Jessica Tsotsoros is a childhood friend of the Carter family. Not only did Jessica raise money for the foundation, and not only did she train and run the half-marathon with our group, but she ran the FULL-marathon the very next day. This is the Goofy Challenge put on by Walt Disney World. Below is her story in her own words:
Running is something I have done for the past 12 years. I have never been fast, but always consistent and persistent. I ran 5k’s for the first several years. 5ks helped me to have a goal in mind and work towards it. Then I crept up to 10ks and the Tulsa Run which is a 15k or 9 miles. Since then I have run 5 half marathons and 4 marathons.
What I like about running is that you can do it anywhere and it’s a great social time or it can be a great quiet contemplative time. It has been fun building relationships and encouraging others in their running efforts as I go along.
When I heard that the Scott Carter Foundation would be participating in the Disney Marathon I was intrigued. I had just finished the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon so I was already trained up. On top of that, I did have a goal (peer pressure) to run the Goofy Race. This race entails running a half marathon on one day and the full marathon the next day.
So this started my journey to run with the SCF. How fun it would be to run for a cause so dear to my heart. I was a bit shy about the fundraising part but soon got over that when it hit me that this was not for ME or about ME, but for Scott’s cause and finding a cure for cancer. I soon wrote a letters, emails, and posted weekly on Facebook about the fundraising efforts and the SCF. Donations came in and I met the financial goal! So maybe that was the easy part.
How do you train for such an event? I had done half marathons and just finished a full but back to back how do you go about this? The answer came clearly from my running group. Running back to back long runs on consecutive days was the only way. The training part was the hardest but the reward was great.
The race at Disney was so much fun! I had a personal cheer squad that came with me to Florida including my Mom and my Mother in law. My sweet aunt was supposed to come but got very ill at last minute. We stayed in a beautiful on property hotel with the rest of the SCF runners and their families. On my bed to greet me was a fabulous goodie bag filled with wonderful running gear, the best winter running shirt with the SCF logo, and many other goodies that we were spoiled with put together by Paula and Amanda. As a group of runners and families we met for the Pasta dinner at EPCOT center and then watched the fireworks that evening before the half marathon. The next day was a free day where we explored Disney and the resort.
Saturday morning was the half marathon which was beautiful weather. I met Paula, Cason, and Lizzie (and her PINK TUTU) and we took off to the start line. The race was a great one over 27,000 participants for the whole race. Afterwards we all met at a dinner show and enjoyed loads of BBQ ribs, corn bread, and strawberry shortcake. This replenished what we had lost during the race and then some. The next morning was the full marathon. I woke up feeling good and ready to go. The full marathon took me through EPCOT, The Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Theatres??. We stopped to take pictures along the way at the Magic Kingdom castle, with Mary Poppins, The Incredibles, and with other fun characters. At the Animal Kingdom you could take pictures with baby owls, bald eagles, and other live animals along the route.
The race was a first class race with everything you could need along the course. There was great music and entertainment and plenty of people to encourage us along the way. It was a great race and I loved every minute of it. What a wonderful experience. I would definitely do this again! I feel totally blessed to be able to have such a nice trip to Disney, support a fabulous cause, and run in sunny Florida in the middle of winter. It doesn’t get much better than that!