Like Walt Disney’s beginning, my adventures with Team Fox also started with a mouse. In 2014, I first laced up my shoes for Team Fox and ran the Walt Disney World Marathon in memory of my grandfather, who lived with Parkinson’s disease (PD) for 25 years.
This year, I joined 67 other Disney runners — nearly twice as many as last year — who collectively raised $67,000 (and counting!) for PD research. Our team included 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon runners, plus a few self-professed “crazies” (myself included) who tackled the Dopey Challenge (running all four events on consecutive days) or the Goofy Challenge (running the half and full marathon on back-to-back days).
Each of the four races starts well before sunrise and truly captures the Disney experience! Runners take off from the Epcot theme park and make their way through the Disney properties. It doesn’t matter who you are or how old you may be — turning that corner and running toward the iconic Cinderella’s Castle is a big dose of Disney magic.
On Saturday, I had the privilege of running the half marathon with some pretty inspiring people, including three Team Fox members who live with PD — Jimmy Choi, Joyce Chu and Sabrina Soto Molina. Another fierce Fox runner was Lauren Everly, who completed the half with her mother. Together, they returned to a place of many family memories in honor of their beloved father and husband, Lew Everly.
Sunday brought the marathon. For some, their first and only event, for me, the grand Dopey finale! At mile 22 I hit a wall. It was hot and humid and I had already run 44.4 miles since the first event. Then I looked down at my jersey and thought about why I run with Team Fox: my grandpa, the Ryans, the Chois, Papa Paddock. I thought about how John Lipp, diagnosed with PD in June 2015, was on the course with me, rocking his first marathon. And I knew I could reach that finish line. Not long after I got my second wind, I heard Team Fox staffers Stephanie Paddock and Liz Diemer, quite possibly the best cheerleaders anyone could ask for. Their energy was infectious and it carried me all the way to the end of my 48.6-mile journey.
After the finish line, I went back to the course to cheer on my teammates. Seeing my fellow Team Fox members rounding that final corner reminded me that we are all in this together and we WILL find a cure. I am already counting down the days until I can represent Team Fox at the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2017 because Disney brings the Team Fox family together.
Editor's Note: Seth Manthey is a Team Fox Mentor who will be joining the MJFF Staff in February 2016. We are thrilled to have him join the team! To learn more about the Disney Marathon Weekend and other Team Fox athletic events visit the athlete landing page.