2002 Walt Disney World Marathon Report: Jake Hartman
2002 Walt Disney
My first marathon! Running 26.2 miles! Again and again, before, during, and after the race, I heard experienced runners talk about the wonder of their first marathon: The excitement and adrenaline as you line up at the starting line; the moment of exhilaration when you realize, maybe somewhere around the 22 mile mark, "Yes, I really am going to finish!"; and finally the ultimate joy of crossing the finish line, flags waving, crowd cheering, announcer calling out your name. More than one of the mothers I'd talked to could only compare the marathon to childbirth. They were, at the time, talking about their sense of pride when all was over, but I suspect the pain involved on the way helps the simile along a bit. But as they say, the greatest victories are hard won.
Speaking of victories, I must first tell you that I ran this marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Its Team in Training program sent around 3,000 runners for this event, who raised eight point eight million dollars ($8,800,000) for this event. That money will go into research fighting leukemia and other blood-related cancers. And that is the true victory of the day. To all who contributed to my fundraising, thank you, thank you, thank you.
If you are thinking about ways to help out in the world and are also looking to get in better shape, I urge you to consider Team in Training. Its programs are very flexible, so no matter your age or athletic ability there is probably a way that you can help out. Whether you want to run, bike, do a triathlon, or simply walk, TNT helps you along the way, both in training and in fundraising. And you'd be hard pressed to find a better cause.
As for my own experience, I started out very much not a runner. A year or so ago, I couldn't run two miles without stopping midway to rest. But I joined TNT, and I trained. I had my ups, and I had my downs, most notably a strained ligament and related problems in my right foot that temporarily halted my training only two months before the marathon. For that reason, I was only able to run a maximum of a 16 mile training run. Of course, that's a good ways from the 26.2 miles demanded by a marathon, so I went in not knowing what to expect from myself physically. I was guestimating a five hour race time.
But my plane was leaving for Orlando, and there was no more time to think about training. It was now time to run.
And so my marathon adventure begins....