LOGAN — Manda Campbell and April Fetherolf are both from Logan, and don’t know each other, but share one common experience — they recently completed the 26.2 Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Fla. for the first time in their lives.
Both Campbell and Fetherolf took their family members with them for support, encouragement, and to join in all the festivities that Walt Disney has to offer. For Fetherolf, though, it was a way to have some time to herself.
Fetherolf is a stay-at-home mom, and while her husband Adam was deployed in Washington D.C serving in the Army National Guard for a year, April Fetherolf stayed at home with their two children, four-year-old Ally and one-year-old Allen.
“I was just home with the kids for a year by myself, so I said ‘I’m doing this,’” she said of the marathon, adding that she told her husband he didn’t have a choice and that it was her turn to do something special.
“I ran one year of cross country and one year of track in high school, and I despised distance running, oddly enough,” Fetherolf explained, noting how she became interested in running after high school again. She’s a 2000 graduate of Logan High School.
She started with something familiar at first — running 5Ks like cross country in school — and once she accomplished that, she decided to take it one step further and started training to run half-marathons.
“And then I did two half-marathons and said, ‘Well, Disney sounds fun. If I’m going to do a full marathon, I’m going to go to Disney.”
While she ran half-marathons in the past, including the Columbus Marathon, the full 26.2-mile marathon in Florida took a whole new level of training and required more focus and concentration to meet her goals.
Fetherolf started training for the Walt Disney Marathon in August 2012 by running a few miles three or four days a week. “I started with three or four miles because I hadn’t run for a while because I was pregnant, but then I would do usually six or seven miles as a short run, and it would alternate to 10 and 12 miles, and I went up from there. Twenty was my longest run before the marathon.”
Since she had only completed a 20-mile run prior to the marathon, she admits that the last six miles were a little rough, but managed to work through and complete it in five hours and 44 minutes.
“The last six miles sucked, but it helped to have all the Disney characters along the way and the music, and there were just tons of people,” Fetherolf said. “It’s just for fun and that’s why I wanted to do Disney.”
Her husband Adam said he’s very proud of his wife. “It was always something she wanted to do and she wanted her first marathon to be at Disney,” he said.
Campbell also ran the full marathon for the first time this year, although she completed the half-marathon the past two years in a row.
“It was perfect running weather, and along the course they have the bands performing and the Disney characters,” Campbell said of the fun environment. “There are high school bands that come and play along the way and you can stop and get your picture taken with Disney characters, in case someone needs to take a break. Then there are some comedy people around the way, telling jokes, and some DJs too. Every mile or half-mile there was something that kept you going. We got to run on the baseball field for the Atlanta Braves and people were cheering. It was awesome.”
Although Campbell and Fetherolf are both from Logan, these two ladies don’t know each other, but are now joined by a common theme — they’ve succeeded at successfully completing the Walt Disney World Marathon.
Campbell said the marathons at Walt Disney have always been a great experience, but this year she really felt ready and prepared to run. “I started increasing my miles in November, and the furthest was 22 miles in training, and then I figured it was close enough for the marathon.”
Campbell, who works as an intervention specialist at Logan-Hocking Middle School and graduated from Logan in 1996, started running six years ago and started doing running events around the same time.
“It was just one of the things I thought I could pick up and do well at,” she said, adding that she’s participated in the Columbus Marathon, the Cedar Point Santa Hustle Half-Marathon, the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon, and local 5k races for charity.
Although Campbell said she only trained for 22 miles, despite the marathon being 26.2 miles, she felt good the last four miles because she knew she made it that far and could finish.
“If you can get past the road block, and get passed that, it’s more mental than physical. I felt very successful running it,” she said, noting that her final time was four hours and 57 minutes.
“I’ve always trained for half-marathons,” she explained. “My training would be between 20 to 30 miles a week, and longer ones during the weekend. During the full [marathon], training was increased during the week. I’d do some eights and some biking, but mostly running.”
All-in-all, both women seem to agree that the marathon was a success, and might even be back next year to complete another one.
“It was very a very well-executed marathon, nothing was unorganized,” Campbell said. “You know how sometimes you go to a race and things are poorly ran? Everything was just smooth the whole time. I didn’t even have to wait in line for anything.”