Note from Andi: Long-time readers will remember that Sarah Kate first completed the mile at Walt Disney World during the Princess Weekend three years ago. The race brought her a lot of unexpected attention (and led to her appearing in a promotional video for RunDisney). We went back recently for her to try again, and I’ve asked her to tell you about it from her perspective.
On February 25th, my mom, Nathan, our friend, and I found ourselves at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports, waiting for the Kids’ Mile to start. We were both tired, and my mom didn’t feel well, but I was still ecstatic. I had been training for two months to prepare myself for this race. I had worked hard to get to where I could finish the race without canes or my wheelchair. I was confident that I could do it, and I had shopped for merchandise at the race expo (check out my hat), which somehow boosted my confidence more.
My brother and I were doing this race together, (or so I thought) but we still had a friend of ours, Steve, stick with me while my mom stuck with my brother. The race started, and Nathan decided Sissy was going too slow and sprinted forward. So we were off, sticking behind because the crowd of rambunctious children was quite frightening.
I planned a playlist for the race weeks in advance, but didn’t use it at all during the race. I chatted with Steve about musical theatre and band, and I think he enjoyed talking with me as much as I did him. We did listen to the announcer, Carissa, but there was an annoying echo on the race course that made it nearly impossible to hear anything she was saying. Photographers kept me smiling towards the end, and I gained a little more speed.
This wonderful eagerness was however, cut short. When we had less than a quarter of a mile left, I turned to Steve. “I might need my canes. I’m tired.” He wouldn’t let me have them. I’m thankful for this. If he had just handed them to me, as any of my peers would have done, I would not have finished the race without assistance.
People had gathered by the finish line to cheer me on, and a couple of people even came away from the crowd and were walking alongside me on the other side of the fence. Carissa came up to me and asked my name, and when I told her, her face lit up. “I know you!” She even told the crowd that I had done many races before this one, and “If any of you doing the half marathon tomorrow think about giving up, just remember this lady right here!” I felt like crying, seeing everyone watching me and cheering. I began to walk faster again, my heart pounding with excitement.
I did it. I was exhausted, but I did it and I was smiling. I crossed the finish line, my cheeks hurting because I was smiling for so long, and my legs wobbling from stress. I had a time of 37 minutes, which is a good bit slower than I’ve done the Disney Mile before, but the course was tough and it was the first time I’ve completed it without any assistance at all, and I still carry the pride with me today.
I have done seven Disney Kids Races in my life, but unfortunately my streak is now over. I’ll be too old to participate in the Disney Mile in the future, but I loved this one last time. However, I am going to reach toward my new ambition of, first, two miles, and then a 5K, which is 3.1 miles. In a year, I hope to be even stronger than I was a few weeks ago. Maybe one day I’ll be able to go back to Walt Disney World and participate in their 5K.