BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Most teenagers don’t have the discipline, acumen or desire to complete a half marathon. Even fewer cross the finish line donning their favorite Disney character’s famous outfit.
After spending months on a stringent diet and training regiment, Bronxville’s Hannah Taylor-D’Ambrosio, a 16-year-old Loyola student, donned a Cinderella costume and ran the Disney World Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 20 in Florida.
The high school sophomore said the biggest sacrifice she had to make was cutting candy, chocolate and caffeine from her diet in the months leading up to the race. She ran approximately 7 miles each morning before school, and then would supplement that while working out with her running club and cross-country team after school.
“Watching what I ate was a big part of it, and a big adjustment,” she said. “I basically had to give up anything that tastes good that I could have. Getting up in the mornings took disciple too. It’s hard, especially at 16.”
Taylor-D’Ambrosio comes from a long line of Bronxville runners. Both of her parents were college track athletes, each of her five older siblings were “track stars,” and she herself has been an avid athlete since the fourth grade. Her mother has been running the Disney Princess Half Marathon since it’s the first race nearly a decade ago.
The weekend, which is full of events, serves as something of a feminist movement, with women of all ages and backgrounds getting together to celebrate together. Men aren’t forbidden, but Taylor-D’Ambrosio said that she didn’t spot a single one in three days.
“All the Disney princesses were there. I just wore a tutu and tiara, but there were people running in heels. People got really into the makeup and outfits,” she said. “It’s a big girl power weekend.”
Over the winter, the underclassman competed on the varsity cross-country team, competing mostly in 5-kilometer races. In the spring, she will run several events for the track and field team.
Taylor-D’Ambrosio said she doesn’t have to look far for motivation. Her favorite place to run in Bronxville is at the track in the heart of town, where she often sees international track superstar Mary Cain.
“I love running there. Mary trains there, and I love seeing her and talking to her,” she said. “She’s definitely (an inspiration). I see her times, and it means I have no excuse not to give up.”
Although she only just completed her first half marathon, Taylor-D’Ambrosio said she hopes to continue to test her limits, and would like to complete a full marathon before she moves on to college.
“When I finished (the half marathon), I wanted to do more, which is weird,” she said. “It really opened my eyes to how far I can push myself and how far I could go.”