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“I’m a Runner, I’m a Champion” – I runDisney

posted on June 20th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, Content Director

“I run to prove what I can do and who I am.” Most of us would expect a strong statement like that to come from an adult but it didn’t. That statement came from one of the most courageous runners I have met, 11-year-old Sarah Kate Sligh from Fairhope, AL.

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Spending time with Sarah Kate you quickly realize she is just a normal little girl. She loves her family, spends time with her little brother, plays tag with friends and enjoys school. But what hundreds of people witnessed at the finish line of the runDisney 1-Mile Kids Race at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals was nothing short of amazing.

As I mentioned, Sarah Kate is a runner. She belongs to the running club at school, trains with her mother and participates in races. What you will be surprised to learn is she does all of this while living with Cerebral Palsy. A neurological disease making walking difficult and running almost impossible – almost!

Sticking to her motto, “Finish strong, never stop,” Sarah Kate took on the challenge of the 1-mile run. Starting out strong she will be the first to admit her legs got tired and started to hurt. With her wheelchair always close by, she never once thought about sitting down. As the finish drew close and the crowd cheered her on, Sarah Kate responded by picking up the pace. Pushing her own wheelchair to steady herself, she crossed the finish line. A victory for Sarah Kate, a victory for everyone watching.

Not dwelling on what she can’t do, Sarah Kate focuses on what she can do. Her message, “ If you want to do something just go for it and don’t let anything stand in your way, and just finish strong.”

If you have been looking for inspiration to start a healthy active lifestyle and participate in a runDisney event, or needing motivation to push through long training runs, then please take a few minutes to watch Sarah Kate’s story. If she can do it, we all can!

Sarah Kate, you are a champion.

#WhyIrunDisney is dedicated to sharing compelling and motivational human-interest stories. To view submissions and to learn how to upload and your story, visit

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Theresa on June 20th, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Kate, you are a CHAMP! Such a beautiful and powerful story that brought tears to my eyes! One of the reasons I love to runDisney is because I love seeing the MANY different types of runners that participate! And so much motivation and support all along the way. Hope to see Kate at a future runDisney race 😉


fitz on June 20th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Oh, these stories are always really good. But this one … amazing! Congratulations Sarah Kate! You’re my hero.


Victoria on June 20th, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Amazing Young lady…i wish her all the best for the future. She is an inspiration to us all!


Kim on June 21st, 2014 at 12:20 am

Saw a video of her standing ovation at the finish line during PHM. So moving and inspirational! Keep up the great work! You can move mountains!


Laura from IL on June 21st, 2014 at 7:52 am

Beautiful runner.. Keep it up.


Amy from IN on June 22nd, 2014 at 9:59 am

Go Sarah Kate! You are awesome and definitely inspiring!!