Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Wonderful World, Indeed

My sister, Kara, and my brother-in-law, Russ, spent at least several days last week in Orlando, Florida at one of the properties christened "The Happiest Place On Earth".  To borrow a line from Mr. Springsteen, they were not in Orlando on business, they were only there for fun.  Kind of, sort of. 

Thursday, January 5 through Sunday, January 8 was the 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. According to the website, four races take place at Disney World over the course of those four days:  5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, Half-Marathon on Saturday, and a Marathon on Sunday.  A runner may elect to sign up for all four races, a feat Disney refers to as the "Dopey Challenge", which is 48.6 miles of racing.  

Russ, 58 years young and a real-life running machine, accepted the "Dopey Challenge".  He not only accepted it, he obliterated it:  26:30 in the 5K, 44:08 in the 10K, and 3:25:48 in the Marathon.  In Friday's 10K he finished in 3rd place in his age group (55-59 y/o men) and 134th overall.  On Sunday, his 3:25:48 finishing time in the marathon was good enough for 2nd place in his age group and 263rd overall.  

Stel, who is about six months away from celebrating birthday #54, signed up for Saturday's Half-Marathon.  Unfortunately, the weather in Orlando, Florida on Saturday was fit for Donald Duck but not for those of the non web-footed persuasion.  Disney cancelled the Half, which bummed Stel to no end and deprived Russ of the chance to collect yet another top-3 age group finish.  Stel, with whom I ran this past November through the streets of New York, could have simply collected her Half-Marathon Medal and called it a weekend.  She did not.  Instead, she registered on one day's notice for the Marathon.  

If you are not a runner and/or if you are not a runner who has ever tackled serious distance races, such as half-marathons, marathons, and beyond, then I shall not bore you here with the minutiae of how one trains and prepares to race at such a distance.  I will say simply this:  I have completed a half-dozen marathons in the past six-plus years and, during that same time period, I have completed at least as many half-marathons.  Never would I consider - on ONE DAY'S NOTICE - bumping up from a half-marathon to a marathon.  

I should mention parenthetically that although the powers at Disney have a name for running all of their races (Dopey Challenge) and for running the half and the full marathon back-to-back (Goofy Challenge), there is no kitschy Disney name for what Kara did (although the "Not Recommended by Doc" leaped immediately to mind).  It mattered not.  On Sunday, Stel completed her second-ever marathon, crossing the finish line in 6:35:22, which shaved approximately five minutes off of her NYC Marathon finishing time.   

A PR on a day's notice.  I have no words.  

None are necessary.  This photograph sums it all up quite nicely, thank you very much. 

Dos Bad Asses
(01/08/17) 

-AK 

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