I’m pleased to share that I recently completed my first road race – the Walt Disney World 10K during the Disney Marathon Weekend. I registered less than a month before the race when Team Fox had a last minute opening. Less than ideal circumstances, considering I had little-to-no prior running experience. Fortunately, my desire to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation and network with other Team Fox members outweighed my reservations about taking on the challenge of a 10K.
It’s a huge understatement to say that I’m glad I did. We spent three days attending Disney Run events, and it was a fantastic experience in all respects. Running the 10K went better than expected, and it has already encouraged me sign up for a half-marathon in March (more on that later).
The greatest challenge I faced on the race came shortly after mile marker 4, when I realized I could finish without walking any portion of the route. My emotions almost got the best of me when I thought about what it would mean to cross the finish line. I was running for my wife, who has early onset Parkinson’s disease. I was running for a cure. Finishing would be a personal accomplishment, but it would also demonstrate my commitment to something bigger than myself.
Fortunately, I remembered that I had to actually finish the race first, and I settled back into a steady run for the final two miles. When the finish line was finally in sight, I could not help but blurt out an expletive that begins with “holy.”
The remainder of the weekend festivities were equally rewarding. At the Team Fox events, I met some of the most inspirational people I have ever encountered. Several of the Team Fox athletes who participated in the Disney runs did so while managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s. The courage and perseverance they showed to complete a long distance race parallels the courage that so many living with Parkinson’s demonstrate in their daily lives. I was grateful for the opportunity to cheer them on, alongside their family, friends and Team Fox staff members who made the journey to Florida.
Our fundraising team for the race was Team RAP (Ripley’s Against Parksinson’s) – which included our good friends shown in the middle two pics above who ran in support of my wife. I’m pleased to share that we raised $2375 as a team (at last count). It’s incredibly fulfilling to know that 100% of those funds will go to research programs.
Overall, the Disney Marathon Weekend is a unique experience filled with positive vibes. Every participant seems to be running for something – whether it’s a personal goal or a cause close to their heart. I was introduced to the world of running in a big way, and I’m confident it will remain part of my life for years to come.