Behind The Scenes

SportsCenter anchor Steele closing in on runDisney Half Marathon quest

Editor’s Note: SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele is training to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 26. You can follow her blog at espnW.com. We also have this perspective on ESPN Front Row.

Late this past summer, SportsCenter Sage Steele was approached by Joslyn Dalton with an idea: Why not run the Disney Princess Half Marathon?

Dalton, Associate Manager of espnW projects, chose Steele for her authentic personality, noting “if she skips a run, she’ll say so in her video blog. She’s comfortable shooting in the morning without makeup on, and overall is low maintenance to work with.”

Initially, Steele laughed, thinking surely this was a joke.

Today you will find “training” added to her already over-filled schedule. Come 5:45 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, Steele will be taking off in her pink tutu and tiara for her first half marathon.

Sportscaster Sage Steele prepares for the Disney Half Marathon with her trainer, Jeff Galloway.

The marathon is set to celebrate women who prove that “anything is possible in life’s fairytale.”

Steele is living proof of that.

She juggles an extremely demanding career, three young children, a husband, friends and still manages to save time to have some fun. But how can she possibly find the time to train to run 13.1 miles?

This interview for example, was conducted over the phone, as she drove home after SportsCenter to get her children to their individual events. But just like with this interview, Steele will make the time, somehow. She knows a lot of women feel like they don’t have the time, they’re always tired, and they still have to maintain the house on top of everything else.

Through her video diary on espnW, which connects female fans to the sports they love and follow, she hopes to inspire other women to get out there.

Her children also play a vital role in her motivation. Quinn, 9, Nicholas, 7, and Evan, 5, will all learn their individual lessons through athletics (soccer, dance, horseback riding, ballet), but Steele feels it is important to teach by example.

“I want them to see that anything good takes hard work. This is something that is difficult for me that requires focus and dedication, something that’s a true challenge,” she said.

Growing up, she learned this lesson as an equestrian rider, not on the track in high school. It was a large sacrifice for her military family, but to this day she is extremely grateful.

While her father was in the U.S. Army, constantly moving the family all over the world (Panama, Indiana, Greece, and Belgium to name a few stops), her horse was always with her, not just as a partner, but as a best friend.

It was this experience that helped her become the woman she is now.

Steele explains that equestrian riding is an “underrated sport (that) requires an intense amount of training; not only do you have to be in incredible shape, but you use muscles most people don’t know exist. Obviously every athlete is responsible for themselves: eating right, maintaining their physic, training. In this particular sport, you are also responsible for your horse, making sure they too are in top competitive shape.”

To be clear: competition is not foreign to Steele.

The wonderful winter weather in Connecticut is a different story.

In anticipation of harsh weather conditions, Steele will abandon the hills in her neighborhood and turn to the treadmill for a portion of her training. But she is not alone.

Jeff Galloway, Disney Training Consultant, is helping her along the way with advice and a training regimen. He focuses on interval training, running for a minute then walking for 30 seconds. The ex-Olympian has used the technique with thousands of people, with results always yielding happy clients.

Steele already is noticing that her heart rate never drops and she is constantly maintaining a good pace.

“Interval training is helping me achieve small goals while making me mentally stronger,” she said.

There is no particular time goal set just yet, but Steele knows she wants to finish strong.

With her family waiting for her at the finish line, you can bet she won’t disappoint.