the countries and eventually stopped in the UK. We had been planning to head out of the park so I could go back to the room and shower, but to be honest we couldn’t pull ourselves away from watching the runners.
This spot is one of my favorite parts of the Walt Disney World Marathon. It’s exactly where the marathon course turns in to Epcot. It’s Mile 25. It’s where the victory lap begins.
And the music! Oh, the music as you run around World Showcase is just incredible!
Running around World Showcase is the only time I feel like I could break into tears during a marathon.
As Jason and I stood and watched runners turn in to Epcot we saw an incredible range of emotions as they began the final mile of their journey.
We saw runners crying. Some crying of happiness that they were on their way to the finish line (their first marathon perhaps?!). Some crying clearly in pain.
We saw runners celebrating.
We saw runners stopping to grab themselves an adult beverage to carry with them to the finish line (so many options around World Showcase!).
We saw runners supporting each other. Both cheering each other on and literally holding each other up.
We saw months of training, months of hard work, months of dedication all coming together in this moment.
As we stood there Jason turned to me and said, “Every professional athlete should watch the end of a marathon.”
And I agree. They should.
Yes, it’s amazing to see the race leaders fly by. To marvel at how fast they’re moving. To see the tape broken at the finish line.
But there’s also truly something amazing about the end of a marathon.
There’s something about seeing the runner with tears in their eyes because they’re about to do something they never even dreamed they could do. They’re about to accomplish something maybe others told them they couldn’t. They’re about to reach the finish line of an incredible journey.
Katherine Switzer, the first woman to enter and run the Boston Marathon, said it best:
Jason and I stayed and watched the runners for over an hour and I am so glad that we did. It truly was magical. And not just Disney magical, it was marathon magical.
So keep running friends!
Keep running, keep volunteering, keep cheering and keep supporting each other!
Keep doing whatever you do that makes this running community so amazing that it can restore faith in human nature.
Do you have a favorite example or moment that
defines the power of the running community to you?
(P.S. – Writing this post is REALLY making me want to run a spring marathon!)
Dad and I watched the marathon for about an hour and a half in EPCOT when we were waiting for mom to pass through in 2013. It was incredible! We saw an amazing range of emotions and support on the course. Totally inspiring!
Clearly inspiring enough that a few months later we were making our way through 26.2 miles of Virginia & DC ; )
I know the Eugene Marathon moved the race back to the spring. You finish on the track where the Olympic trials are held.
I’ve love to do that race one day! Unfortunately I think my “going back to school” budget is going to keep me a bit more local/ New England for this year…
Really enjoyed this post! I’m training for my first Marathon this year so this got me feeling all emotional haha
Oh, I’m so happy this you connected with this post! And just wait until you’re in that victory lap headed towards the finish, it’s going to be amazing! Good luck with your training and please let me know how it goes!
Damn. Now I’m sitting here at my desk crying. AGAIN. ❤
Awww…sorry for making you cry, but glad the post resonated with you. I wasn’t quite sure what my point was when I started writing it, but I new I really wanted to write about the experience.
This sounds amazing! Im off to watch the London Marathon & support those doing it. I think it’s going to inspire me to run it next year… What do you think?
I think by the time that marathon is over you’re going to be feeling quite inspired ; )
I was sitting watching Marine Corps at the 20 mile mark and that was a little less uplifting because I couldn’t even tell people “this is it!” it’s more a “this is where it gets really, really, really hard!” But I also saw the last runner who was about to get picked up by the SAG wagon and it was just amazing. Girl was hauling ass and kept looking behind her at the car following her.
Mile 20 is a great place to be at MCM because people need to beat that bridge! I can’t imagine the pressure of having the SAG wagon coming up behind me!
You KNOW I’m sitting here saying AMEN in my dining room, Girl. Great post!!
Thank you so much! I wasn’t sure if it would come out sounding like I was just rambling and didn’t have a point so I’m glad people seem to understand where I was coming from…
Great article and so, so true. Feels like your marathon may have been a more fun one than most.
Yes, I’d be willing to be that the Walt Disney World Marathon is more fun that most : )
LOVE this post 🙂
Why thank you : )
YES. Great post. I never even realized just how freakin’ amazing it could be to watch a marathon until I spectated the Philadelphia Marathon for Todd. I stood at the finish line for well over an hour waiting for him to come in, and I can’t even tell you how many times I got choked up watching complete strangers cross the finish line! You see all of those months of hard work and dedication and self-doubt and fear culminate in this one incredible moment, and seeing the looks on their faces…there’s nothing like it!
Right?! Sometimes it’s more emotional to watch others finish a marathon than it is to finish yourself! I just felt so proud of everyone!
This was one of the most sensitive and thought provoking blogs I have ever read…. your emotion was “MAGICAL” !!!!! love…dad
Thank you for sharing.
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I love this post. There is so much raw energy at the end of a marathon. You never know the journey that someone made to make it across that finish line.
Spectating at mile 13 of the NYCM was definitely not quite the same as watching the runners at their “victory lap” but after getting to watch the 5K finishers (for my mom and dad) and the 10K finishers (for my dad) I know how emotional and incredible the experience of spectating really is. I would definitely love to get another chance to spectate a marathon (notice how I said SPECTATE a marathon).
Oh, and of course this is where I thank you again for being there for me, both during training and on race day and for cheering and supporting (and giving me beer!) and for all that you did and do! 🙂
Great post and so true! Watching the end of the NYC Marathon years ago was what first inspired me to run a marathon. And working as an announcer at the most recent race was a phenomenal experience. I was at the finish for 12 hours and watched nearly every single one of the 50,000 runners cross the line. So many emotions. The prior year, I was just past the finish line for about an hour, at the point where runners start walking. What an amazing spot! That’s where you see people fall to their knees, hug the person next to them, break into tears, fist pump, or whatever other emotion moves them. I definitely got teary eyed a few time (as did the rest of the camera crew with me)!