Team AllCheers Archives

March 14, 2012

Team AllEars 2013: Continuing with Purpose


Team AllEars Logo

It happens every spring…the snow melts…clocks spring ahead…pitchers and catchers report for spring training…but more importantly it’s that time of year to launch a new year of Team AllEars.

In the Beginning

The Team AllEars Running Team was founded in 2009 with several goals in mind. One was to motivate those who have wanted to acquire a more active and healthier lifestyle through walking, jogging, and running. However, the team was also constructed for a purpose…and that was to not just get healthier but to help others. We are talking about those battling in the fight for survival from breast cancer.

Team AllEars would become a force committed to increasing breast cancer awareness by raising funds for Deb Wills' Avon Walk for Breast Cancer .

Regarding launch of Team AllEars for 2013, Deb Wills expressed:

“I am so excited to announce Team AllEars for 2013. The Team has exceeded all my expectations. Each year new people make a decision to get healthier and off the couch and join the team. Also, as a Team that Runs with Purpose, Team AllEars has raised over $140,000 in three years to fight breast cancer. Many lives have been saved through everyone's hard work and determination. I am so proud of everyone involved.”

A Team Becomes a Family

At the annual team meeting this past January at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida, Team AllEars Co-Captain Michelle Scribner-McLean used “family” as the proper word to define what Team AllEars has become over the years. As she expressed it to the team members, “A family answers questions when people have issues or worries, or their it band is blown, or they’re nervous about a race, or they don't know how to get from one resort to the other. That’s what a family does and you have given me so much and, I really feel that we are a family, and you are my family, and I really appreciate everything you do.”

The team’s support mechanisms for the fight against breast cancer, support for their fellow teammates, and in fact the support they have given all runners at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, has prompted Rudy Novotny, the voice of runDisney, to remark, “The AllEars Team was a fabulous "addition" to the entire weekend of events. RunDisney, and in fact, the running community as a whole, is better for having Team AllEars out on the roads. All of those that are touched and benefit from AllEars fundraising efforts surely appreciate the blessing you all bring more than you will ever know.”

So what does it take to become part of Team AllEars?

First, team members commit to running in one of the various races held in January, during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. These races range from a 5K distance (3.1 miles), to a half marathon (13.1 miles), and finally to a full marathon distance (26.2 miles).

Secondly, team members commit to raising $500 in funds for Deb Wills' Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The team has fundraising experts who assist team members with ideas on fundraising events and, in fact, the entire team shares ideas in this area, which in turn aids towards the success of the team.

The team gathers in January to run and celebrate their achievements over the previous 12 months and to hold their annual team meeting where they share what motivates them to “run with purpose”.

Mike Scopa, Co-Captain for Team AllEars, described the annual meeting as, “The culmination of all those miles on the road, all those hours training, and all those efforts throughout the year to raise funds…it’s understandable why everyone is emotional at this meeting. Not only do we get to share our success as a team, and as a family, but we are also reminded how each one of us has been touched by cancer. As we end the meeting you can see the determination in everyone’s faces…faces that seem to say, “I’m not done…the fight goes on.”

During that weekend the team spends time with the annual Team AllEars YeeHaw Bob Meet at Port Orleans Riverside, and other get togethers such as meals and desert parties.

Team AllEars includes Team AllCheers who support the Team AllEars runners and their efforts by also attending the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and rooting them on.

Beyond the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, team members join up throughout the year to run in other races around the country to enjoy friendship and support.

So as Team AllEars moves into it’s fourth year, the energy, the drive, and the motivation to get healthier and to fight the battle against breast cancer is stronger than ever before. Each year sees some change in the numbers and names of those on the team, but there is no denying, that although the numbers and names and faces may change slightly…one thing never changes…this team Runs with Purpose.

How to Join

For you to join the Team AllEars 2013 you must first be registered for one of the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races.

Secondly, you are asked to committing to raising $500 or more to Deb Wills' Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, along the way raising breast cancer awareness as well.

Member Benefits

Team members will receive official AllEars® Running Team Newsletters that will feature special articles along with some tips and hints on preparing for the big race.

Team members will be encouraged and welcomed to contribute to the team newsletter with questions regarding training and to share their success stories in the team blog.

Team members are encouraged to participate in the private Team AllEars Facebook page (open to members only).

All team members will be invited to special team events during the 2013 WDW Marathon Weekend.

If you would like to become a member of the Team AllEars Running team please send an email to Team AllEars Co-Captain Michelle Scribner-MacLean at

Remember, the only way to run is to Run with Purpose.

Lift off!

Team AllEars Logo

December 1, 2011

Following Your Runner WDW Marathon Weekend PART III of III

In Part III of our series on following your runner during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Jessica Atawonta and Dave Aulen summarize all that they and their families have learned regarding how to follow runners during the half and full marathons on that weekend.

Here are those helpful hints that we hope they help you successfully watch your runner during these races:

  • Before each race study and become familiar with the course. Study the course map. Check the on the runDisney website. It allows you to input your runner’s expected running pace or finishing time and then choose from different viewpoints, and it gives you instructions on getting from spot to spot.
  • Give yourself plenty of extra time. As mentioned before, traffic on these two days can be slow and frustrating. When the roads are closed you will be detoured which will add to your travel time.
  • During the races ask cast members what transportation options are available. The original plan for the full marathon was for Jessica’s family to go from the Magic Kingdom to the TTC and get a bus from there to the Animal Kingdom. There were no buses running between the two parks at that time and they had to take the monorail to Epcot and take the bus from there to Animal Kingdom.
  • Stay in contact with your runner as much as possible. Let your runner know by phone or text where you are standing. Your runners should give a call or text when getting close to your location. This would allow the spectators to start looking for their runners and for runners to know specifically where their cheering section is. It takes
    a long time for texts to get through sometimes though so if you need to get in contact with your runner or spectator quickly, the best thing is a phone call. If that is not possible then sign up BEFORE the race for tracking notices to monitor where your runner is at certain points in the race.
  • It’s easier for your runner to find you than for you to find your runner. There are thousands of runners to look through to find that one familiar face. Wear something distinctive for your runner to look for. This can be a bright piece of clothing, or a brightly colored and distinctive sign. Jessica’s dad wore a bright colored hat that I
    could spot quickly in a crowd. Dave now has a bright red Team AllEars shirt for Holly to spot him. In our experience the runner always sees their cheering section before the cheering section sees the runner.
  • When you tell your runner where you are located be as specific as you can. If you just say Main Street, it will be more difficult for your runner to find you than if you say you are in front of a specific store on Main Street.
  • Spectators have more time to get to Main Street to see their runners for the full marathon. During the half marathon, runners come through the Magic Kingdom around mile 5. The full marathon runs through the Magic Kingdom around mile 10. The marathon relay should have similar mileage milestone points as the full marathon.
  • The only park open early for spectators both days of WDW Marathon Weekend is the Magic Kingdom. To be seen in any of the other parks, your runner will have to be slow enough for the park to be open by the time that park opens. You will have to use a
    park ticket to get into those parks to cheer for your runner. This was the best thing about being a “slow” runner. Jessica’s family got into Animal Kingdom just after the 9:00 am opening and was able to get into World Showcase soon after the 11:00 am opening. If runners are really fast, they will be through these parks before they open. The best bet for seeing fast runners is to go to places outside of the parks. The Magic Kingdom has the left side of Main Street open at 5:30 am on race mornings and does not require park admission to get in.
  • When you get to the park to see your runner, go to the furthest place of the course they could be at and then walk against the grain to find a good spot. An example of this strategy is; in World Showcase full marathon runners come in between the UK and
    France pavilions and go counterclockwise around the lagoon to the front of Epcot. If you are unsure of where your runner is, the best bet would be to start at the front left of Epcot and walk around World Showcase clockwise to your favorite viewing location.
  • Before the races start arrange with your runner to meet in a certain spot after they finish. The last thing runners want to do after running 26.2 miles was stroll around the family meeting area trying to find their group. There are tents with letters on them, pick one (maybe your last name?) and plan to meet there.
  • What’s the most important tip? HAVE FUN!! Cheer for everyone, it lifts the runner’s spirits and can be a really great time for those cheering too!


November 26, 2011

Following Your Runner WDW Marathon Weekend PART II of III

In Part II of our series on following your runner at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Dave Aulen shares the strategy he perfected for following his wife Holly through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot without a car during two Goofy Challenges.

Heeere's Dave...

I know what you’re thinking, “I didn’t choose to run this thing so why should I get up so early and go with my runner to the start area?” The simple answer is that by doing just that it will make getting around the property so much easier for you. The added bonus is getting to share in the excitement and experience with your runner and the rest of Team AllEars. Driving to the EPCOT start area gives your runner a warm place to sit for a few minutes and allows for an easy exit after the finish line.

I follow the EPCOT-Monorail-TTC-Magic Kingdom-Monorail-TTC-EPCOT strategy Jessica mentioned. You can't get off the TTC monorail at the Magic Kingdom until the park opens, which is 5:30 am. Your choices are to either keep riding the loop or get off at The Contemporary Resort for coffee (the lobby coffee kiosk and Contempo Café opened early last year for the race weekend), and walk to the Magic Kingdom. You do not need a park ticket to watch the race from inside the Magic Kingdom.

At 5:30 in the morning you will find an empty park. You have some time to walk around and snap pictures before picking a viewing point. I prefer not to stand on Main Street proper because it's roped-off to create a narrow path for the race and it gives you mostly a side view of the race. The direct center of the hub is where you want to be to take that special photo of your favorite runner. It's a coveted spot and that's why you are there at 5:30 am. My actual favorite spot is just beyond the hub at the entrance to the Tomorrowland Bridge. There the runners are rounding a corner which gives you a better view of them for your photos.

View from the Hub Center

Half Marathon View from Tomorrowland Bridge

Once your runner passes get ready to move. The Tomorrowland Bridge area gives you the chance to turn around and go close to a roped-off area by the castle entrance. From here you can see your runner come out of the castle and get pictures as they run the ramp down toward Adventureland. Another good spot to stand for the “Castle Shot” is right behind the ChEAR Squad VIP area by the Adventureland Ramp.

View From Front of Cinderella’s Castle by the ChEAR Squad VIP Viewing Section

View In Front of Cinderella’s Castle from the Roped-off Area Behind the Hub

Time to go. Get on the monorail and go over to TTC for the EPCOT Monorail. Monorail lines are very long this weekend, but don't panic like me. You will get there in time because the runners are six plus miles from the finish. When you get down the monorail ramp at EPCOT, turn right, (away from the finish area) and you should be able to see your runner as they enter EPCOT (this is the spot Jessica mentioned).

Entering Epcot Near Bus Terminal

Then, book it over to the finish line. Depending on how fast your runner is you should be able to see them come into the finish area.

View In Front of Cinderella’s Castle from the Roped-off Area Behind the Hub

Finish Area

EPCOT Viewing Strategy

On marathon day (Sunday) I follow the same strategy of getting to EPCOT early and taking the Monorail to the TTC and then to Magic Kingdom; still entering the park around 5:30 am. Once I see Holly on Main Street USA and see her leave the castle, I exit via Monorail back to EPCOT.

Unlike for the Magic Kingdom, you are required to have a ticket to enter EPCOT to watch the race. The first year I just went into the park and killed some time in Innoventions until it was time to exit the park and head to the finish line area. Last year, I decided to skip the marathon finish line area in favor of watching the race in the park. I went to the UK Pavilion and watched the runners entering EPCOT and head counter-clockwise around the World Showcase for their final mile. You can choose some other countries to watch from (just not Canada) depending on how fast your runner is and if World Showcase is open.

The View From The UK Area of World Showcase

After you see your runner in the UK you can walk back to the World Showcase Plaza and see them coming toward you from Mexico. This is a good photo location because they are heading straight at you and your vantage point is on a slight incline.

View From the Mexico Area in World Showcase

After that you can exit the park and meet your runner at the family reunion area. Bring your sunglasses because there will be lots of shiny bling there.

Jessica and Holly: Bling Twins

In Part III of our series on following your runner at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Jess and Dave combine all that they and their families have learned and summarize all their top tips for you.

November 21, 2011

Following Your Runner WDW Marathon Weekend PART I of III

The excitement of a RunDisney race is not owned exclusively by the runners. Family and friends can also get in on the fun by following their runners along the course. Team AllEars runners look forward to finding their supporters on the course for that special photo at a special location, running supplies, a smile or hug for encouragement, or a reminder of the reason why they are fight breast cancer.

Walt Disney World is hard enough to navigate on a normal day. Imagine how even more of a chore it is to get around when roads are closed and normal transportation rules are altered. That’s why most spectators settle on watching the races from only one location. To get to see your favorite runner on race day it takes time, patience, planning and good luck, but for our family, it’s so worth it.

Today, we'll feature Part I of our "Following Your Runner" strategies as learned from two Team allEars members and their families.

In Part I Jessica Awotona offers her family’s tips for viewing the Walt Disney World Half Marathon using their car for transportation.

Heeeere's Jessica...

One of my favorite things about running at Walt Disney World is seeing my family in different places along the course. The first race I ran at WDW was the 2010 Walt Disney World Half Marathon. My father, sisters, and boyfriend came to watch me run that year and they got to see me twice on the course. During that race we learned some important spectator lessons.

My family wanted to watch the runners come up Main Street, but were caught in traffic so long due to the road closures that they made it only to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) luckily before I arrived at that point in the race.

They cheered me on from the right side of the bridge at the TTC and then took the monorail to Epcot to cheer again just after mile 12 (near the resort bus stop terminal). It was a great place to see familiar faces, and with just one mile to go, it gave me the lift I needed to finish strong.

This past January I ran The Goofy Challenge, which is both the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. My dad and youngest sister came this year and learning from the lessons of the year before, had a very successful weekend of cheering. For the half marathon on Saturday they drove to Epcot before the roads were closed, parked the car, and took the monorail to the TTC, and then to the Magic Kingdom.

They were able to watch me run on Main Street USA, and saw me again when I came through Cinderella’s Castle. After that, they took the monorail back to Epcot and cheered from the same location as last year, before meeting me after the finish line.

Full Marathon Strategy

For the full marathon, I was able to see my family at four places in three parks! The first two locations were the same as the half; Main Street USA and coming back through the Castle. After seeing me in the Magic Kingdom, they took the monorail back to EPCOT and took a bus to Animal Kingdom and saw me near Expedition Everest.

I'm Beating the Yeti

Then, they took the bus back to EPCOT and cheered one last time near Germany in World Showcase. I think they were as exhausted as I was after almost six hours of cheering and park hopping. They said they had a great time and look forward to doing it all again this year as I go for my second Goofy medal.

View from the Germany Pavilion

Next: Part II of our Follow Your Runner series will feature Dave Aulen's no-car strategy for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

April 1, 2011

WDW Marathon Weekend 2011: Reflections

Although I had been running for some 37 years before taken on the challenge of a half-marathon, I felt invigorated back in 2005 as I trained for my first 13.1-mile trek.

Along the way something inspirational happened.

In October 2005 I visited Orlando to run in the Race for the Taste 10K. On Friday when I went to get my race pack I found out that on that Saturday, the day before the 10K, a 5K being held in Disney’s Animal Kingdom; it was the Central Florida Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure 5K.

The race offered some “carrots” for me…the primary one being the opportunity to contribute to the fight against Breast Cancer…and running through Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the opportunity to have a nice warm-up run the day before the big race seemed pretty cool too.

On the morning of the Komen race I was moved more emotionally than I would have ever imagined. I found myself in a sea of pink, surrounded by survivors as well as those who had lost loved ones to this terrible demon Cancer.

As I lined up with everyone to start the race I could not help noticing the messages on the back of some of the shirts, “I will always love you Mom” or “To Sis, I miss you…this is for you.”

There were several men running in the race, one in particular who was a breast cancer survivor who had run in all 50 states. I had no idea men could contract this disease.

I ran the race and afterwards ran into some cast member friends who told me this was the only race they run all year…to “help the fight.”
I was overwhelmed by the emotions around me…so many people with so many stories. I was touched.

Later on that day I was in Epcot and while sitting outside the American Adventure pavilion I was approached by a middle-aged man who held out his hand and said, “Thank you!”

I was puzzled. “Excuse me? I said.

“I noticed your Komen medal.”


I had forgotten I was wearing my Komen Medal.

He continued, “I want to thank you for helping us. My wife is dealing with breast cancer and your kind gesture today to run in the race makes us realize we are not alone.”

Wow…this amazing day continued to bring strong emotions.

His wife came from out of the gift shop, say her husband talking to me, and before she could introduce herself to me, she burst into tears and hugged me and said “Thank you! Thank you so much!” We talked a bit and I did all that I could to keep from falling apart.

The emotions that this couple displayed gave me such a strong understanding of what these people must go through that I knew it would have an impact on me.

But the icing on the cake came while strolling through France in World Showcase. It’s a known fact that I am a huge Belle fan and I actually had a favorite Belle who I visited in Epcot whenever I was in World Showcase.

On this day she when she saw me she gave me a nod and said, “Hello again!” She saw my medal and while still in character she held it in her hand, paused for a few seconds, looked at me and said, “Thank you.”
I had the immediate sense that she or someone in her family had also been touched by the dark hand of Cancer and was, while still in character, letting me know how grateful she was.


I was sold.

The following year I took a step to not only to run in the race but to also be a fundraiser. I ended up finishing second to only the race director and was called up onstage. I could not speak; I was completely overwhelmed…and wondered what more I could do.

Here I am five years later surrounded by my AllEars family…that’s right…my family.

It’s wonderful to see Team AllEars do so much for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

It was emotional last year to see my dear friend Deb Wills put herself through so much to train and finish her WDW half marathon…then to do the DL half marathon later in the year to capture the coast to coast medal. No one knows more than Deb herself, how difficult and arduous her training was…there’s something deep in this lady that many do not know…it’s called courage…and she displayed that badge of courage very well.

It was thrilling to see the expression on Stephanie Mathias’ face this year as she came around the corner in the EPCOT parking lot to finish her first 5K race. I was worried, until I saw that big smile of hers. As I type these words I can feel myself tearing up again as I remember that amazing moment with the rest of the team cheering her on.

It was heartwarming to see many of the people on Team AllEars, like Evelyn DeLuccia, Holly Aulen, and Eric Bouchet to do it all with a smile and show so much zest for life as they raise funds for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

And it’s inspirational to see my Team AllEars Co-Captain, Michelle Scribner-MacLean run both a 5K and then the next day, run the half-marathon, even though she had a stress fracture because, as she explains, “It was the right thing to do.”

There were so many other stories for this year’s WDW 2010 Marathon weekend that I wish I could do them all justice…but in many cases the experience of seeing them take place convinced me that there are no words to properly describe them.

I do know one thing for sure…after spending time with the members of Team AllEars it is all too clear that this is no longer a team but a family…a family who fights…fights side by side to someday defeat enemy #1…Breast Cancer.


March 15, 2011

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2011 - Reflections Part 3

We made a commitment to participate in the January 2011 WDW Marathon Weekend. We trained, we got healthier, we raised awareness and funds in the first against breast cancer, we laughed, we cried, we were injured, we had triumphs and setbacks, we made new friends, found unexpected support, and we gave it our all.

We are Team AllEars Running with Purpose.

Here are final reflections of this amazing journey by Team AllEars members - Part 3!


Evelyn DeLuccia

Being a part of Team AllEars 2011 has been the best experience. Raising money for breast cancer, making new friends both on Facebook and finally meeting them in person Marathon weekend, being motivated to train and help motivate others, doing the 5K and 1/2 marathon with a great bunch of people, all made this year's marathon weekend extra special.

I loved every moment.

I enjoyed attending many of the "meet and greets", especially the Illuminations Dessert Party. Making plans to do some other races during the year with team members is great. Getting the 1/2 marathon medal AND receiving a Team AllEars medal was super special. Having my husband, daughter, future son-in-law and some of his family at the many races marathon weekend, to cheer me on as well as to cheer for all Team AllEars members, was terrific. I look forward to going "Goofy" and/or "Dopey" in 2012 with Team AllEars. Go Team!!



Amanda Gonzales

It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of Team All Ears 2011. I was amazed by the commitment so many teammates made to change the path of their lives by working hard to improve their fitness and achieve their race goals.

As an "All Ears Bud", I was able to closely interact and follow the progress of many incredible individuals as they progressed from never running a mile before to running a 5k and half marathon and more. Anyone can do this if you take that first step and leap forward with confidence. Team All Ears is a family to me.

The most cherished part of this experience for me this year was that unlike last year, my entire family raced and fund raised with me. My 9, 7, 5, 2 year old and my husband all ran races this year. Training with my family helped me convey the importance of nutrition and exercise to them and hopefully that lesson and commitment will stay with them forever. It was also important to involve my children in fund raising this year and teach them about their need to be involved in the community and to dedicate their time toward helping others in need. The support and friendship from this team and the lessons learned have forever changed my life for the better.



Erwin Mascardo

As the the first major accomplishment that Julia, Lily, and I have done together as a family, our whole weekend was all about personal achievement, and also about being a team and supporting each other. Even though the photo is of me alone after crossing the finish line, I would have never made it there without everyone from Team AllEars having stood behind me through the many months of training. This especially includes the teammates who are also my immediate family! Well done to Julia and Lily as well!

Be sure to read my wife Julia's story too!



Heather Little

WOW! I ran 13 miles... I ran 13 miles! Looking back, it seems like the weekend flew by however during the actual run, miles 9 through 12 seemed to last FOREVER... Over the past 8 months, I became a runner (I finally feel comfortable calling myself that). It was very difficult to get to that day ~ my dad having a stroke 2 weeks before, finding care for my kids for the long weekend was hard, the training was hard (not to mention extremely cold) however finding the time to run was the most difficult part. Looking back, totally worth it, raising money for breast cancer research


There is this one point in the race, after passing the Grand Floridian, on the road back to Epcot, that a DJ playing music with the people cheering me on, and I remember thinking to myself "This is pretty cool."

My knee pain kicked in around mile 9 and I owe quite a bit to the Gu and BioFreeze tables. I was so afraid that I was going to get swept so I ran as much as I could through the pain. When I finally made it through the finish line and I saw the words MEDICAL, so I ran straight in for some ice. Unfortunately, I didn't realize how this would look to my poor husband, who had been cheering me on for the last 3 hours, from the sidelines. I freaked him out quite a bit, causing him to demand to get to that medical area to a poor, unsuspecting race volunteer. Something for us to laugh at now. After it all, it was a great day ~ beautiful weather, a lot of laughs, wonderful cause, motivation was in the air, a big, blingy metal, the sense of pride, and all that Disney magic.


Tim Tosten

On that fateful day in April 2010, Deb Wills told me about her experiences in running the Disney Half, and Kerry, Dan and I all said lets do it! Having never really even ran, and being many pounds over weight, who would have thought that the training, the great virutal team support, and the all of the fundraising would actually culminate in us running our very first half marathon. Fast forward to January 2011, and Kerry and I (Dan was much faster) started out in the dark to see how these next 13.1 miles would go. Having never run more than 10 miles in training, I fretted about how the last 3.1 miles would be and how my body would react. I kept telling myself that it is only a 5K left to go, I have run them before, and I can do it now (trying to convince myself that I hadn't just run 10 miles.)

I got to 11.5 miles and I saw the big overpass looming ahead and thought wow...this is going to be hard, how am I actually going to do this. Then...I saw our Team cheering us on. I needed that. I wanted that. And as you can tell from the picture...I hugged Deb with all of the energy I could muster, and she did the same.

That hug got me over than dreaded incline, got me through Epcot, and got me around the turn to the finish line. What did I see there at the turn...more Team All Cheers, and Dan holding his medal (told you he was faster!) Seeing our team, and that hug from Deb pushed me through to the end. I did it...I ran a half marathon (with Kerry by my side the entire time.)

Team All Ears was such a wonderful group of supportive persons and while most of us never met in person until marathon weekend, I felt I knew them all. I am really looking forward to being part of the team next year...they have become my running family.



Mary Jean Kancel

When I joined Team AllEars 2011, little did I know the amazing journey I was about to undertake. As a first time runner the advice, insight, and encouragement from experienced runners on the team was invaluable. It was reassuring to learn other team members new to running shared the same fears and worries as me.

I had never participated in fundraising prior to this and that was as daunting as the thought of running a Half Marathon. But I learned the generosity of my family and friends was beyond anything I could have imagined. To say I reaped more from this experience than I sowed would be an understatement. It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of the team.



Gordon Harvey


Serving on Team AllEars was an honor. A privilege. First, the cause that we supported and the incredible person who supported us, Deb, made this one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done.

It really didn’t hit me until I saw three things. First was during the Half-Marathon when I ran by a couple of AllEars cheering stations. These people knew me; they called my name. I teared up! My teammates were cheering me on as I ran in support of ending breast cancer!

The second time was in the Marathon. There they were again. Up so early, they could have been snuggled in bed, warm and cozy. Yet they came out to cheer us on. Holding signs, taking pictures. My teammates, all incredible people.

But I was thunderstruck at the gathering on Saturday afternoon for photos and for Deb to put her medals on us. I looked around and saw some of the most amazing people I’ve known. All united in a singular purpose, all sharing a camaraderie that centered around a love for all things Disney and a love for life, and the extension of life through the eventual end of cancer. I felt so small compared to these giants around me. They worked tirelessly to raise money for Avon Cancer Walk, they didn’t give up, they pressed on and raised a record amount of money so that someday we will see an end to breast cancer. I will never forget that moment. I will never forget these people. And I will never forget the amazing hug that this giant of a woman gave me that day. Thank you Deb, for letting me tag along as part of this incredible group of heroes.

March 11, 2011

All About Team AllEars 2012

Team AllEars Logo

What is Team AllEars 2012?

It is nothing less than a group of friends who for the last several years have set out to do some important things with joining the fight against breast cancer at the top of their list.

Team AllEars was founded in 2009 and spent that initial year raising funds for Deb Wills' Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. By the time the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend had arrived, the team had raised over $26,000 dollars.

Beyond that the team had raised breast cancer awareness throughout the year and along the way, found themselves getting healthier and stronger as they trained for the big weekend.

In 2010 this team continued to add to their still young legacy by growing in number and, despite a challenging economy, surpassed their fund-raising total during their first year of existence.

As Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2011 approached the team worked hard, in both training and fund-raising efforts.

When the smoke had cleared the team had truly accomplished what no member could have ever dreamed they would see. The team not only surpassed the total they had raised their first year but had come oh so close to doubling that figure. Later in February, when all donations had been counted, the Team Raised $50,535 to fight breast cancer!

Team AllEars

Team AllEars also includes Team AllCheers who support the Team AllEars runners and their efforts by attending the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and cheering them on.

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is the culmination of all their efforts and is filled with celebratory events…meets…dinners…breakfasts, and other special get togethers to celebrate the team success and to re-energize for the upcoming year.

Beyond the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, team members join up throughout the year to run in other races around the country to enjoy friendship and support. Through the last two years the team has grown into a family with a major goal in mind.

As the team moves into its third year momentum continues to grow.
As each year comes and goes, the expectation is that at the least, the team will continue to bring breast cancer awareness to as many people as it can touch, and along the way, find themselves getting healthier and healthier as they train and run to defeat this demon Cancer.

Listen to the Live Show when we Kicked Off Team AllEars 2012!~!!

How to Join

For you to join the Team AllEars 2012 you must first be registered for one of the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races.

Secondly, you are asked to committing to raising $500 or more to Deb Wills' Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Fund, along the way raising breast cancer awareness as well.

Member Benefits

Team members will receive official AllEars Running Team Newsletters that will feature special articles along with some tips and hints on preparing for the big race.

Team members will be encouraged and welcomed to contribute to the team newsletter with questions regarding training and to share their success stories in the team blog.

Team members are encouraged to participate in the Team AllEars Facebook page (open to members only).

All team members will be invited to special team events during the 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend.

If you would like to become a member of the Team AllEars Running team please send an email to Team AllEars Co-Captain Michelle Scribner-MacLean at

Remember, the only way to run is to run with purpose.

March 2, 2011

Team AllEars Profile: Sara Rhodes

My first ½ Marathon

From the title alone, you know that I am now a half-marathoner, and I plan on doing more. This is a goal finally realized, and what a journey it has been.

I should explain my background first; it helps to set up the whole story. Growing up, my sister and I were athletes. We were encouraged by my parents to get out there and play. I joined the local swim club in grade school, and I found my true passion. I found a sport that my body was built for…speed was not my forte. I was built for distance.

I stayed stick-like until high school, where my freshman year on the varsity swim team I put on 15 pounds of muscle. I still look back at my years on the swim team as special. It was a great group of people to be around, and to this day they are some of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders. When I got my acceptance letter to the University of Illinois, my high school coach was one of the first to congratulate me. It meant the end of my swimming career and the beginning of my struggles with weight, food and working out. But I don’t think I would change my mind, even if I knew what my life would be like for the next 12 years.

I stayed thin…until junior year hit. My roommate and I moved into our apartment, and I met my future ex-husband. He graduated, had a full time career and wanted to date me. I have never had luck with guys (and still don’t)…but here was a cute guy who wanted to take me out to dinner and cook for me. On top of that, I had a car to drive back and forth to class and work. I had a boyfriend who wanted to play video games and watch movies. And I settled. The weight continued to pile on over the next few years as real life begin.

Life was fast food for lunch, take out for dinner, oversized portions of food when we did make food at home. I found myself looking into the mirror and not recognizing the person looking back. After a particularly fattening holiday season, I had it. I stopped looking at the scale at 185 pounds, and I know I probably hit at least 190. For a girl that was 120 pounds of pure muscle just a few years earlier, it was depressing. 2007 needed to be the year of change. Little did I know what that meant until later.

I started to get kind of serious about my health…and then…

Life got way to serious. My then husband started acting strange. He wasn’t happy, and I didn’t know how to fix it. To this day I don’t know if I could have fixed it. He stopped talking to me, despite my every attempt to get him to talk. My best friend now looked at me like I was his enemy. For months I fought to save my marriage. He promised to try too, but in the end he didn’t.

Following my sister’s wedding, I took a solo trip to Disneyland. It would be my first trip to DL, as well as my first solo trip.

I spent a Monday – Friday in Disneyland, exploring Walt’s dream. I looked in every hotel, walked through every store, and rode every open ride. While I spent a lot of time texting and calling my family and friends, but for the most part it was me and my thoughts in the Happiest Place on Earth. How amazing was that feeling when I said “self, what do YOU want to do next?” Compromise was not necessary, it was just me. Every day my confidence in my ability to be out on my own grew.

3 pm on Jan 4th, at the age of 26, I was divorced. I spent that weekend in front of the tv, barely eating. I don’t like to miss meals, so after two days of that I decided to pick myself up, head to work. Work was a great way to escape the feelings, and became my safe haven. June of that year I bought my own house, and life really felt like it was getting back to a positive place. I learned to live on my own (and that, by the way, is the best advice my cousin Tracey gave me!)

Since then, life has only gotten better. I still work for the athletic department, I still love my house. My sister had a baby, and my niece is the greatest kid ever. Still, something was missing.

I continued to lose weight, and hit about 140 late in 2009. My goal weight was 130, and I struggled to get past the 140 mark. Something had to change, and not just my eating and drinking habits.

I couldn’t tell you when I got the crazy idea to run a half marathon. I think I was in college, probably about the same time that I decided I wanted a tattoo. (Yes, I do have one! it is on my left wrist, and it is the Chinese symbols for Inner Strength).

A friend from work needed a 4th person to run on her Marathon Relay for the Illinois Marathon in Champaign. For the next four months, I trained. I didn’t have a drop of coke. I mostly resisted sweets and fatty foods. And those last 10 pounds came off.

There are a lot of comparisons between swimming and running. Yes, it can be a team sport, but ultimately it is just you, staring at the bottom of a pool, running to the beat of your own feet on the pavement. It is just you and the clock. I found one of the feelings that I had been missing…

I was hooked after that first race. 5k races kept me busy over the summer, and I used them as an excuse to travel. I decided that I survived a 7 mile run, I could double that. I wanted my first half marathon to be amazing, so I chose to make a trip to the Disney World Marathon weekend.

My First ½ Marathon: Running for a Purpose

Reading all that I could on the Disney Marathon Weekend, I quickly became overwhelmed. In talking to Dad about possibly using their DVC points, Mom decided she wanted to go with me and walk the 5k. I felt better knowing someone would be there with me, and I signed us up for the 5k. Shortly after, I came across information about Team AllEars.

I decided to join up with the group. I might as well raise money for a great cause while training; it would be an extra motivation. A private group on facebook was set up for the team, and I got to know everyone by friending them. Over the last several months, I have followed everyone’s training, learned about them and their families, and most importantly, had their support.

Veterans helped us rookies out with information and suggestions, and we all swapped information about everything from what music we listen to on our training runs to tips about injuries. I felt like I knew many of them well before we met. Many teammates hit their $500 goal well before the races, and with the support of friends and family, I got to $540 at the beginning of December.

Training went well, until December. Turns out, December 2010 had some of the highest snowfall and coldest temps in recorded history, and that makes for tough training conditions. The treadmill and I have our differences, and by the end of December, I hated it. With a passion. (Teammate Mandy calls it the “dreadmill”.)

I didn’t train nearly long enough, and my mileage quickly slipped below where it should be. I knew that this first ½ marathon was going to be rough, but I kept up the positive attitude. The best advice from one of my bosses (who is also a cross country coach)- “Just finish. It is your first, you can use it as a base for you next runs”. I struggled with eating and drinking properly, and 5 lbs quickly were put back on over the month of December.

Finally, it was time to leave for Disney. Mom and I are veterans at traveling, and we know Disney better than home. We headed over to ESPN Wide World of Sports from Saratoga Springs and picked up our packets. I loved WWofSports, I hope to head back there to visit and watch a game or two someday. Everything was well directed, and after about 2 hours we had our packets, free samples and all kinds of info on other races and running gear. Dinner at Cap’n Jacks (turns out you CAN eat healthy in Disney!) and then a bit of shopping before we headed back to the room.

The 5k wake-up call was 4:30 am for a 7 am race. 5500 runners and walkers were ready to go in the pre-race area. Disney had a nice set up, with bag checks, a DJ and concessions. Mom and I wandered around before eventually taking our places in the corrals. Buzz and Woody were on hand to start the race, and fireworks went off as runners headed out. It was an untimed fun run, so I used it as a pre-race warm up.

I used the first mile to warm up and get used to the feeling of pavement under my feet. Once we headed from the back stage area into the EPCOT World Showcase, I was able to relax and enjoy the run and view. The sun was just coming up over the countries, and it was fun to see characters in various pavilions. The final turn to the finish line had Team AllEars/AllCheers lined up and yelling loudly.

I had a Buzz and Woody medallion placed around my neck, and I felt good. 3 miles felt like nothing, and I just got to run though EPCOT. I introduced myself to a few teammates and got a big hug from Deb before finding mom and heading back for showers and breakfast. We headed out to Hollywood Studios for a few hours, with lunch at Mama Melrose. I headed back to the room for a bath and a nap, and decided to relax and rest. I chatted with an aunt and sister, and watched crappy tv. Being bored helped to slow everything down so I could focus on what I was about to do.

Sleep came surprisingly easy, but nothing can really prepare you for a 2:40 am wake up call. I had everything lined up and ready to go, and I was at the bus stop by 3 am. Around 4 am I was able to meet up with other teammates who were running the half, and it was great to finally say hi in person. Talking to them kept me calm. Thanks, mates.

After a long walk from the pre-race area to the start line with 27,000 other runners, I was ready. I found myself doing some of the same ‘shake offs’ that I used to do before my swim races. They could have put a starting block in front of me, I would have used it. I was in the 4th wave of runners, and we were started off with fireworks. The first 5.5 miles felt great. But the run though MK was magical, and there were a TON of people cheering. The next 2.5 miles until mile 8 felt good, and after the half way point my mentality shifted from first half to second half.

Somewhere between miles 8 and 10, I started to hurt. I was hungry and felt a little dehydrated, so I used the Clif Bar stop and water stops to walk and try to regain my energy. Miles 10-12 were brutal. I think I cursed them with every word in the book. The course was flat until after mile 10, then there were two overpasses to climb. Those of us from central Illinois are not used to any kind of hills at all, so they were a bit of a struggle.

Thankfully, right before that second overpass, Team AllCheers was there to get my spirits back up. PERFECT place to cheer, thanks again mates!


Once over the final overpass, Spaceship Earth loomed in the distance. Finally, a point in the distance that meant the end. The final 1.1 miles were amazing, running through future world in EPCOT and past a gospel choir to the finish where thousands were cheering loudly (and Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing on my IPod)… it made it worth it. The training, the dreadmill, sore muscles and knee pains, the fundraising,…worth it.

Later that afternoon was the official team meeting that most of the team was able to attend. I was so glad to finally, FINALLY meet everyone. Deb gave a great speech, and Mike, Michelle and the rest of the ‘buds’ got their much deserved recognition. Jamison made a CD with running music, picked from various people’s running list discussed on our chat board.

Deb gave us all an additional medal. But the most amazing moment was the final tally… of nearly $47 thousand dollars raised. The money raised goes to a great organization, and now those who suffer from this deadly disease will have the help they need to fight.

Dinner at Trails End was good, but the company was amazing. Mike and his wife Joelle, Julie, Deb…it was like we were all old friends. The bus to the main part of the complex to hop in Mike and Joelle’s car had a few other teammates to chat up. I was sad that the evening had to end, but many of them had to get ready for another early start for the full marathon. Mom and I headed back into the room to pack and get ready for our early 4 am wake up call.

Running is amazing, but the experiences that come along with running are what make it all worth it. I have met some amazing people, and I hope to run alongside all of them again.
Thank you to all of my Team AllEars mates who cheered, encouraged and kept me otherwise from going crazy. Thank you to all of you who donated to this amazing cause. This last year has been one amazing ride; I hope that 2011 is even better.

February 27, 2011

Team AllEars 2012 Live Show

LIVE Podcast, February 28, 2011

Team AllEars Logo

Team AllEars® will be broadcasting LIVE on Monday, February 28 at 8 P.M. ET.

AllEars Founder Deb Wills, Team AllEars® Running Co-Captains Michelle Scribner-MacLean and Mike Scopa will be joined by team members Evelyn DeLuccia and Dominic Abram to talk about WDW's Marathon Weekend and to answer your calls.

Team AllEars

This broadcast will be heard LIVE on MouseWorldRadio and will be available later for download on AllEars. You can also join in our chat room:

February 25, 2011

Team AllEars Profile: Chris

by Team AllEars Member Chris Mushrush

If someone would have asked me in January of 2010 that I would run a half marathon a year later, I would have laughed in their face and questioned their sanity. Even when I was “in shape” back in the Stone Age when I was an athlete in high school and as a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy, I struggled mightily on anything more than 400 yards.

I found myself at 37 years of age, grossly overweight, and fairly sedentary. Add to that a family history (both sides of the family) with heart disease and…yeah, it’s easy to see why I thought that there was no way I’d ever do a long distance run.

In the back of my mind, though, I remembered hearing a person by the name of Michelle Scribner-MacLean appear on an episode of the WDW Today podcast, and, in passing, mentioned something about “Team AllEars”. For some reason, that random episode stuck with me, even though I really didn’t know much about the Team (it may have been the “Boom Boom Pow” playing in the background during part of the episode…that was the theme song for the 2010 Team).

The 2010 Marathon weekend came and went, and I read the accounts via Twitter and Facebook of some of the experiences with the weather. I then listened to an episode of Gordon Harvey’s Running To Disney Podcast, where he played call-ins about the race. About 15 minutes in,

I hear Holly Beck Aulen report about being a member of Team AllEars and doing the Dopey race. Then I heard a very inspirational report from Byron Hall, who completed his first half. A couple of race reports later, I hear Jorge Romero talk about joining the Team and his training for his first half. I distinctly remember playing back several of these race reports to listen to all that was being said. Some of these people sounded kind of like me, and they were able to do it.

While I have always halfheartedly had running a marathon on my bucket list, I never put any thought whatsoever to actually make a move towards accomplishing that. Hearing the reports coming in from the 2010 Marathon Weekend, however, got me thinking that perhaps doing something like this could be within my reach.

After letting it sit on the back burner for a few weeks, the idea of participating in a race started creeping back into my mind, and, in late March, I decided to hop over to the high school track in my back yard and see what one mile felt like after an 18 year hiatus. I walked almost all of it, but I was under the 16:00 pace that Disney requires you have for their races.

Soon afterward, I noticed that Michelle had posted something online about a live call-in event for Team AllEars. Curiosity got the better of me, and I contacted her about following the team and seeing what needed to be done to be a part of the 2012 team (I had assumed that the 2011 team had already been assembled, and I had no intention of running this year). She informed me that the team was just getting set up and that there was plenty of room if I wanted to be a part of the team. I decided to listen to the call-in show before making a decision.

Deb Wills started off the show with the reason the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer was so important to her – up to this point, I never realized that she is a breast cancer survivor. The story of her battle, her beating the odds, and her perseverance to do whatever she could to help out hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. While nobody on my side of the family has ever had to experience breast cancer, both sides of my wife’s family has done so, and both went through the treatments in the past few years. I made the decision to sign up before I could second-guess myself.

And so I became a member of Team AllEars 2011.

Team AllEars Logo

I was definitely nervous – partially about being a new runner in the online presence of some darn good athletes. My fears were allayed in no time as the veteran runners of team took plenty of time helping the multitude of new runners. After picking out a training regimen, I started working on getting some weight off and getting some miles in. I noticed several surprised glances and restrained laughs from many people when I told them I was going to try to run my first half marathon.

I had about 30 weeks before the race, and I knew I was going to need nearly all of them for training. 13.1 miles seemed such a long distance, and I was barely able to do 2. Still, as suggested by most everyone, I slowly increased the mileage by ½ to 1 mile a week until I got to 6 miles. The weight was starting to come off (I was down about 17 pounds after about 3 months), and the pace was starting to come down.

It was about this time-frame that I started the fund-raising efforts for the Team. Initially, I wanted my goal to be $1,000 (never mind the fact that money was very tight across the nation). I revised my lofty goal to $500 after having raised $70 with only 3 months to go. Still, as a member of the team (Jamison) said, every dollar is 1 dollar more than we had before! As I made it to double-digits in training, I started to get more confident in finishing the race and less confident in making the fund-raising goal.

Then came the month of December.

In the last month of fund-raising, the outpouring of support reached a level that, to this day, still leaves me speechless. Donations came in from places that I never imagined! From a former student to our daycare provider; from breast cancer survivors to a childhood friend currently battling her own disease; from the Postmaster of my small hometown to a fantastic group of online freaks who used to hang out and have fun at the same boards; from colleagues at work to hometown friends; and from family members to a family I met but one time in passing in the Disney World parks last June, the contributions totaled well over the $500 goal.

The confidences again switched…due in part to weather and in part to sickness 2 weeks before the race, I was really getting nervous about successfully completing the half. Though I had run 13 miles once before (in November), the longest run I could complete in the month prior to the race was 11 miles (with significant leg cramping at the end), and I was still a bit weak as Marathon Week arrived.

My wife, Sheri, and I flew down on Thursday and hit the Expo to get all the race materials. It was about this time that the realization hit me that I was actually going to try doing this.

The first major highlight of the weekend was the first Team meet-up at YeeHaw Bob over at the Port Orleans Riverside resort. There, I finally got to meet people I have known online for months actually in-person for the first time. It was fitting that the first people we saw were Michelle and Mike – the team Captains. We sat with Stephanie and her friend, Debbie that evening. I was beyond ecstatic when Deb arrived and went around to all the tables – I finally got to meet this amazing woman who has impacted the lives of so many people on multiple fronts. While my wife might argue that seeing me try to do YMCA in front of everyone was the highlight of the night (I tried staying off to the side of the stage, but I got pushed to the very middle next to Mike, who stands a good 6-8 inches taller than me), my highlight most definitely was meeting Deb.

Friday was to be a relatively slow day for us, and I tried to get to sleep by 10 pm for the 2:45 wake-up call. Expecting to get absolutely no sleep due to nerves, I managed a good 3+ hours of fairly restful sleep. The alarm went off, and I was out the door by 3:00. As I walked to the buses at Port Orleans French Quarter, I met up with a woman also preparing for the race. She had somewhat of a resemblance to another Team AllEars member, so I asked her if she was on the Team. She wasn’t, but she knew exactly what the Team was and was excited for what we were doing. THAT was an awesome way to start off the day.

The bus got me to the Epcot lot around 3:30, and I mulled around and took in the sights and sounds of all that was going on in the staging area. As I talked with some of the Team members before the group picture, I could feel the electricity and the excitement all around me.

I took the opportunity to add the names of my wife’s cousin and aunt to Shawn and Jodie Moffett’s banner, which had dozens of names of people we were running on behalf of. As we waited, we mingled with the WDW Radio’s running team (and I even got to meet Beci Mahnken that morning!). After the pictures and motivational pep talk from Deb, we all started to head out for the long walk to the corrals.


Several of us were assigned to Corral F (Julie, Melanie, Erwin, Heather, Mike, Shawn, and me), so we all made the 20 minute walk together, and we all got to know each other better during this time. Since I was running with another friend, we wished each other good luck when we reached the Corral and parted ways. Once I found my friend, we made our way up the Corral to find the rest of the Team, but I couldn’t find them.

I’ve seen videos of the start of the race, but I cannot put the actual experience into words. The characters…the jets of flame…the fireworks all around us…it was jaw-dropping!!! We crossed the start line, and my friend, Maureen, let me dictate the pace. I had been training for a 14:00-14:30 pace, with a 3:00/1:00 run/walk ratio. This pace and ratio worked out really well for the area I was in; since it was crowded, we wouldn’t be able to run much faster without doing a lot of weaving around early on, but we weren’t being passed by everyone.

A little over a half-mile in, I see Team members (and sisters) Melanie and Julie pass us by, which meant I went past the group in the Corral before the start! A little ways past the 1 Mile marker, the Team AllCheers squad had a spot set up, and they were absolutely insane!!! They were clapping, ringing those cowbells, calling out people by name…AWESOME! I gave many in the group a “running five” as we went by and set in for the rest of the run to the Magic Kingdom.


The pace was pretty much right on target for the first few miles, and the excitement progressively ratcheted up as we approached the Ticket & Transportation Center. Disney had entertainment set up every so often to keep the motivation up, and the crowds swelled as we got closer to the Magic Kingdom. I made a mistake as we went under the water bridge near the Contemporary resort…as I ran, I was hitting the pavement really hard instead of taking smaller, lighter steps, and, at around the 5 Mile marker (before entering Magic Kingdom), my right quad started getting pretty sore. I was dealing with that as we entered Town Square, so I was a bit distracted, until the turn onto Main Street, USA towards the Hub.

The spectators were packed on the road to our left, and they were having a ball cheering for everyone! As we made it to the hub, I started looking for the Team AllCheers spot where Sheri would be at. I looked but couldn’t find her, so I found who I thought was staff member Barrie Brewer and stopped momentarily for a “memorable” introduction (“Are you Barrie? Good! I’m Chris…do you know where my wife’s at???”) I found Sheri near the bridge to Tomorrowland, and we talked for a minute and got a couple of pictures. Stephanie was just a few feet away, so I got to wave to her as we passed by. The fascination that goes with running through the Magic Kingdom allowed me to temporarily forget about my ever-throbbing quadriceps…I even had goosebumps as the trumpeters heralded my arrival to pass through Cinderella Castle.


I passed another team member in Frontierland, Tom, who, while not moving at the moment, gave the thumbs-up that he and his wife, Molly, were doing fine. Maureen and I headed off-stage, and, with the excitement of the Magic Kingdom behind us, the quad pain made itself known again.

At the halfway point, I pulled out my phone to check my pace and noticed that my text inbox was nearly full. I started deleting texts during one of my walking intervals when I heard someone nearby hollering at me to “put the phone away and get running!!!” Tom and Molly had to pass me at that very instant when I had the phone out (I had the phone out for less than 10 minutes the entire race). That ended up becoming a running joke between us the rest of the weekend (no pun intended).

A little before the 7 mile mark, we caught back up with Melanie and Julie, and we chatted for a brief moment. Some walking stretches seemed to help my quad a little, so we bumped up the pace a bit, and we did mile 8 at a 14:20 pace and mile 9 at a 14:32 pace – my 2 fastest miles. The quad then started tightening up a bit again, and the pace slowed considerably, with the throbbing combined with a bottleneck where the course was reduced to 1 lane of traffic.

Much of the 11th mile consists of the off-ramp from World Drive to Epcot Center Drive. I heard horror stories about this one, so we took it slow until I thought we were done, and then we picked it back up. The only problem was that we were not quite half-way up the incline yet. With the vast majority of the crowd walking now, we try pushing it a bit and weaving around a little; that decision was a costly one as my left calf tightened up. We immediately slowed down in the hopes that I could avoid a full-blown cramp.

Just past the 11 mile marker was the Team AllCheers squad, still out there and still as loud as ever. Helen Norlund’s husband was catching as many Team members for a picture and got a good one of Maureen and me. Though Deb wasn’t running the half, she had to have exerted just as much energy from all the constant cheering and jumping…that was a great sight to see at this point. I could tell that many of the other runners around us were feeding off of the enthusiasm from the cheering squad.


With only 1.5 miles to go, it seemed like this was in the bag. One of my Corral F Team members, Heather, caught up with me, and we talked a bit as we neared the 12 mile marker. At mile 12, though, the left quad tightened up on me. I wished Heather good luck for the last mile and started figuring out how to finish with both quads and a calf hurting. I threw out the 3:1 run:walk interval and switched to a “run when you can and then walk for a minute” strategy.

When we made the turn at the tree in Epcot, the realization hit me that this was actually going to happen. I was hobbling, but I knew I could crawl the last 600 yards if need be. Just before the 13 mile marker we saw Maureen’s family, and we waved with big smiles on our faces. Sheri was about 150 yards from the finish line, so we looked for her and gave even bigger smiles as we passed her. There it was…THE FINISH LINE!!!! We picked up the pace a bit…and both quads and the left calf seized up on me (ARGH)! I was not going to walk across the finish line, so I bit my lip and almost hopped across.

The moments that followed were almost surreal. I remember hugging Maureen and talking to the volunteer who presented me with the medal. I also remember staring at the medal for several minutes after she placed it around my neck. Other than that, well, it was pretty much a blur. I caught up with Tom and Molly as well as another Team Member, Julie Olson, who were all waiting for transportation back to the resort.


I thought the day could not get any better than it already was; I could not have been more wrong on that prediction. Later on in the day during the Team AllEars meet-up, I got to talk to a bunch of the members and have a good time with them. My only real regret I have from the weekend was that I was unable to meet all of the Team. There were several that I knew were there, but there just wasn’t enough time to talk to all of them.

As the main meet started, we got to hear some heart-felt speeches from Deb, Michelle, Mike, and other coordinators of the team. When it came time for the reveal of the total amount raised at that time, Deb gave us one number at a time. At the #?6,667 reveal, I was really happy in my assumption that we broke $35,000…until I saw that the hidden number was not a 3…it was a 4!!! Very few eyes were dry at that point, and I saw Mike, without a word, simply put his arm around Michelle for a well-deserved congratulatory hug.

Deb surprised us all with special “Team AllEars” medals, and I honestly am just as proud of that medal as I am of the one signifying the completion of the half. Probably one of the greatest moments came on Sunday when we were on a bus and sitting next to a couple of families who were talking about the distance events. They saw my medals and recognized the one in the shape of Donald. When they saw the Team AllEars one, though, one of the women’s faces perked up and asked if I was a member of the Team. When I smiled and answered in the affirmative, she started talking excitedly to everyone else about Deb, her site, and our team and what we were doing this weekend. The recognition of our Team is out there, and I am as proud as one can be to have the honor of being a part of this group of people.

Marathon Weekend will forever be etched in my memory. I ran for myself for the experience. I ran for my family so that I may start down the path to a healthier lifestyle and be around for them for a long time. I ran for Deb. I ran for Cathy Carney and for Mary Bargmann. I ran for friends and for many, many others who have battled or are battling breast cancer. And, yes, I hope to continuing running for all these people for years to come.

If anyone is considering running their first distance event and/or becoming part of the team but unsure if they can do it, please use this as a springboard to do it; if I can do it, anyone can!


February 20, 2011

Team AllEars Profile: Julia's Story

By Team AllEars Member --Julia Mascardo

Near the end of May 2010, I heard some words that no pregnant woman really wants to hear: emergency c-section. The baby was fine, but I was a mess: gestational diabetes, blood pressure spikes and elevated protein levels from preeclampsia, edema, and the list went on. After complications in the c-section itself, I was put on medication that would hopefully prevent me from having seizures. If I had a seizure in the first 24 hours, I would have them for the rest of my life. Thankfully, everything came together and within a few days, I was at home with my little girl.

My husband had been training for the half marathon with Team AllEars for a few months at this point (probably to get out of the house away from my pregnancy complaints!), and I was amazed and inspired by his progress. I knew that there was no way that I would be able to run a half marathon in 7 months, especially given that I had never been a runner in my life, but the 5K sounded fun and a great way to show that I could go from death bed to doing something healthy in less than a year.


Once I got the all-clear from the doctor, training began in earnest with a couch-to-5K plan. With the inspiration of awesome teammates and my personal goal (to finish the race), I made huge steps forward. Going down for the race weekend was incredible. Everywhere I went, I saw people from the team. It was one giant extended family. My race was first, and although the 5K is closed to spectators for 90% of the race, seeing the whole team right as I came out of Epcot was wonderful. It also helped to run into team members in the corral before the race. There’s something great about having someone who has “been there, done that” able to help calm the nerves of us newbies!

That afternoon was my more-or-less crawling kid’s diaper dash. The next day was cheering my husband and more team members in the half marathon. Who thought that standing in a median strip at painfully early in the morning could be so much fun? Next, there was a morning of cheering for the full marathon (and Goofy and Dopey) runners from the castle hub. Finally, a team breakfast with lots of stories and tears.

Unless you’ve been through it, there isn’t any way to describe how exceptional the experience is when you are part of such an amazing team. And although life schedules won’t permit us to be there for 2012, you can bet that I’ll be one of the virtual cheerleaders for the team. If you’re on the fence about doing something like this, maybe because (like me), you don’t really think you’re a runner, go for it! You’d be amazed what you can do with such a supportive group. Need one more reason? Remember, this is also good work for a great cause, too!


January 4, 2011

UPDATED: Reluctant Runner Sidelined

by Michelle Scribner-MacLean

Sometimes you do everything right: you train, you plan, you eat right….on paper everything looks good as you prepare for your race…but something goes wrong. Sadly, that’s what happened to me and, as we approach Disney’s Marathon Weekend, I’ve spend a bit of time feeling sorry for myself, but also have pushed myself to keep things in perspective.

After three years of feeling like I was “runner-ish” versus a real runner, in the year 2010 I found myself making great strides (pun intended) in my running. I ran three half marathons (and had a personal record), did a 10K, and a few 5Ks. I spent the summer cross training, adding biking, tennis, and strength training to my regimen. I also worked through a pesky IT band problem and found myself in the best shape ever and ready and excited to meet Team AllEars and to run my 5th half marathon.

With 10 days to go, things started to go downhill. At the end of a 6 mile run, I found that my foot was aching. This was unusual, as I’ve never had any foot problems at all. I rested and then a few days later went out for a short run…and that is when I knew something was really wrong. Sharp pains in my foot. Not good.

One of the things that I never bargained for when I started running was the fact that I would gain a whole community of wonderfully supportive running pals…. Running folks are very supportive in general (in my experience), but combine this with Disney-loving folk and, let’s just say you’ve got the makings for a very helpful and supportive group…and this is where they come into the story. I shared my concerns with a few people on Team AllEars. Up until this point my plan had been to rest and run my ½ as planned, but my running peers urged me to get it checked out at the doctor….just to be on the safe side. Thank you Amanda, Deb, Jamison, and Mike…this turned out to be a very good idea.

To make a very long story short, I quickly found out that I had a stress fracture and that it had been there for a while. When I asked why I hadn’t felt any pain before, the doctor said that sometimes with this injury it just feels ok until… BAM…one day it doesn’t. He also said that if I’d run with this fracture I might have done permanent damage to my foot. He said no running for at least six to eight weeks.

I’m not going to lie. I left the doctor’s office feeling very sorry for myself. One year’s worth of training and now… no ½ marathon with my friends, no 5K with my son Liam, and no walking around Walk Disney World. I allowed myself a bit of a cry and to feel sorry for myself, but then I pulled myself together and put things into perspective.

Team AllEars is running to raise money to support people who have real problems: breast cancer. I have been sidelined, but I know that I will heal and be out there on the road running with my buddies again very soon. There will be other Disney races, but I need to keep in mind those who can’t run for themselves, who can’t raise money for themselves, those who struggle every day to fight against cancer.

So…as I approach race weekend, I’m no longer feeling sorry for myself and I’m content with my new roll….to take my place alongside Team AllCheers and support my wonderful Team AllEars members who are raising money for a courageous group of people who are fighting a horrible disease.

If you’d like to support Team AllEars, please visit the following link:

Last year the team raised over $26,000. Let’s see if we can join together and do more this year.

As for me…
I promise you all, I’ll be out there training again soon and will join you next year.

UPDATE: Well, I learned another lesson as a runner: sometimes the first opinion isn't the correct opinion. After I'd been sidelines, I asked to see a specialist, who told me that I have something common in runners -- a neuroma (painful growth on nerve tissue). I was given a simple orthotic, told to take some pain killers, and given the best news...that I could safely run with my team without doing further damage.

I had made peace with not running, but am happy that I'm going to be able to give it a shot.

You can follow members of Team AllEars by clicking on the link below:

Please wish us luck!

April 15, 2010

Join Team AllCheers!

Are you not quite ready to commit to running the Disney 5K/Half Marathon/Marathon but want to support Team AllEars and Deb Wills’ fight against Breast Cancer?

NEW in 2010, join Team AllCheers!
No pom pons required, just some spirit…

What is Team AllCheers?
• Comprised of family/friends of Team AllEars, members and friends of, and the Disney community, Team AllCheers members will support the Team AllEars runners while enjoying camaraderie and a common charitable goal.

Why should I join Team AllCheers?
• Attend marathon weekend and cheer with other Team AllCheers members during the races. It’s more fun to cheer with friends! Advice regarding Disney transportation, viewing locations etc will be provided. Team AllCheers will help you plan and navigate the busy weekend.
• Can’t make it to marathon weekend? Team AllCheers helps you support Team AllEars from home (instructions on following racers on line, sending good wishes etc)
• Team logowear will be available for purchase- Show your team spirit on marathon weekend and to support your favorite Team AllEars runners (details to follow).
• If you would like to raise money to help Deb Wills’ fight against Breast Cancer (support specific team members or raise money on behalf of Team AllCheers), pointers will be given through ongoing updates.
• Participate in discussions about supporting your friend/family during training (you know you live with someone training for the Disney marathon when…)
• If all this fun has given you the running bug too, now what? Advice for new runners as well.

How do I join Team AllCheers?
Joining Team AllCheers is simple! Join the Facebook Group by searching for Team AllCheers.
The Facebook Group will be filled with discussion groups and event updates.

What if I am not a Facebook member (and don’t intend to be), can I still join?
Yes, you are welcome to be part of Team AllCheers and will receive updates via email. The email updates will feature the highlights of the Facebook discussions. Join Team AllCheers by emailing

What is required of me to be on Team AllCheers?
Being a member of Team AllCheers is a commitment of support. Promoting Team AllCheers both by “word of mouth” and through social networking sites helps promote both Team AllEars and their fundraising efforts. The more involved you are in Team AllCheers, the more fun you will have and the bigger impact you can make on the fight against Breast Cancer.

Questions? Email

The Team AllCheers Facebook page is a family oriented page and welcomes all fans. Any post deemed to be inappropriate will be deleted.

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About Team AllCheers

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Team AllEars® Running Blog in the Team AllCheers category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Running with Mickey is the previous category.

Team AllEars is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.