What if Disney's Sleeping Beauty was a runner?

If Disney characters were runners, what kind of runners would they be? Sleeping Beauty is the runner who needs rest and recovery.

NEW YORK, December 5, 2012 — If Disney characters were runners, what kind of runners would they be? 

In preparation for the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 13, 2013, I’ll countdown to the race with the running profile of a different Disney character. Drum roll please….

Sleeping Beauty: The Runner Who Needs Rest and Recovery

Let’s face it, no other Disney character could possibly own the time honored running tradition of rest and recovery quite like Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty is the runner who needs to take a few weeks off, even if she doesn’t want to, whether it’s to recover from a marathon or a more pernicious injury.

It’s not that Sleeping Beauty likes to sleep. Anyone familiar with the tale know that Briar Rose née Princess Aurora is forced to sleep under Maleficent’s evil spell.

For many runners that’s how rest and recovery can feel after so many months of hard training or while nursing an injury or anything else that keeps us from running. It can feel odd, or wrong, or depressing to go from the high of running a marathon to the low of sitting on the sofa. The post-marathon blues are an established phenomenon, after all. And anyone who’s been sidelined by an injury knows how frustrating that is.

It can be difficult to kick up our feet and lay off of running for a while, but we know we really have no choice — not if we want to run again. Those first few days after a race, our quads are sore, our feet ache, and our joints might need a little icing. Same with an injury that needs nursing. So we make like Sleeping Beauty and take a week or two off, waiting for true love’s kiss to awaken us from our post-marathon or post-injury slumber.

In the Sleeping Beauty running fairy tale, pricking your finger on a spinning wheel is the moment you get injured.

But in the realm of running fairy tales, if Maleficent is anything that keeps us from running — injury, hectic schedules, or recovery from racing — and that nasty spindle on the spinning wheel is the point of injury, then true love is nothing other than running itself. Prince Phillip? He’s Aurora’s inner runner.

After we’ve gotten our beauty rest, we slay our dragon, the kiss of true love awakes us from our tormented sleep (if you watch ABC’s Once Upon A Time, you know what I’m talking about), and harkens the moment when it’s time to run again.

After running the Philadelphia Marathon in November, I enjoyed six days of self-imposed relaxation that included no more than easy two-mile walks, one rather amazing massage, and one very long car ride to rural Quebec for Thanksgiving. But before long, it was time for the runner in me to be reawakened.

On the magical morning the spell was broken, the sun was shining, snow geese were honking (I was in Canada after all), and a blue jay perched within view of my breakfast for a few magical moments. I just knew it was going to be a good day, much like the day Briar Rose met Prince Phillip. She ran into a blue bird that day too.

Only when a runner slays their dragon, whether it’s an injury or recovery after a hard race, can they run again.

I laced up my shoes and hit a local trail for an easy 3.5-mile run. Like Princess Aurora gazing into Prince Phillip’s heroic eyes after he slays Maleficent the Dragon, that first run back felt like a triumphant return home as I was reunited with the runner deep inside me. My legs felt strong, my lungs labored just a little, and my true love — running — welcomed me with wide-open arms.

Sleeping Beauty’s tale ends when she awakes from her slumber. But our fairy tales does not end here. With just six weeks until the Walt Disney World Marathon, I’ll take a look at how we runners are like a few other beloved Disney characters. What favorite Disney running character will be next?

Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runner’s weekly lifestyle web show about running. She has completed five marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.

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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine, RunnersWorld.com, Active.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.


A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on RunKarlaRun.com, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

Contact Karla Bruning


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