Interview with a runDisney Runner
Did you know that Disney has running events in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and even on the Disney Cruise Line? Disney has an entire program, runDisney, that is dedicated to runners young and old, new and experienced. There are themes for every audience including Disney Princess, Star Wars, Wine and Dine, even on Disney's private island Castaway Cay. With the excitement of the Princess Half Marathon registration underway, why not find out what it is really like to partake in a runDisney event?!
1.) What is your name and age, and where are you from?
Michelle Furnas, I am 29 years old. I am from Glendale Heights, IL, a town outside of Chicago.
2.) Have you always been a runner?
I haven’t always been a runner. My senior year of college a co-worker asked if I wanted to do a walk to run program that was held on campus with a run at the end of the spring semester, and it sounded interesting so I did it. I thought it was a lot of fun, but it didn’t really stick with me until later in life.
3.) When did you start running?
I would say I started running in 2009, but had a comeback in 2013 (with runDisney) and another comeback in 2015. I have been consistently and seriously running since January 2015
4.) How many different races have you done?
Since my first race in 2009 I have completed 21 races. Ten 5K races, three 10K races, half of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2015, one 7k, one 8k, a 10 mile, and four 1/2 marathons.
5.) How did you decide to join a runDisney event?
In 2012 I found a thing about Disney doing a princess themed run taking place in February 2013. I mentioned it to a friend that liked Disney as much as I do, and before I knew it we were all signed up to go. It was myself, her, her sister and a couple of her sister’s fiends. At this point I did not know what I was getting into since the most I had ran before this was 4 miles. I did not train properly because running in the winter in Chicago is brutal. I enjoyed the race, but thought it was really hard and was so glad to be done!
6.) What was your first runDisney event?
Princess Half Marathon in 2013
7.) What different runDisney events have you done?
Princess Half Marathon 2013, Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015 (which was at night time and ending up being half of a half marathon because a storm cut the race short), Marathon Weekend 1/2 marathon 2016, the inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Weekend 2016 (completed all the races in the weekend including a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon). I also have the Dumbo Double Dare challenge coming up in September in Disneyland, and the Marathon Weekend Half Marathon in January 2017.
8.) When did you start training? How do you train?
I started with the Couch to 5k Running Plan when I first starting running. This was very helpful because it gave you walk run intervals that worked you up to running more time and more distance. After this I moved onto a 10k training plan, and then when I am 12 weeks out from a half marathon I start a half training plan. I like Hal Higdon’s training plans for half marathons, but I have used Jeff Galloway’s as well (the official training sponsor of runDisney) I love Jeff Galloway's run/walk method. I still use it as it makes me feel like I can go further and faster. I can actually run faster using run/walk than just running.
9.) What came first? A love for Disney or a love for running?
I have always liked Disney. I went a couple of times with my family as a kid, but what really sparked my loved as an adult was my cousin getting married at Disney's Wedding Pavilion when I was in high school. It was my first time going since I was a little, and it was just so memorable and such a fun trip! It kept me wanting to go back. I went a couple of times with my husband and his family as they live nearby, but I wasn’t really obsessed yet. It was the running that get me to really love Disney, and runDisney to really love running. They go hand in hand with me.
10.) What made you decide to join a runDisney event? What makes runDisney different from other events?
RunDisney is so much different than other running events. RunDisney is about having fun, dressing up, seeing characters, and running through the most magical place on earth. RunDisney is accepting of all types of runners and walkers, from first timers to elite runners.
11.) What advice do you have for someone who wants to join their first runDisney race?
My advice to new runDisney runners is to first off, have fun! Second, train properly, especially in the heat and humidity, as it could be very hot and humid in Florida. My first Disney race and I did not properly train and it was not very fun, and I suffered through the 13 miles in the heat.
12.) What is your favorite runDisney event?
The night time Wine and Dine Half Marathon has been my favorite so far even though it got cut short. It was my favorite because it was food themed and at night.
13.) I always see all the adorable outfits at RunDisney races! Do you have different outfits or costumes? What is your favorite?
Have you ever considered taking part of a runDisney event? Will runDisney make you a running fan or a Disney fan? Let us know what you think!