The 11th annual Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is one of the largest women-focused running events in the U.S. The race weekend has grown from 10,000 runners in 2009 to more than 56,000 expected participants this year, including 214 “perfect” Princess runners (runners who will have participated in every Disney Princess Half Marathon). The race weekend includes runDisney Kids Races, 5K, 10K, half marathon, a challenge race (running the 10K and half marathon in successive days) and a health & fitness expo, available Thursday-Sunday.
A Couple of Stories from this Weekend’s Events:
Cheri Srour, from Brooklyn, N.Y., will attempt to walk the final 100 yards of the Princess Half Marathon, which would be a minor miracle given an autoimmune neurological disorder has left her mostly paralyzed since 2007. Though she lost her mobility over a decade ago, she has been determined to not let her condition totally limit her opportunities. Aided by her brother-in-law who pushes her in a wheelchair, Srour completed the 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon. In 2017, she relearned how to sit, stand, and even walk again, and was able to switch places with her brother-in-law during last year’s Princess Half Marathon and push him across the finish line. Now this year, the tandem are entered again but Srour will try to triumphantly walk the final 100 yards of the race.
Izabella “Bella” Niera from Gainesville, Fla., one of the youngest patients in the U.S. to have received a heart-lung transplant and the youngest patient in Florida, is participating in the runDisney Kids’ Races on Saturday. Her doctors call it miraculous because she had to be revived multiple times as part of her heart-lung transplant ordeal, which involved more than 30 hospital visits over seven years. Bella’s fight for survival began when she was born at 28 weeks and was on life-support for nearly nine months. Her lungs, kidney and liver later began failing, as she had contracted four infections in her lungs, including pneumonia. Despite the odds, she overcame the illnesses and is now a much healthier 7-year-old who continues to defy the odds as she tackles her first major kids race at Disney.
The Disney Princess 5K starts at 5:30 a.m. on Friday, the Disney Princess 10K at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, and the Disney Princess Half Marathon at 5:30 on Sunday. All races start and begin at Epcot, and the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo is located at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.