Call me Princess Grandma, thanks to RunDisney and the Disney Princess Half Marathon!

I discovered something about myself this past weekend.

Something kinda magical, actually.

I might be a grandmother of 9….


Call me Princess Grandma!

This Royal Transformation came about as many modern Royal Dreams do… through the world of Disney.

It began when I was invited to the 2012 Princess Half Marathon Meet-Up, where princesses (and yes, princes) gather with other princesses, princes, Disney characters and running Olympians/greats/experts/consultants such as Minnie Mouse, Jeff Galloway, Rachel Booth, Betty Wong and Suzy Favor Hamilton to talk, well, about running and the pure magic of encouraging many, many tens of thousands of runners, especially women, of all ages and capabilities to RunDisney

2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon Meet-Up Cast of Characters!
Jeff Galloway - Olympian, author and Disney Training Consultant
Rachel Booth - Disney's Princess Half Marathon and Historic "Coast to Coast'' Milestone winner
Betty Wong - Editor in Chief, FITNESS
Suzy Favor Hamilton - Olympian & Motivational Speaker
The most regal Mouse
The most gracious Jeff Galloway and me
Beautiful & inspiring Suzy Favor Hamilton and me
A lovely lady whom I've known my entire life!

… and to actually RUN with Jeff, Rachel, Betty and Suzy through Epcot very early on Friday morning…

But I think the official PRINCESS transformational moment happened when I caught a glimpse of this

My very own TIARA!

(OK.  OK.  So we each got one.  But this only adds to the magical discovery that each of us has the strength and character to rise to whatever level of life, challenge, dream, hope or wish we may carry in our hearts.)

For me, the discovery came a little later in life. I didn’t begin my running journey until I was 56 years old… a bit over 3 years ago.  By then, I was a Grandma of 9 beautiful little grandchildren – 2 girls and 7 boys.  I basically just put on an old pair of my daughter Jane’s running shoes one night, opened my back door and took my first step.

I never imagined back then, in my wildest dreams, that I would ever be considered a RUNNER, never mind be invited to a RunDisney weekend event, filled with the air and aura of 20,000 or so running princesses.

This is where the magic kicks in.

I hesitated to accept the invitation to the RunDisney event because I hadn’t been training or putting in the miles to run 13.1 miles, and we had had a recent family medical emergency. I’m sort-of the matriarch of my very big family (4 kids, 4 in-law kids, 9 grandkids, 1 husband! and my own Mom)… the unofficial (very unofficial and self-appointed) Queen, if you will.

But with the incredible encouragement of my family, my husband Barry and I took flight to Disney World.

Once there, especially on that Friday morning running through Epcot with dazzlingly happy faces all around me, I realized that I had never RUN a race or event very far from my home.  I’ve done 5k’s, 10k’s, 10-milers, 13.1, a Half Ironman and 26.2 all with driving distance from my home.

I had felt safe, I think.  I felt happy… but safe.

But running Disney, I felt radiantMagical.  All around me were women of every ability, from Olympians and elite to fellow grandmother and new beautiful friend Mary Butler and me running along at our own pace, chatting up a swirl of fairy dust…

Radiant Mary Butler (GrandMary) and me

That’s when I became a running Princess… fabulous, fun, free, festive… with a place at the Royal Ball of life itself.  I felt like Cinderella, my childhood princess.  It may have taken me 59 years to arrive, but arrive I have!

I put on my sparkling Princess tiara that morning and wore it everywhere for 3 days, as did thousands of other RunDisney Princess runners.

Of course, we still had the excitement of the ESPN Expo, the Disney parks themselves, the Tangled 5K on Saturday and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday…

(There is so much more to tell you, and tell you I will.  I have a royal carriage load of posts going on right [write] now!)

Please come along with me on the magical ride…

Princess Grandma.

Yes, the title fits!

Disclosure: Thanks to runDisney for letting us attend this event as media and covering our race fees and hotel expenses. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.












About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

Sign Up To The Ultimate Style Newsletter for Moms


ShopStyle “List” Of all Things I Like and Blog About



  1. 2.28.12
    Dawn said:

    You might get tired of hearing this, but you are SO inspiring, Sharon. While I might not be inspired (or capable) to RUN, I am inspired by your LUST for life, and your ability to infuse your words with such excitement. I’m so glad you went for it!

  2. 2.28.12

    I am soooo looking forward to the day when I not only get to do a runDisney event, but to hopefully run with YOU someday!

  3. 2.28.12

    I loved spending the weekend with you and running with you! xoxo

  4. 2.28.12
    Karianna said:

    How perfect and inspirational!

  5. 2.29.12
    Renee said:

    I loved spending the weekend with you and Greeting Barry at mile 8! LOL

  6. 2.29.12
    Nancy said:

    This brought tears to my eyes. I am so proud of you. I know that I (and so many others)have told you how inspiring you are. You take life by the horns and make it something absolutely wonderful for you and everyone around you. I am just so happy to be in that circle. I can’t wait to read the rest of the posts. I love you, my friend. You are so much a princess!!
    p.s. I am so happy you got to meet Christie O. She loves you now too.

  7. 2.29.12
    admin said:

    Oh, Nancy… you would LOVE a RunDisney experience and the Kids’ Races were simply the BEST, most FUN races ever! Your beautiful grandkids would LOVE LOVE LOVE it! xo!

  8. 2.29.12
    admin said:

    Renee… I LOVE you! My Prince Charming loves you! Now your nickname HAS to be Mile 8! xo!

  9. 2.29.12
    admin said:

    Thank you. Thank you! I had the most incredibly magical time at RunDisney… surrounded with beautiful ladies, each on their own on beautiful journeys! xo!

  10. 2.29.12
    admin said:

    Was it fun, or what!? You are a wonderful, wonderful friend, mama, lady and WOMAN! It was my joy to be with you at this magical event! xo!

  11. 2.29.12
    admin said:

    I’ve made plans with friends on-line that have miraculously COME TRUE! Let’s make a RunDisney event a reality! xo!

  12. 2.29.12
    admin said:

    I love you, dear friend! You’d be surprised if you tied on a pair of running shoes and took a step! You can do ANYTHING… and I heard this story after story after story all weekend long! Thank you for always being there with me and my family… xo!

  13. 3.1.12
    Nicole said:

    How lucky am I that I get to be your daughter in law…and that my kids get to have YOU as THEIR PRINCESS GRANDMA???!!! You never cease to amaze us!

    And for those of you who don’t know our Princess Grandma personally and might wonder…”could she really be this smart, cool, beautiful, sassy, loving, generous and courageous?”

    My answer is – More so than you could ever imagine.

    So proud of you and happy that RUNDISNEY was everything you hoped it would be. Its on my list….!!!

  14. 3.1.12
    admin said:

    Oh, my goodness Nik! I am blushing (like a princess, of course!) You are a great inspiration to me with all of your endeavors… athletic and every other way! Love you and thank you for giving me my beautiful Taylor & Andrew! You all make my life! xo! We MUST book a family trip to Disney to coincide with a runDisney weekend! Love you!

  15. 3.4.12
    Mary Butler said:

    Sharon,you are precious! It was a joy to run with “the only other runner in your age group wearing glasses!” I always look around and notice that most of the runners seem to be my daughters’ BFF’s! & to find another H.O.T. grandma out there, was just the most fun! I’m so glad you are embracing your new role as a Princess. It happened to me too! you will be a pro in no time! I’m looking forward to our next run, wherever it may be! (p.s. I’m working on my blog!)

  16. 3.8.12

    This is SO awesome! Wasn’t the race just the best? It’s so awesome you got to be part of the meet-up! I’m so jealous!

Comments are closed.