Winter weather has not deterred mother-daughter bonding for Kelly and Jolena Cordasco. The Haddonfield duo started a training regimen in November to prepare for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend that benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Disney World dedicates the entire weekend to health and fitness events and activities with the Princess Half Marathon scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24.
“My mom always runs and that got me in to running, too,” said Jolena. Jolena is the oldest daughter in the Cordasco family with siblings ranging from preschool to eighth grade. She also has a fraternal twin, her brother Vincent.
An avid athlete, Jolena is on the basketball and track teams and runs cross-country at Christ the King Regional School. She also plays field hockey. In the fall, Jolena ran in the 5K Kings Run where she placed second for her age group. After the Kings Run, Jolena and Kelly started to look for longer distance marathons to run in together.
“Spending quality time with each child is important as well as teaching the importance of setting goals,” said Kelly. The duo searched the Internet looking at marathons. When they read about the Disney Princess Half Marathon, they thought it sounded like a perfect goal to strive for while having fun.
“I wanted a way to strengthen the mother/daughter bond. Some days we didn’t want to train, but we did because it was important to us to meet the goal we set for ourselves,” said Kelly.
“The irony of running in a Disney Princess Half Marathon is I was never the princess type,” Jolena chimed in.
Only one day this winter proved too cold for the duo. After two blocks, they decided it was too cold to run. But that was the only day they forfeited training. During Christmas break, the family took a cruise out of New York Harbor. The mother/daughter duo ran 52 laps around the boat as they cruised down the Hudson, past the Statue of Liberty and continued running as the boat entered the Atlantic Ocean.
With six days remaining until the marathon, Jolena and Kelly are busy finalizing their plans. Online, there are pictures from past princess marathons. In lieu of princess gowns, Jolena and Kelly decided to wear tutus during the 13.1 mile half marathon through Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. Kelly is foregoing a tiara but Jolena is borrowing a Little Mermaid tiara from Kateri, her 4-year-old sister.
While most marathons have speed requirements, Disney requires participants maintain a 16-minute mile pace or faster. Currently, Jolena runs an eight-minute mile while her mom runs a 10-minute mile. “I have to slow my pace so I can stay with my mom,” said Jolena. The slower pace has the mother/daughter team predict a finish time of 2 hours and 16 minutes.
While Jolena will have a memory that will last a lifetime, next on Kelly’s agenda is the Disney Villain Run with two of her sons later this year.