After the 2014 Princess Half Marathon, we saw a recap that exceeded all other runDisney race recaps. A young girl named Sarah Kate finished the Mickey Mile, stealing the hearts of cast members, characters, spectators and many others. (Click here to read this amazing recap!) Her inspiring story was one we wanted to learn more about, and her mother, Andi, was happy to answer a few questions we had. Even better, runDisney captured Andi and Sarah Kate’s story as one of their Why I runDisney videos! Take a look at this amazing mother and daughter, along with their truly inspiring family.
Running is clearly something your entire family enjoys! How did your running journey begin?
I began running in high school back in the 80s as a way to stay in shape, but didn’t attempt my first endurance race until I was in my 30s. My third half marathon was at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in 2007, and that experience hooked me on running Disney.
Why did you choose runDisney races?
My first Disney race I ran with a college friend of mine. We had moved away from each other and we were looking for a girls’ trip we could do together. Another acquaintance of mine happened to be running the same race, so we met up while we were in California. She’s an even bigger RunDisney fanatic than I am, and since then we’ve become great friends and do a lot of the races together.
What runDisney races have you all experienced?
It might be be easier to say which ones we haven’t! I’ve run the Disneyland Half, the Walt Disney World Marathon, Half, and Goofy, the Princess Half, 10K, and Glass Slipper, the Wine and Dine Half, the now-retired Tower of Terror 13K and Minnie 15K, and several 5K Family Fun Runs. Sarah Kate has run the 200 meter and 400 meter kids races at various RunDisney events, as well as the Princess Mile this year, and my four year old son, Nathan, has run a Disney race every year since he was born – the diaper dash his first year and the 100 meters the other years.
During her amazing Mickey Mile performance, Sarah Kate had a wheelchair close by if needed. Are there other accommodations runDisney makes?
The wheelchair we took on the course is a transport-type that we carry with us whenever we go to Walt Disney World, because she can walk independently but doesn’t have the stamina to navigate the parks. RunDisney graciously allowed us to take it onto the course, but they also let us know that if she needed it, a golf cart would be on the course that could pick her up. Taking the wheelchair on the course turned out to be a great decision, as she was able to finish the race pushing it, rather than having to be picked up.
runDisney recently released a #WhyIrunDisney video featuring Sarah Kate. Can you tell us a little more about that?
A couple of weeks after Sarah Kate’s race, I was contacted by Bob Hitchcock of the Walt Disney Company. A number of people had told him about Sarah Kate’s mile finish and urged him to contact us. About a month after the race, he and his cameraman came to our hometown and spent some time interviewing Sarah Kate and me and filming her at school and with her running club. The video is part of their #WhyIrunDisney social media campaign and will be used in a variety of ways to promote the runDisney race series.
What tips do you have for parents of special needs children if they are looking to participate in a runDisney event? (Both kids and adults!)
Just ask! If your child needs any special accommodations in order to participate, ask what, if anything, Disney can do to help. It has been our experience that they want people – ALL people! – to have a great experience, and are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that happens. The earlier you can make any special requests, the better. Not every request can be accommodated, but it never hurts to ask.
What races are you looking forward to running?
Our next runDisney event is the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November. Nathan is four now, so he will be moving up to the 200 meters kids race this time, and I will run the half marathon. Sarah Kate had major orthopedic surgery this spring and is spending the summer in rehab, so we aren’t sure how far along the road to recovery she will be by November, but the Wine and Dine Mile is one of her goals.
A BIG thank you to Andi and Sarah Kate for allowing us to interview them! We look forward to seeing them at an upcoming runDisney race!