A runner’s journey to her first half marathon is never easy and always rewarding. Sparrow’s Nest volunteers expected to complete those 13.1 miles in Disney World but instead finished on the Dutchess Rail Trail Sunday where they had spent months training.

Sparrow’s Nest volunteers aren’t ones to shy away from a challenge. The charity, founded in 2012, provides homemade meals for Hudson Valley families of caregivers who are battling cancer.

The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon proved a massive fundraiser for the organization. Some 160 participants with varying levels of running experience helped raise over $100,000 for Sparrow’s Nest. The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon team began logging miles on the Dutchess Rail Trail in July under the direction of Polly Sparling, a familiar face and respected leader in the Mid-Hudson Valley running community.

The participants arrived in Florida ready for the Nov. 7 run only to have the mileage reduced to seven because of inclement weather.

The Sparrow’s Nest runners returned home determined to complete those 13.1 miles. On Sunday, Nov. 22 many of the participants brought Disney to Dutchess County, gathering at the Dutchess Rail Trail parking lot at Gold’s Gym for a half marathon-length group run.

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