The Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend has become an annual holiday in my family. The calendar is booked a year in advance. No one questions what I will be doing during the weeks leading up our reunion with Team GP2C in Orlando. What is it about this one weekend that keeps me coming back year after year? The medal? The race shirt? The cheese sauce?

I return for my family. My Rett family.

When we come together it feels like nothing is impossible. The day-to-day worries slip away when we unite in laughter and purpose. We are surrounded by people that just get us and our hectic life. Team GP2C allows my family to just be. Just be messy. Just be loud. Just be late for everything. Just be us. No judgment. All grace. It adds to the magical force that envelops you at Disney.

Part of the magic comes from the bubbling excitement at Princess. It is dynamic. Moving through the masses while building the anticipation for the challenge ahead. Frenzied runners race from building-to-building gathering gear, hunting for those coveted runDisney shirts and pins (pro tip: pre-buy the pins when you register). We stock up on freebies, sparkle skirts, and kt tape, all while capturing those memory making pics that Disney places everywhere, and enjoying some much-deserved down time (lol… there is no such thing at Princess). So many emotions culminate on each race day, which starts around 3am, and keeps each runner moving forward. On the final morning, I am running on caffeine, sleep deprivation, and hope.

Hope is a force all its own. It propels us to strive for what some believe to be impossible. It keeps us focused on something greater than today. It’s the cheers from total strangers helping us push through that wall at mile seven. It’s a GP2C flower sticker on another runner’s shoulder.  When I registered for my very first Princess weekend with Team GP2C, that was the word I had tattooed on my wrist. Hope. Four letters with massive impact. When my feet feel like they are lead, my legs fatigued, and I’m not sure I can go another step… hope shows up. I may slow down, but I still push forward. That is what the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend is for me.

Team GP2C is on a mission. To support families, advocate for those with Rett, help them discover their voice, find treatments to improve their quality of life, and CURE Rett Syndrome. That is a tall order to fill, and I am proud to be a member of the team. Running at Disney Princess is the pilgrimage I look forward to the most, because I get to have my cup filled. I hope I help fill other’s cups as well. Now about those other perks. Did I mention we get some pretty awesome medals for torturing our feet for four days of walking and running? I don’t know how some of y’all venture into the parks AND complete the Fairy Tale Challenge. Y’all amaze me!