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!)