Disney run could be fairytale experience for Alex

EAR SHE IS: Alex Gaffney, who will take part in the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
EAR SHE IS: Alex Gaffney, who will take part in the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
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A CHARITY runner is aiming for a fairytale finish when she fulfils a Disney dream.

Alex Gaffney will be pulling on trainers rather than glass slippers when she takes on the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Florida.

The 25-year-old will be tackling the 13.1-mile run, which takes place at Walt Disney World on Saturday February 22.

Alex, who is taking part in a cultural representative programme at the theme park, started her training before she moved to the sunshine state in September last year.

Alex said: “I regularly ran 5km four times a week and I really enjoyed it.

“It’s been difficult to train over here though because it’s so hot. Sometimes the humidity is too much.

“The furthest I’ve run is 10k, so this is quite a jump up.”

Alex will be running the race in memory of her grandfather Jim Gaffney, who died from the neurological disease Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) in December 2011, aged 72.

“I want people to know about PSP. I hadn’t heard about it until it affected my family and I’m pretty sure most people are the same,” added Alex. PSP is a neurological condition which slowly robs people of the ability to walk, talk, feed themselves or communicate effectively.

The average life expectancy is seven years from the onset of symptoms.

The race will start at 5.30am so it can be completed before the park opens.

Alex, from Sherburn Hill, in Durham, said: “The race goes through EPCOT where I work and the Magic Kingdom, so I’m looking forward to running down a deserted Main Street USA and getting photos with the castle.

Alex’s target is to raise £200 for the PSP Association (PSPA), the only national charity which supports people who are affected by PSP and the similar condition Cortico Basil Degeneration (CBD).

People can support Alex on her magical half marathon through the Disney Kingdom by donating to her Virgin Money Giving page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=AlexandraGaffney.