Oh my how times have changed. When I ran my first Disney race back in 2010, there was a VERY different vibe. We were all out there having fun and running a race as part of our family vacation. No pressure…just fun!
I met all of the people in this photo (well except B) in the online Disney community…Twitter, Facebook, message boards, etc… We had a love for the parks and wanted to try a new experience since we had all visited the parks a bagillion times.
In the past 2 years as the popularity of runDisney races has grown, so has the online community. Overall, this has been more than wonderful. It has given me the opportunity to meet so many interesting and inspiring people who share the same interests as I do. I started this blog as a place to share my love for all things Disney, including the races, and I finally felt like I found a place where I belonged and was accepted for who I am. The support that I received was beyond anything that I expected and all I wanted to do (and continue to want to do) is support he community back.
Unfortunately when groups grow, negativity is bound to creep in. Cliques form and jealousy rears its ugly head…it’s human nature. It always reminds me of this:
I have seen so much ugliness surrounding the past few race weekends in the days leading up to a meet up announcement. (If you’re not familiar with how these announcements work, here is a great post the ins and outs) This has happened yet again in the past few days in various online groups and it has made me incredibly sad. I have always tried to stay out of these conversations and remain neutral, as I see validity in both sides of the various arguments like: Should people be allowed to attend more than one meet up? Is the selection process fair? Etc… However, I don’t like when people start becoming mean and spiteful. Saying hurtful comments in an open forum or behind other people’s back is not ok. That is not why we’re here people!
Running is hard enough. We put our bodies through hell to achieve a personal goal and when we find other crazies who enjoy doing the same thing, we should embrace that. Being a Disney nerd is hard enough. We are constantly having to justify our desire to not want to grow up and spending all of our vacation time at a “kid’s park” (oh how they’re missing out!). Finding others to share in our geekiness is a gift! To find people who share in both interests is rare and should not be taken for granted. We might not all share the same views, but damn it let’s at least be civil to each other.
So as Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend gets ever closer, let’s all remember why we do this. This is supposed to be fun. Those races should put a smile on your face and you should look forward to every second of it. You are lucky to even have the opportunity to run and you are creating memories that will last a lifetime. Yes, it might not seem like it after shelling out all that cash and not being able to walk for a few days, but trust me it’s worth it!
Have I liked everyone I’ve met in the runDisney community? NO…big fat NO! But that doesn’t mean I should ever be mean to them or take away from their magical experience. I hope as a community we can all get past this petty fighting and embrace each other. Don’t get sucked into the drama and just smile…negativity won’t help you cross that finish line.