Well, I did it again. After a dinner with friends in November of 2007, we committed to run the Walt Disney World marathon. And, on January 9th, I completed my second marathon (the first was New York in 2006) by running 26.2 miles at Disney World. It was a fantastic event with 22,000 of my closest friends and since I have always enjoyed all things Disney, it was wonderful to be able to run through each of the parks — Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios — in 5 hours and 48 minutes of fun J. OK, so I am not setting any land speed records, but I was very proud of myself for training for over a year and being able to finish another marathon and receive the very cool Mickey medal.
As I was running—and I had PLENTY of time to think—I thought about how ShindigZ could be helping runners and their families complete these challenges that we place in front of ourselves. I find that one of the most important elements to finishing is the support of the crowd as you go through the grueling 26 miles. I was so fortunate to have Wendy fly down and surprise me on the night of the race and to be there to cheer me on throughout the race on Sunday morning — even getting up at 3 am!
I noticed that the handmade signs that spouses and children had made encouraging the runners throughout the race. I thought, “wouldn’t it be great if we had some stock runners theme banners and signs that we could offer to families that might feature the a picture of the runner and bold words of support (it’s hard to see a magic marker sign among the crowds). Here are a few ideas of what one might look like to support a runner in your family in both a yard sign and banner. I also thought our hand fans would not only be great to cheer on the runner but also to for the family to stay cool while waiting for the runner at mile 20. And I think it would be great if members of the cheer squad all had personalized buttons featuring the runner, pom poms to attract attention and cow bells or clappers to make noise as the runners went by. It truly is the energy of the crowd that helps propel the runners to achieve just one more mile.
And I thought about a banner for the hotel room or house when the runner returned celebrating their achievement “way to go dad on your first marathon”. Or my fantastic assistant Jo made a banner for my office with a screen shot of my time from the race website along with all my split times on a congratulations banner for my office. It’s a great reminder of a very special achievement.
I encourage all of you to set goals for yourself that you think you might not achieve. I am certainly not a runner, but I have been able to accomplish something that I never thought possible. If you or someone in your family is participating in such a marathon or half marathon, think about how you might support them or support others in the race. It is a fantastic experience.
All the best,