EBG team members took home 11 golden Donald Duck medals at the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. These medals will forever serve as a memento that will remind us of the training and preparation, the carbo-loading, the 3 a.m. wake-up call on race day and the moment each of us crossed the finish line at Epcot. But most of all, it will remind us of the great cause that brought us all together – to raise money for homeless youth by joining the Covenant House Home Team.
It all started with an e-mail looking for a few courageous volunteers to represent Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) at the Walt Disney World Half Marathon for Covenant House. Every year, Covenant House Florida brings hundreds of runaway, homeless, and at-risk teens to safety. It has become one of the largest private agencies helping homeless youth.
11 members of EBG took on the challenege – hailing from Marketing, Operations, Adminstrative Services, HR, Product Development and Web Production. The entire team came together to help each other train and reach the fundraising goal. Some of us were veterans to the running world, others seasoned couch potatoes, but there were four months of training ahead that could change everything.
The days and months went by and all too soon the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend was upon us. At the World Wide of Sports Complex, each of us picked up our race information. As part of the marathon package we received two marathon shirts (one the Disney Marathon race shirt and the other one from Covenant House,) our race bib, and a commemorative half marathon trading pin. Then we rounded up the troops for a pasta dinner the night before the race, and after we made our way back to Disney’s All Star Sports Resort for some rest, ready to meet again at lobby way before dawn.
The Disney Half Marathon starts by Epcot, makes its way through Magic Kingdom, and back through Epcot. It’s 13.1 miles of Disney character meet and greets, lively marching bands, singing choirs, cheerleaders, DJs, and a cheering squad, some with funny motivational signs. It’s Disney’s way to make a marathon even more magical. I don’t think I went too long without slowing down to take a picture of something along the route, but that was everyone else too.
In the end, all of Team EBG crossed the Finish Line. Bringing home eleven medals that remind me of a great experience I had with 10 other co-workers, some that I got the opportunity to meet for the first time and befriend and others I’d call friends that I had a chance to bond with more in the Happiest Place on Earth! Plus, we had all fun while supporting Covenant House Florida in their efforts to help homeless children throughout our state; I’d call this a win.
I’m Alex Mateo, Content Manager at EBG, and I have fun while volunteering to race 13.1 miles for charity.