Running the Distance


Photo courtesy of Mr. Keith Bolstein.

Above) The finish line ended up being much less glorious than I thought. The two hour finish time on the watch was not something I took pride in, as I did not did I want to think about it. Some of the cheers from fellow runners felt like they were more out of pity than admiration, but, nonetheless, stopping every 10 minutes to meet characters (from a six foot distance) was worth the slight feeling of defeat.

Delaney Bolstein, Staff


(Above) Glistening from sweat and the morning sun, I pose with my new hardware. The actual run was very crowded (so much so that I got Covid from it), and we had to nudge our way through people to get up close to the stage. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Keith Bolstein. )
(Above) Runners eagerly waited at the start line. Because of 30 degree weather, many of them wore “throw away” clothes that they discarded on the race. These clothes are later donated to Goodwill. (Photo by Delaney Bolstein.)
(Above) While the half-marathon was not as exciting as the Disney 10k, I got a much better time, finishing under two hours. Locals stepped outside of their homes to cheer us on, and gave out quick energy boosters such as oranges. (Photo by Delaney Bolstein. )

I began running because, quite honestly, I never stuck with any other sports. I have never been competitive, nor have I had the discipline to pursue dance, so running just became something to do. It also didn’t hurt that participants can do the sport by simply stepping out of their doors. Initially, meaning basically all of Middle School, I couldn’t run two miles without stopping. I struggled with stamina and the heat. But with practice and a lot of water, my mileage slowly increased. I got fancy new running shoes to aid my running journey. Though, it wasn’t until about a year ago that I started to do distance running. My dad and my dog were running companions. They gave me the motivation to keep moving forward.

  Every weekend we tacked on more miles and improved our endurance. We ran in different places to include variety in our runs. The beach was the prettiest but avoiding washed-up jellyfish on the beach became a hindrance. The trails are good, but they require a lot of commitment since you have to run all the way back. Lake Baldwin proved to be the best. Eventually, running five miles which once seemed huge, turned into a recovery run. 

It is with this newfound skill that I signed up for the Disney 10k during the summer. The tickets sold out quickly even though the events weren’t until January. I didn’t train a lot in the months leading up to the run. When cross-country began, I had to work on faster, shorter distances. Running became a chore, and I found myself losing my love for the sport. Then, as December came, panic hit in. I needed to increase my mileage. The five-mile recovery run turned into an agonizing workout, and I struggled with keeping a consistent pace. 

Fortunately, the Disney 10k was only six miles. The actual morning of the Disney race was pretty miserable. We had to get there at 3:30 A.M. because everything needed to be cleaned up before the park opened. I set my alarm for 2:30 A.M. to get breakfast and water in, and I woke up to cold rain. The day prior, my dad and I went to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports to pick up our racing bibs, so there was little checking in when we arrived at Epcot. The pre-run festivities included a costume contest, coffee bar, and, of course, using the over 200 porta-potties. By far, the most interesting part of the race was staring at other people’s outfits. Cardboard cutouts, elaborate hats, and props put my Minnie costume to shame.

  As for the actual running, there wasn’t much. Meetups with characters including Alice, Woody, and Judy Hopps allowed for interval jogging. The six miler race we signed up for proved to be as taxing as an afternoon stroll with all the stopping. The roads in Disney ended up being the majority of the path, as there’s only so much of the parks they can section off. The Disney 10k travels through Epcot and Hollywood Studios, connected by the Disney Boardwalk, and most of our time in the parks consisted of constant photo taking. The run ended with an overly happy sprint to the finish line, and a snack pack holding all the essentials of post-run fuel: artificial cheese spread and tortilla chips. 

Overall, the Disney 10k was a fun, non-competitive, race. Certainly do not expect to PR or even get a good time, like I did. Next time, my dad and I plan to do the full marathon, as the 10k was a lot less running than we imagined. Nonetheless, the ambiance of the race made up for the lack of jogging. Personally, I would rather meet Winnie the Pooh than run another five miles.  

Now that the Disney race was over, I needed to train for my half-marathon which is 13.1 miles. I started to do four laps around Lake Baldwin and increased my mileage. There is something so beautiful about distance running: the way that it’s just your feet hitting the pavement, the way that you’re only competing against your own body, and the simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other. I always complain about the pain of it all, shin splints, bleeding toes, and sore thighs (which are absolutely valid; running is awful for your joints), but at the end of the day, I keep running.