This January was the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna.
Ready, set…run Disney! This was my first race ever at Walt Disney World and what a magical experience it was! I loved seeing families, kids, differently-abled individuals all giving their very best. At every mile maker you could take photos with your favorite Disney characters—mine is Minnie Mouse. Some people walk, others run but no matter the skill level everyone has the Disney spirit whether participating in the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Kids Races and more!
Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, named by Sports Illustrated as the “Best Female Athlete of All Time,” shared with me that the key to her success “was to show up every day.” She told me that in the beginning she wasn’t great, but practice makes perfect.
Running tips from Jackie Joyner-Kersee:
- Maintain your pace when running. Cheer on one another but stay in your zone.
- Free your mind: enjoy the run.
- Love what you do—have fun when you run.
- By showing up every day you learn great habits like: setting goals, learning to start something and finishing it.
Her secret to being injure-free is to stretch. Take a peek at her stretching routine.
Retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Cedric King shared with me words of wisdom. “Accept the challenges in life, and don’t take them as punishments.” He went on to explain that sometimes your challenges are gifts to be a better person, to inspire others, but you need to accept them first.
King stepped on an IED during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. Becoming a double amputee could have been his breaking point. Instead, he turned it into his “Making Point,” (title of his book) and is now a world-class motivational speaker and endurance athlete.
Running tips from Cedric King:
- Commitment. You have to register yourself for a race. You have to put down your name and commit yourself to a date.
- There is a lot of training when nobody is watching.
- Enjoy the process—it’s a journey and you need to enjoy it.
Cigna was the presenting sponsor for the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. They also provided free check-ups, so after the race they were able to offer an assessment of my blood pressure, cholesterol level, and weight. They also had a meditation room since they focus not just on the physical but also on mental health.
Thank you Cigna for the invitation to participate in this wonderful experience, bringing people of all abilities together to achieve their goals and live their healthiest lives. I had a blast running and learning from these inspiring individuals. Let’s do it all again soon! Who’s with me?