Local runner inspired by friends, Disney World

Posted at 11:41 PM, Mar 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-22 11:54:21-04

(LEX 18) — Natalie Fultz wasn't always an inspired long distance runner.

In fact, she recently got into the sport with help from her best friend, Arwen McKay, and.. Disney World.

"So we were at Disney World, I was there with some friends, and my friend from college, who is actually my roommate, was running the Disney Princess Half Marathon Challenge, the Glass Slipper Challenge," Fultz told LEX 18. "It's a 10K on Saturday, and then you turn around and run a half marathon on Sunday. She actually ended up winning the 10K out of, like, 15,000 people that year."

McKay also finished in the top-10 in the half marathon the following day.

This gave Natalie motivation to get into running herself.

"Just the feel of being there, the atmosphere was like.. I want to try this," said Fultz.

Sure enough, she would stick with it and began training for seven months to prepare for her first half marathon called the 'Wine & Dine Half Marathon' at Disney World in November of 2015.

But it wasn't how she hoped it would go.

Before the race, a thunderstorm came through, forcing the race to be rerouted and even shortened to seven miles.

"The runner in me who had now been training for seven months for this race, I was absolutely devastated that I wasn't going to get to run the full distance," said Fultz. "So I ran the seven miles, I crossed the finish line, and then I cried. I was absolutely devastated."

However, she wouldn't have to wait long to finally run the full distance.

Just a week after the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Fultz participated in the Renfro Rock 'N Run Half Marathon. It may have been a little cold (32 degrees when they started) but she was finally able to finish her first half marathon.

"I felt like everything had finally paid off and I could finally say that I had done it," said Fultz. Those [Wine & Dine and Renfro Rock 'N Run] medals actually hang side by side because they were earned in tandem, it took both of them."

Natalie has been participating in half marathons and even full marathons ever since. She has numerous medals that she's earned over the last five years.

Running has become a hobby, and has also been a way to step away from the unfortunate events that have unfolded over the last couple of weeks.

"Running for me has always been, since I discovered it, a way to get away from my anxiety," said Fultz. "It quiets my mind and gives me a sense of peace, and that's definitely something we all need right now. Something to help not make everything feel so chaotic and find a way to calm down just a little bit."