Hello, Tuesdays on the Run!
Our official topic is running in the dark, but I went a different direction.? It’s a special post from me today about one of my favorite friends from runDisney events.
Link up and share your running in the dark tips or any running-related post.
This is one of those posts that’s hard to write because it means so much. I don’t want to mess it up and I don’t want to leave anything out. So it’s going to be a long one.
The runDisney community is grieving this week.
We lost one of our biggest supporters and sources of inspiration when Peggy Sue passed away.
If you’ve run a race at Walt Disney World or the Disneyland Half in the past 4 years, you’ve seen Peggy Sue near mile 12 or mile 25 of the marathon with her famous sign.
And she meant it.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I don’t LOVE to run.
I’m not that person. There are days where I absolutely hate putting in the miles. #truestory
But I keep doing it.
Because I get so much more out of the sport than the bling and the personal records and the physical challenge.
I get friends like Peggy Sue and her daughter, Jane.
This family is close, private, and they are pretty much rocked right now.
When your mom is an internet superstar I can only imagine all the attention her passing has brought to their family.
I hope the running community can continue to support them and also respect their privacy.
Jane gave me permission to share a little bit about her mom with you today.
What you may not know about the lady behind the sign: she was hilarious.
She often posted in the running groups on Facebook and I’d just laugh at her bawdy humor.
She was someone you wanted to hang out with and have a margarita (or 3). It was clear to me where Jane got her wicked sense of humor.
Mom was a VERY funny lady.
Peggy Sue started attending Disney races as Jane started to run them.
“Her first race cheering was Wine and Dine 2010. She didn’t have signs and was supposed to go back to the beach club and come out when I passed. She wound up staying out cheering by herself the whole night because she had so much fun.
For marathon weekend 2011, I ran the half and that’s when she made the signs.
A bunch of funny ones and that one. She went to 4 spots on the course with my aunt and she said that sign was her favorite. So it became the go-to sign for her,” Jane told me yesterday.
She was a Disney fanatic who was originally from New York.
Peggy Sue and her husband bought a home in Florida around 10 years ago to become Snow Birds. They were photographers working in New York until she became ill and winters and stairs became her enemies.
They ultimately decided to leave New York for a better quality of life and Jane followed them down soon after.
Her favorite race to cheer was the Walt Disney World Marathon.
She knew the people in the back of the pack (holla!) really appreciate the encouragement and some of us get really emotional after running for hours on end.
Out of all the Peggy Sue pictures, I saw this week, my friend Aimee’s stood out most to me.
“I was blubbering my eyes out at my first marathon. She asked if I needed anything like a cool cloth or food and I said I just need a hug!” Aimee said.
And Peggy Sue was there to make sure she got it.
When asked what she tells the last runners on the course, she answered, “I usually tell them that they saved the best for last. Also that they are going to finish what they set out to accomplish and no one can take that away from them.”
She had a smile, a word of encouragement, a sign that made people feel special, and usually a bag of candy.
I grabbed many a Star Burst from her to get me through that last mile at Princess, Wine & Dine, and the Disneyland Half!
In my eyes, she was the perfect chEARleader.
runDisney also recognized how special she was to their runners.
This weekend they gave a special shout-out to her before the start of the 10K race.
I know we all appreciated this from Carissa and Rudy.
Peggy Sue was last on the course during the 2014 Wine and Dine Half Marathon.
You know- the one where it was freezing cold and raining all night?? What a rockstar to stay out in those elements!
She was out there the whole time because that’s what made her happiest.
Jane ran this race, but was swept from the course and did not complete the distance.
“I kind of knew it (was her last race) and it made it easier to get on the bus to get swept. I got to be with her and experience it from her side. It made her so happy. She got so much support from the runners, ” said Jane.
While she wasn’t able to attend the Walt Disney World events this year, she was certainly there in spirit through the love of her running family and friends.
Facebook groups even Face Timed her into the meetup. She was truly part of the family.
I ran the Rebel Challenge this weekend and I had a super hard race.
The last few miles were full of pain. My feet, my back, my quads, my calves, my eyeballs… yall, it all hurt.
I had that “talk” (you know the one) with myself and Peggy Sue’s name immediately came to my head.
I longed to see her at mile 12- I knew I wouldn’t. But I still wanted to see her there badly.
Her name became my mantra for completing every step.
Peggy (left foot) Sue (right foot).
Repeat a bazillion times.
I know Peggy Sue changed me and thousands of others.
Thank you for being there, for your beautiful soul, and for your amazing sign.
We will always remember you and what you meant to us on the course.
Complete stranger to inspiration to a friend to ‘Ohana.
We love you, Peggy Sue. runDisney won’t be the same without you.
ETA: if you’d like to support Peggy Sue, her family is asking for donations to St. Jude. donate here.
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)