The training is done, the race is over, everyone is home, and we've all shared our medals with family and friends. Even though many Team AllEars members are looking forward and have already signed up for 2011 Disney races, we asked the team to take a few minutes and share some final reflections about their 2010 experiences.
A Quick Pre-Half Marathon Mini Team Gathering Photo! Yes, it really was that cold and sleeting!
Back in March when I signed up for the Disney Half Marathon it seemed so far away. Now, three weeks since that bitter cold day, I can hardly believe it's already come and gone. I know it sounds hokey but the experience really did change my life, in more ways than I can explain in a paragraph. I'm so glad I did it and was a part of Team AllEars. In fact, I've even started calling this my first half marathon! (Photo copyright: John Ames)
My Disney Marathon weekend was an absolute amazing experience. From completing the 5k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon to meeting all of my Team AllEars members it was a truly life changing experience. It was such a rewarding experience to raise money for breast cancer research and an honor to be a part of such a supportive team. I am officially “Goofy” and also part of a group of wonderful friends.
The quote on my shirt sums up our team in my mind. Whether it meant pulling yourself off a couch and into a pair if running shoes for the first time or running for the first time in years, coming face to face with injuries during training and overcoming them, waking up at 3am to be greeted by freezing rain and flurries, pushing yourself down World Drive after the aura of the Magic Kingdom had worn off, finishing the run and deciding to reregister or register for a greater distance in 2011, and for those that did not finish deciding that the sweep bus in 2010 DOES NOT mean a sweep bus in 2011... 'Around here, however, we don't look backward for very long... we keep moving forward.'- Walt Disney. It was an honor and a privilege to be a charter member of Team Allears. The impact of the friendships made, the improved lifestyles and the money raised for the fight against cancer will be felt by myself and all those involved long after race weekend 2010. BRING ON 2011 AND THE GOOFY CHALLENGE!!!"
Team All Ears was a fantastic experience and one I think anybody would enjoy. The support online and on the race course was great and it was a lot of fun to be part of something so special. I'm hoping I can pull the right strings to get another January vacation so I can come back for Team 2011.
Team All Ears has been a great experience, and I am very hopeful for the 2011 team (I have talked my wife into running the half in 2011!)
It would have been warmer and dryer in Infinity! We had a blast!
This was my third half marathon, but the first time I had the support of a team behind me. Even though we never met in person, I the support of Team AllEars was invaluable to me. I was able to get my family and friends involved as well by telling them about the Team and breast cancer research. I loved being a part of a team so much!
Karen Lehtonen and Jessica Gauda
We DID IT!
What an adventure! Congratulations to Team AllEars and our supporters who endured the sleet, the rain and the wind!
Suzanne Borg Farnan
When I began training for the half marathon, I saw the race as the final destination. As I approached race day, I realized that the race was just the beginning of the journey – this is a life-long endeavour to embrace health, life and hope. It has been an honour and truly a privilege to use my health and good fortune to raise money and awareness for breast cancer and another cause, close to my heart. Deb, Michelle and Mike were real sources of inspiration and I was so thrilled to meet them. Our team was a constant source of knowledge and support and I couldn’t have gotten to the starting line without them (even though I actually lost them all before I got to the starting line due to a port-a-potty stop, that’s just race day reality people!). I was so proud to represent my team, my family and friends on that freezing cold morning in Orlando and so ecstatic to see my family near the finish line and cross that finish line soon after. What an experience, it truly was magical and to quote Walt himself, "kind of fun to do the impossible"!
Aside from meeting everyone at the AllEars meet, my favorite memory would be crossing the finish line and finding my family. I had accomplished something! I actually finished 13.1 miles, a distance I had never run before in my life. I felt so great! And then I saw my family through the fence and they came over and told me how proud they were of me. I will never forget what a wonderful feeling that was.
The experience connected me with Dad and my son Daniel. They were with me for the first marathon and I know they were at the marathon as well. There is a stretch of highway around mile 18 to 20 and it isn't much fun, wide expanses of asphalt seldom are compared to theme parks. The sun had risen though and the sky was crystal blue and as I felt the warmth of the sun wash over me after starting in the dark and cold I could feel their spirit. Months of training and the exhaustion of the run strike me as an insignificant price to pay for that moment. I don't run to a finish line, I run to be closer to Dad and Daniel, if just for a moment.
I did my first ever half marathon at Disney World and I had so much fun that I keep going back for more races. I love getting to be a part of the team and raising money for such a great cause.
It all started....... with a question. Can I do this??? Now..... I am a MARATHONER!!!!!!
GOOFY 2011.... SEE YA REAL SOON!!"
"Completing my first marathon at my favorite place in the world is one of the most awesome things I have ever done. What made it so very special is that I was able to have some small part in helping to find a cure for cancer, so that people we know and love don’t have to leave us before their time."
Reflections - Running with friends both new and old. Reading the backs of t-shirts in memory of those no longer here to run with us but certainly not forgotten. Hearing my name being cheered by complete strangers. Running alongside the Freedom Runner soldier with the prosthetic foot. Seeing Team Allears members at the base of Spaceship Earth as I was nearing the completion of the Goofy. My daughter Julia pulling me towards her to say congratulations. My wife running into my arms after I completed the full marathon to earn my Goofy. Seeing people do things for themselves and accomplish goals that they once thought impossible. Likeminded strangers coming together as one for a single cause.
Melanie and Julie (The Colorado Sisters)
Have you ever started knitting a sweater and you ended up knitting a belly warmer instead?
That is how the 2010 marathon was for us. We signed up with lofty goals and noble aspirations and then life, injuries and more life took over.
At first we were sad that our lofty goals didn’t come to fruition, but we had a different kind of success.
On Team AllEars we found new friends, a new stronger love of running and some wiser goals for 2011.
We saw what running a marathon should look like. It turns out it can be done with a smile on your face.
Thank you Helen for showing us what someone who is enjoying a marathon looks like.
That is our new goal….to run a MERRYthon. We want to stop and take photos with characters (we have always been too pressed for time to do that).
We want to smile (at least most of the way). We want to enjoy our merry marathon!
To Team AllEars 2010- thank you for sharing your struggles, triumphs and inspiration with us on Facebook- we LOVED it!
Here’s to more miles and smiles in 2011.
It's been a dream of mine to participate since I witnessed one of the first ever WDW Marathons. I watched folks run through the Magic Kingdom, up and down the roads and through the other parks. I thought to myself, how cool; but also thought it would always be just a dream. Neither a runner nor fast am I. Thanks to co-captains Mike and Michelle, Team AllEars, and lots of encouragement from friends, my dream became a reality. It was one of the hardest things I have ever trained for (even harder than 60 mile walks) but once I stepped into the start corral that early, sleet-filled morning, I knew I could make it happen; and I did. One of my proudest moments and one I won't ever forget!
Very special thanks to EVERYONE who came out and cheered and all the volunteers and Disney Cast Members.
During the Saturday Half Marathon, Team AllEars members Melanie, Julie and Tacey seemed to be everywhere despite the rain!
During the Marathon, Team AllEars members were sprinkled throughout the route. Here are Amanda and Mike cheering in Future World!
Looking Toward 2011
We once again wish to thank all of our team members. As we start to think about the 2011 Disney races, stay tuned for an announcement about 2011 Team AllEars coming very soon.
The previous post in this blog was A Prince (Or Frog) Among Princesses - Walt Disney World Endurance Series.
The next post in this blog is Team AllEars 2011 Announcement.