Behind The ScenesBristol Life

Running Disney’s Princess Half Marathon marks comeback for ESPN colleague

Kim Smith, 32, of Providence, RI, shattered the Disney Princess Half Marathon record with a time of 1:11:49 on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. Smith, a three-time Olympian, crossed the finish line nearly 15 minutes ahead of the next finisher. (Preston Mack/WDW Photo)
While three-time Olympian Kim Smith (pictured above) won the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon in record time, ESPN Communications associate director Carrie Kreiswirth will be running her first such event – less than two years after a breast cancer diagnosis.
(Preston Mack/WDW Photo)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Two ESPN Communications colleagues, Vice President, Corporate Communications Katina Arnold and Carrie Kreiswirth, associate director, Communications, have trained to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday, Feb. 22. Here are their perspectives before the long run.

ESPN Communications’ Carrie Kreiswirth, posing with her nephew Benjamin here after a pre-Thanksgiving Day turkey trot (or “run”), is prepping to run her first Disney Princess Half Marathon. (Photo courtesy Carrie Kreiswirth)
ESPN Communications’ Carrie Kreiswirth, posing with her nephew Benjamin after a pre-Thanksgiving Day turkey trot (or “run”), is prepping to run her first Disney Princess Half Marathon. (Photo courtesy Carrie Kreiswirth)

Friday marks the start of Run Disney’s seventh Princess Marathon weekend at Walt Disney World. Nearly 50,000 runners registered for one of four races over the course of the weekend, 24,000 of them for the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday.

This will be my second run, as my former colleague Kristen Hudak and I triumphantly finished our first Princess Half Marathon last year.

This year I’m doing it again, recruiting additional friends along the way to experience what has become one of the largest female-focused events in the nation.

One friend in particular is my colleague Carrie Kreiswirth, who handles PR for ESPN The Magazine and E:60.

For Carrie, it’s more than training to run 13.1 miles. It’s about making a statement.

The run comes just a year-and-a-half after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. With her treatment now complete, Carrie isn’t just back to work and back to the routine — she’s setting goals by challenging her body and mind.

“I had no intention of signing up for a half marathon. Ever,” Carrie told me. “After you and Kristen shared your positive experiences with a Run Disney race, I signed up for the Princess Half in order to take back some control over my body. The race would mark a year from my last chemo treatment, and I wanted to set a challenging goal for myself.”

Carrie will be one of 6,800 participants running their first half marathon at Walt Disney World this weekend.

Race Information

1:11:49 is the fastest Disney Princess Half Marathon time
• There are 49,500 total race registrations for the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, including runners participating in multiple events
• The oldest female participant running the half marathon is 75 years old
91.5% half marathon participants are female
424,000 combined miles will be completed by participants throughout the weekend

“The training process has been a lot more challenging than I had anticipated – both physically and emotionally,” Carrie said. “And even though I’m nowhere near as strong as I thought I’d be, I know I will do the best that I can and I have an incredible amount of support from family, friends and colleagues. I am committed to crossing that finish line, even if I’m crawling over it.”

More than 1,400 runners are registered to run for a charity during the event weekend.

To cheer Carrie on, ESPN Communications and ESPN The Magazine colleagues have made a donation in her name to The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The V Foundation was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has funded more than $130 million in cancer research grants nationwide.

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