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Mad Tea Party at Fantasyland

Finishing Last is Finishing First at a runDisney Race

posted on January 23rd, 2013 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director

If I am not running in a runDisney event you will find me at my second favorite place – the finish line. It’s there I find inspiration and a reminder of why I run. Of course it’s exciting to see the winners glide across the finish line with ease, and admire faster runners setting personal records, but for me the thrill is seeing the smiles, laughter, cheers and tears of runners finishing in the middle and at end of the pack. Whether they are doing it for themselves, for a specific cause or in honor of someone who can’t run, they set a goal, achieve it and make their dreams come true. Winners train to win – these runners train to finish.

It’s because of that determination, beating the odds, that I find myself cheering louder for the last place finishers than I do for the first place winner. On Sunday at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort, after the bleachers cleared and confetti from the winners blew around on the ground, I got to cheer on my newest runDisney hero, Jenna Boyd from Wisconsin. Fighting the clock and turning down offers for rides by race staff, she fought her way to the finish line and was greeted with a welcome fit for a champion. You see at a runDisney event, finishing last is just as special as finishing first.

Please allow me to introduce you to my hero Jenna Boyd.

Congratulations, Jenna!

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Special Events



Joy on January 23rd, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Congratulations to you Jenna!!!!! You are amazing and inspiring!!! Great job on your accomplishment!!


Michelle on January 23rd, 2013 at 8:32 pm

WooOOOoooo, go Jenna!! Congrats!


Stephanie on January 23rd, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Congrats Jenna! You are an inspiration to all who seek to be healthier and those who wish to finish what they started! What an amazing accomplishment!!


Dina from AB on January 23rd, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Wow! What a great story! I ran this weekend – I wished I had stayed to see her cross. Amazing accomplishment Jenna… I admire your will to push to the end. You earned every bit of that medal — enjoy! I hope you return next year 😉


Susan on January 23rd, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Congrats Jenna!! That is awesome! I was at Tinkerbell,too! You should be so proud. I did some run Disney events before I had my kids! However, the hardest Run Disney events have been the ones now that my kids are out of diapers! I am a PE teacher who is on a quest to complete every Run Disney event! I wish more of my students had your AMAZING never quit attitude!


Christie on January 23rd, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Jenna, you are an inspiration to people like myself who are following in your footsteps. My new years resolution is to train to run a 5K and then move on up to the Tinkerbell Half Marathan!!

Congratulations on your finish and I hope one day to finish with you and RunDisney!!


renata on January 23rd, 2013 at 11:32 pm

This was truly inspiring to see! It makes me want to push myself to run in next years marathon… I better start training!


Randy from CA on January 24th, 2013 at 12:59 am

Such a great, inspiring story. Congratulations Jenna!


maureen on January 24th, 2013 at 3:16 am

As I walked down the side lines agter finishing the race Jenna was coming up to cross the Finish Line I just started cheering for her an walk as far as I could cheering her on the Smile that see had said it all. You go girl. Its things like this that remind you just how special people are an its there Love of Disney that can get them to do whats fun the Impossible.


Lisa from TX on January 24th, 2013 at 8:45 am

What an awesome story! I’ve set a personal goal to “train to finish” the Princess Half in 2014. I say it’s a goal, but really with being 130 lbs overweight right now, it’s more of a dream. I recently discovered runDisney and found the inspiration I needed to finally get fit. Jenna’s story is even more inspiring and encouraging! She truly is a hero.


Kuleen on January 24th, 2013 at 8:56 am

Jenna you are AWESOME! I could only hope to do a 1/2 marathon. You are a stronger woman than me!


Megan on January 24th, 2013 at 9:21 am

What a great story! Thank you for sharing, Robert. Jenna is truly inspiring and I wish her all the best as she continues to never give up!


marie from VA on January 24th, 2013 at 9:23 am

As a “back of the packer” runner, I so appreciate the support of the crowd all along the route. When I crossed the finish line for my first (and last?) Goofy Challenge, I broke down into tears as I worked so hard for this race. The metals I received were the same ones of those that finished hours before me. But I did it. Thank you to all of those who cheer us on in the back! It is SO MUCH APPRECIATED!!!! You will never know!!


Ashley on January 24th, 2013 at 9:26 am

Congratulations, Jenna! This is why I love runDisney so much. It’s for everyone and anyone. Keep up the great work!


Kassandra on January 24th, 2013 at 9:29 am

Wow. I am running/walking my first my 5k at the Disney Princess Half Marathon for the Royal Family 5k. I have been training since December, and I don’t seem to be going any faster in my pace ,however, it doesn’t hurt my calves anymore to run, I have lost 15lbs, and I feel healthier. I’m really proud of Jenna and I do have to say, I’m in the same boat as her. Right now, my goal is to finish the 5k. I can easily do 3.1 miles, but not in the time given. I hope to work up to that in the 27 days I have left before the race. Thank you Jenna for an inspiring story. And go Mid-west girls! Minnesota & Wisconsin!


melissa on January 24th, 2013 at 10:15 am

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I just finished my first half in WDW in Jan and was so excited to see how many people were in the back of the run with me. I was overwhelmed of all the support along the way and how many people were still there to cheer us all on at this finish line. It took me a long time with training to get up to be able to run / walk the half, as I am not a runner, but it was worth all the pain knowing I accomplished my goal and did it on my terms. As I am new to running, I am giving myself a new goal to complete the Goofy Challenge (if it stills exists) in 5 years. I truly hope you stick to your plan and continue to runDisney.


Ashley on January 24th, 2013 at 11:37 am

Jenna, you are amazing!!!! I’ve been a runner for a long time, but I have yet to run a marathon or a half marthon. You are an inspiration!!! Keep it going girl!!!


Christina on January 24th, 2013 at 11:37 am

Congratulations Jenna!


Lisa on January 24th, 2013 at 11:47 am

Jenna you are amazing! Great job in completing your goal!!! I hpoe there are many more RunDisney races in your future!


Peggy on January 24th, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Such an inspirational story – congratulations Jenna – you probably have no idea how many people you have inspired by your story – I am one! Keep up the good work!


Elyza on January 24th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Way to keep going, Jenna! Congrats to you!


Margaret on January 24th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

WOW!! Jenna great job.

I have wanted to do this for the last few years but, I was so scared, the rules say you have to do this in a certain amount of time and because I am 52 and short and over weight i just always made an excuse, well not anymore. Jenna I will see you there next year.


Karen on January 24th, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Amazing story, thanks for sharing and congratulation to you Jenna!!


Jerry on January 24th, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Congratulations to everyone who finished this years race! Jenna, you have inspired so many others through your determination and perseverance. Thank You Robert for sharing a great story.


Nicole on January 25th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Congrats, Jenna! You are an inspiration. So wonderful to see such encouragement from everyone. I hate hearing negative comments about those of us in the back of the pack. I’ve encountered too many elitist runners in my day. The supportive ones keep me going!


Sarah from CT on January 25th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Congratulations Jenna!! What an inspiring story…you are my new hero too! :)


Allison on January 25th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Always remember that even if you are last, you still finished ahead of everyone else that never got out of bed that morning! Congratulations Jenna!


Lorin on January 26th, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Jenna, you’re my hero. I did the Tink this year too, and I didn’t finish all that much ahead of you, truth be told. You finished before all the people who quit. You finished before all the people who didn’t get up in the wee morning hours. You did it. And I am so very proud of you!