Missouri Runner Becomes Disney Royalty with Princess Half Marathon Victory Sunday
Jackie Pirtle-Hall wins her first runDisney race as part of her preparation for the 2020 Olympic Trials; More than 25,000 half marathon runners among the 56,000 participating in the race weekend at Walt Disney World Resort.
Jackie Pirtle-Hall nearly won a runDisney race last year. Sunday, she got it done, writing her own fairytale ending in winning the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
For Pirtle-Hall, who finished second in the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2018, the Princess-themed race Sunday was her first runDisney victory and added another highlight to her list of accomplishments, which includes qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Trials.
If Sunday was any indication, Pirtle-Hall of St. Charles, Mo., is already close to Olympic form. Leading virtually the entire 13.1-mile race through Epcot and Magic Kingdom, she crossed the finish line in 1:18:30 – two minutes faster than last year’s winner and more than four minutes ahead of the rest of the field of 25,000 runners. Bianca Toledo of Bergenfield, N.J., was second with a time of 1:22:53 followed by Elizabeth Conlon of Montgomery, Md., in 1:24:26.
“When you go through the Magic Kingdom with the castle, it really is just a whole visceral feeling where you just feel overwhelmed with emotion,’’ Pirtle-Hall said. “This is one of those races where you literally just feel grateful to be experiencing such joy (because) everybody is just so happy for each other and supportive, and that’s what you feel from the crowd. It’s really incredible.’’
Amid the enchanting atmosphere of pixie dust, princesses and princes, there were several inspiring stories of courage, triumph and hope. For instance, there was Cheri Srour of Brooklyn, N.Y., who is battling paralysis from an autoimmune neurological disease. After being pushed in her wheelchair for most of the race by her brother-in-law, she amazed the crowd by getting out of the wheelchair and walking unassisted the final 100 yards.
Additionally, 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin involved Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, running the 5K race on Friday and participating in the finish line activities during the half marathon on Sunday.
The Disney Princess Half Marathon was the finishing touch on a weekend of running events at Walt Disney World Resort. The race weekend included a 10K, 5K and several Kids Races in addition to the half marathon. There was also a health and fitness expo.
The race weekend is the third of four runDisney running events at Walt Disney World Resort during the 2018-2019 race season. The final race of this season is the Star Wars Rival Run, April 4-7, and registration is still available at www.rundisney.com.
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