Coast to Coast · Disney's Two Course Challenge · Infinity Gauntlet Challenge · Kellsie's Hope Foundation · Pixie Dust Challenge · runDisney · Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Running with Kellsie’s Krew [and What Happens Between Races]

Remember when I said I’d get back to what I did after the 10K? I always keep my promises. But, before we get there… we have to start here.

Last November, I ran the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge with Kellsie’s Krew. I enjoyed my experience and was so impressed with everything Kellsie’s Hope Foundation does that I signed up to run this past Pixie Dust Challenge with them again.

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The Most MARVELous Team from the Super Heroes Weekend Kellsie’s Krew Luncheon

I loved the mission of the Kellsie’s Hope Foundation the moment I first read it. For those of you that have followed my racing journey from the start, you’ll know it began with raising money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team In Training. You’ll also know that I followed it up with fundraisng for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Kellsie’s Hope Foundation supports children with cancer and their families through wish trips (often those that have relapsed and already had a previous wish granted through Make A Wish that are no longer eligible), gifts of hope (everything from sweet treats to game consoles) for the children at the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, a scholarship fund for high school seniors planning to go into nursing, and funds for pediatric cancer research. They are an all volunteer foundation which means 100% of donations go directly to their causes. Wow! After meeting some amazing members of their team during the luncheon at the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge and seeing/hearing what they do in person – I was even more wowed.

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I’ve always loved being able to dedicate my race(s) to a cause and put meaning behind each step and each mile. Training runs are hard and the races can be too. But, having something bigger than myself gives me reason to run. I know all that I put in between fundraising, training, and racing will be far less difficult than that which they will endure as a result of their diagnoses and treatments. I’m so glad that through fundraising (#fundracing) I can help them. My 19.3 miles over two days won’t be a walk in the park (okay, technically they *will* be #runDisney), but they’ll be worth it.

One of the highlights of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend was the luncheon put on by Kellsie’s Hope Foundation to honor Kellsie’s Krew and celebrate their runners. My friend and I were SO looking forward to seeing some of those familiar faces from Super Heroes Weekend again and learning even more about the foundation.

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After the 10K, we went back to the hotel to relax in the jacuzzi to recover, grab breakfast at Denny’s (included with our hotel stay!), and take a quick nap before getting ready to head back to Downtown Disney (DTD) for the luncheon. The luncheon was scheduled at Naples Ristorante and I was definitely looking forward to the salad and pasta – and also getting some caffeine in my system!

The luncheon was HUGE this year!! SO MANY RUNNERS! And some familiar faces from last time among the runners and those with Kellsie’s Hope. There were a handful of announcements before lunch, but the main “presentation” part of the luncheon was after we’d eaten.

Quick aside: if you plan to run with a charity, I strongly recommend having a connection to the work they do. I also recommend attending the breakfast, lunch, or dinner they hold if they hold one (most do in my experience) because it’s an amazing experience to join others who have done what you have done and to hear first hand what your organization is doing. You’ll get all the feels. 

And what wonderful news they had to share! This was a huge luncheon because they had 57 runners!! And between the 5K, 10K, half marathon, and Pixie Dust Challenge runners, they’d raised over $32,000 for Kellsie’s Hope Foundation!! Kellsie’s mom shared stories of wish trips granted this year and in progress – they’d set a goal for two big wishes being fulfilled this year, but they’ve already filled SEVEN! Seven!! As someone that works in non-profit, I am amazed at how much they raise and all that they accomplish being an all-volunteer foundation. How lucky am I to get to join them in their efforts?!

They then presented us with our medals as well as our bibs/shirts (if we felt moved to run in them) before wrapping up the luncheon. I was excited to share everything from the luncheon as soon as it ended (heeeyyyyy social media) and I knew that I wanted to capture some photos of my Kellsie’s Hope medal to share as well (as I had during Super Heroes Weekend).

We met up with an old friend of mine (she had flown in from the east coast that day to meet her parents who were running the next morning) after the luncheon to head into California Adventure for a bit. We had some fun in the Parks and I enjoyed catching up with my friend, but we all zonked pretty early given our respective early wake-up calls. So, after snagging those Kellsie’s Hope medal pictures, we headed out and parted ways.

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We went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner, meeting my friend’s friend, enjoying every bite. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of burgers and fries. We went to Garden Walk and while the wait for a table was reasonable (long, but reasonable for a Saturday night near Disney AND during prom season/Mother’s Day weekend) the service was incredibly slow. I think we’ll probably stick to DTD for now on. We popped by my friend’s family’s hotel so she could say goodnight to them and then we headed back to our hotel to get ready for the half marathon and another early wake-up call.

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You’ve already heard about the half, so I’d like to wrap up my Saturday with another Kellsie’s Krew update.

I really am SO honored to have joined Kellsie’s Krew for two race weekends now and am so excited for the big things they’re doing. In fact, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m joining them AGAIN for Disney’s Two Course Challenge at Walt Disney World for the 10K and half marathon at Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

If you feel so moved to join me on this journey, please consider a donation and sharing this post with, well, everyone you know. I’m sure I’ll have more to share as we move towards Wine & Dine.

Have you ever raced for charity? If you could race for any charity, which one would you race for?

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