Finishing Last is Finishing First at a runDisney Race

Robert Hitchcock

by , 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!


  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Congratulations Jenna!! What an inspiring story…you are my new hero too! 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • Way to keep going, Jenna! Congrats to you!

  • 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!

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

  • Congratulations Jenna!

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

  • 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!!

  • 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!

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Such a great, inspiring story. Congratulations Jenna!

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

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • 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 😉

  • 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!!

  • WooOOOoooo, go Jenna!! Congrats!

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

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