12 April 2012

20 magical years

This week, registration for the 20th running of the Walt Disney World Marathon opened. Among the festivities planned as part of the 20th anniversary of the race are a new medal, heightened entertainment at mile marker 20, and a Downtown Disney after party. All of these new elements, however, pale in comparison to the greatest gift the races of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (a marathon, half marathon, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Family Fun Run 5K, and a Mickey Mile), the drive to get up and move.

It seems like we are bombarded daily with reports of failing health and the ever-present epidemic of obesity. Yet, for 20 years, Walt Disney World, has set a goal for thousands upon thousands of individuals who have made the conscious decision to take pride in their healthy habits. Habits that start with the youngest of guests.

Even when I was a child, outdoor activity was the first and foremost thought on our minds when we got home, although video games were creeping into the forefront. I often had a misguided thought in my teenage and early twenties that I wanted to be younger than 30 (the age my father was when I was born) when I had my first child. It was misguided because I believed my father was unable to take part in certain activities when I was a preteen/teenager due to his age. As I’ve grown older, and maybe just a tad bit wiser, I’ve realized that it was his inactivity (a trend that he has recognized and corrected in recent years) that caused him not to be able to engage with me in athletic pursuits. With races like the Mickey Mile and Family Fun Run 5K, whole families can and do get involved with getting up, getting out, and moving. It doesn’t take running laps on a track to get into shape to run these races, but continual activity in a variety of fun, family inclusive ways. Bike rides, tag/hide and seek, swimming, homemade obstacle courses, kickball, catch, Frisbee, and any number of other activities will not only prepare the entire family for one of the shorter Walt Disney World race, but also have wonderful effects on the overall health of the family.

As adults, a sedentary lifestyle is much easier to accept. We work all day, take care of our families at night and before the sun comes up, and think we don’t have time to be active (no matter how many engaging public service announcements the NFL’s Play 60 movement releases). It doesn’t take much of a nudge to put down the sneakers and plop down on the couch. However, a nudge from a friend or a loved one can just as easily convince us to get up, get out, and get moving. Running groups, soccer teams, flag football teams, paintball or laser tag, and other team sports are the perfect way to set up a healthy groundwork for running one of the longer races held at Walt Disney World. Will team sports alone allow you to run a half or full marathon? No, but it may trick you in to pushing yourself harder and farther and eventually get you running down the road to success.

The Walt Disney World Marathon turns 20 in 2013. 20 years of helping us help ourselves. There is magic in that thought. Many of us have taken on these races simply because they include the name Disney or present us with a piece of hardware featuring a Disney character. The reasons we chose to run aren’t as important as the fact that we are running. Walt Disney World being a part of making us a healthier society is about as special as exercise can me.

You can register for any of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races, being held January 10 – 13, 2013, at the runDisney website.

1 comment:

anne said...

I would like to add myself in the WDW marathon this summer. I believe it is fun and exciting. Well, never fail to visit the Orlando Parks too.