This past weekend was incredibly busy for me and it started out with a 5K in Orlando. A few months ago, a fellow runner introduced me to a charity named Give Kids The World. She decided to be a charity runner for them for the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon, and was starting her fundraising. I looked up the charity and thought it is such a wonderful organization. According to their website, this is their mission:
Give Kids The World is a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.
They do multiple fundraisers throughout the year, and one of which is called the Gingerbread 5K. It is a 5K race through the Give Kids the World Village and surrounding neighborhood. I decided I wanted to go for the run and check out The Village even though it was an hour and a half drive both ways. Everyone who registers to run, is encouraged to do some fundraising for the charity. I did a little fundraising, but wish I could have done more. The run was this past Saturday and I had to get up at 4am to head out by 4:30 to make it to Orlando. Of course I got out a little late, but still made there by 6:30am thanks to the lack of traffic on the highway.
Since there is no parking at The Village, they had three locations setup to park at and provided bus transportation to and from. I got on my bus and got checked in by 7am. There were some tents setup with local businesses giving out some free stuff, and characters out roaming to take your picture with. I was meeting up with some of my fellow runners from the area, but wasn’t really sure how we’d find each other. I let them know what I’d be wearing and one of them found me while I was watching the zumba warm-up they were doing for the runners. Then I messaged another and we all found each other.
Here we are before the start of the race and see that mushroom behind us? It’s a carousel. Yea, they really do have some cool stuff there for the kids. I forgot my interval timer in the car, so I decided to run with two of my friends and we were all just going to wing our intervals. There weren’t corrals, but they had people holding signs with paces so the faster people wouldn’t have to weave through people. It was all on the honor system.
We started out running through one side of The Village and out into the neighborhood next door. We were running and not doing our intervals, so I just stuck with it. It was a slower pace than I was used to running at, but it was comfortable. We then ran up and down the main road before heading back into The Village. Once we entered, we went down to where some newer villas are and new ones are being constructed to provide more places to stay for families. Oh yea, a shout out to some of my running girls (and guys) on the route!
There were volunteers handing out candy along the route for the runners. We grabbed some and kept going. One of the best parts of the run is that some of the families came out to cheer us on. We decided to give our candy to some of the children that were along the route, and even though I’m sure they get all kinds of goodies while staying there, they were so happy with the runners giving them their candy.
We finished the run and it was the first time both Elizabeth and I completely ran a 5K. We both are just so used to running intervals, that we’ve never tried running straight. So not only did we get to finally meet up with some of our awesome “virtual” runner friends, but we both ran without intervals. We’re not counting when we stopped to give the kids our candy. Not a PR in a 5K for me, but a great accomplishment that I was excited for.
I was going to take pictures of The Village and post them, but then I decided that the virtual tours on the Give Kids The World website would be much better than my phone pictures. So if you have a moment, go check out their website and their charity here.
Once you crossed the finish line you got your medal, a gingerbread man cookie, and a bag of fliers and a comic along with a bottle of water. We waited for the others to cross the finish line and chatted for a little before everyone headed out. I went over and grabbed a banana and muffin and watched the characters they had dancing with everyone for a bit before heading back home.
The only negative to the day was that they ran out of medals for some of the walkers. This seems to be a trend in races recently. They did send out an email letting everyone know that a box had been misplaced and the participants would be mailed their medal. It’s great that they will get their medal, but it’s not the same as getting the medal after crossing the finish line and wearing it around, regardless of the race distance.
Kind of a long drive for a 5K, but it was worth meeting some awesome running friends and knowing I can run 3.1 miles straight.
Enjoy Your Adventure, Samantha