FSU Student Finishes Disney Princess Half Marathon

On Feb. 26, at 2:30 a.m., Bobcat Nicole Leighty boarded her shuttle to be taken from her resort to the start line. It wouldn’t be until almost 6:30 that her corral for the Disney Princess Half Marathon race was released to begin the course.

Leighty started with the half marathon weekend in 2015 as a Disney College Program participant, as she was assigned to all three shifts for the 5K, 10K, and the half marathon. While she was there on her program she was deployed to work at ESPN Wide World of Sports who coordinates most of the race with runDisney.

She ran in her first half marathon the year following her program. For that weekend, she ran in the 5K with a friend, then had a day off, then ran in the half marathon alone. This year she ran with her sister and her childhood best friend. All three finished in under three hours.

The race weekend is considered one of Disney Worlds busiest weekends because of the crowd that is drawn in. For the half marathon alone, there were 24,000 runners that crossed the finish line.

The weekend consists of several different races which leads to all different types of people in the races. People travel from all over the country to be a part of this weekend.

Not only do people travel to be in just the Disney Princess Half Marathon, but Disney hosts an abundance of other race weekends that end up being on the list to complete different challenges. The princess race is on the list for a few of the challenges including its own: The Glass Slippper Challenge. The Disney Princess Half Marathon is also a part of the Coast-to-Coast challenge Disney hosts.

Another leading factor in the attendance for the Disney Princess Half Marathon is the encouragement to dress up as your favorite princess or Disney Characters. The race is themed each year to create more encouragement for runners to dress up. This year the race was themed Beauty and the Beast due the upcoming release of the live action film. This led to a lot of runners and their families to dress up for the theme. Pictured are Leighty, her sister, and her childhood best friend dressed as  characters from The Little Mermaid.

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Upon finishing the race, each runner is awarded a gold medal that is themed  as well. This year’s medal was the rose in the case from the film Beauty and the Beast.

Each year the race adds new elements such as character stops, DJ’s, etc. The route includes running through the Magic Kingdom to eventually run through the castle, and then finishing at Epcot.

Leighty plans on continuing to race each year in order to try to improve. “It is a great weekend, and a great way to stay in shape. Running is only fun when it’s at the happiest place on earth, though!”

The race is presented by the Childrens Miracle Network Hospital and the race allows some of the proceeds to benefit the children that are being treated there.

For details about race registration and racing in 2018, check out http://www.rundisney.com/princess-half-marathon. You can also simply go on the runDisney website for all of the other races hosted on both coasts!

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