Pollard impresses in Mickey Mile
Published 8:45 pm Saturday, January 18, 2014
Being on vacation at Walt Disney World means riding roller coasters and watching shows for most 12-year-olds. Betsy Pollard of Suffolk was still able to enjoy the park, but she also finished top-10 in a one-mile race against 600 other runners representing 11 different countries.
The Mickey Mile took place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and was open to boys and girls 13-and-under as part of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
Pollard explained why she held up so well against her largest field of competitors yet.
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“Probably because I thought it would be cool to say that I won the Disney race, and people wouldn’t expect that, because they’d think I’d be on vacation for fun,” she said.
Though she did not win, she finished in eighth place with a time of 6:26 seconds in conditions that were far from ideal.
On top of not knowing her competition, there were pint-sized obstacles that Pollard was not used to dealing with.
“All the little kids kept trying to go to in front you,” she said. It was a challenge trying to get around them so she did not trample them. “I usually sprint at the start to try to get ahead of the crowd.”
There were three heats of 200 participants, with runners generally ranging from 4- to 13-year-olds.
The race traversed grass, sand, concrete, gravel and the track at the New Balance Track and Field Complex. The course was soggy because of rain the previous day and that morning prior to the 12:30 p.m. event. Pollard said the gravel was slippery.
The course snaked in some challenging directions for runners trying to keep up their pace, including rounding the bases of a baseball field.
Despite the challenges, Pollard enjoyed herself and inched closer to the second-place female runner as they came down the stretch.
“She was ahead of me the whole time, and when we got to the very end, I just started sprinting like as fast as I’ve ever sprinted,” she said. “I think we tied, but my mom said she saw my foot go a little past her.”
“She definitely crossed first,” Lou Pollard said of her daughter, noting that race times were not measured to a hundredth of a second.
She described what it was like watching Betsy in the Mickey Mile.
“Very exciting,” she said, adding that Disney World “is the happiest place on Earth, so everybody was very encouraging and cheering for everyone, and they had Mickey Mouse out there at the finish line.”