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Fairytale Ending at Disney Golf Classic at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 11th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Pro golfer Charlie Beljan at Disney Golf Classic at Walt Disney World Resort

It just wouldn’t have been right if pro golfer Charlie Beljan of Arizona had won his first PGA TOUR tournament somewhere else Sunday besides Walt Disney World Resort. I mean, his performance throughout the week at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic here was a classic fairytale story – rookie player takes early lead then falls ill on the course only to recover the next day and go on to win his first title at the last TOUR event of the season.

Only this was no fairytale, but rather a real-life dream come true for Beljan, 28, whose $846,000 winner’s check was nearly double what he had earned so far this year. And then there’s this: he joins Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in the fraternity of eight players to win this tournament the first time they played here.

While leading the tournament, Beljan’s blood pressure spiked during Friday’s second round when he also developed a shortness of breath, causing him to nearly collapse at times during the final few holes. After getting medical attention, he returned the next day and continued his blistering play the final two rounds – he had 22 birdies in all – to notch one of the most emotional and inspiring victories in the Disney tournament’s 42-year history.

“Every day I drove underneath that Disney sign coming here (and) it said ‘Welcome to Disney World, Where Dreams Come True,” Beljan said after his win. “And that’s just what happened this week.”

Of course it did.

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All-Stars Tee Off at Walt Disney World Resort for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic

posted on November 9th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Funny things can happen when you mix together pro athletes from different sports for a golf tournament such as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Walt Disney World Resort this week.

For instance, former Major League Baseball all-star pitcher Heath Slocumb is playing with PGA TOUR golfer Heath Slocum. Kinda funny, right?

Both Heaths are among the field of TOUR stars and marquee athletes from the NFL, MLB and even professional boxing participating in the season-ending TOUR event on Disney’s Magnolia and Palm golf courses. Among the big-name sports celebs in the pro-am field are Minnesota Twins superstar Joe Mauer, former light-heavyweight boxing champion Antonio Tarver, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price, former Tampa Bay Bucs great Derrick Brooks and former Green Bay Packers star Ryan Longwell.

They are teeing it up again today on the Magnolia and Palm courses with the TOUR pros if you want to come out and watch. There are also food trucks and big-screen TVs to watch all of the big college and NFL games this weekend in between watching golf.

If you can’t make it out, here’s a quick video look at what you’ll be missing.

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runDisney and the ‘Diet Diva’ to Host Meet-Up and Warm-Up for Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

posted on November 1st, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


UPDATE: Click here for a complete list of attendees. If you are on the list and did not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at WDW.SportsMeetUps@disney.com. Please note that we will not be responding to questions via this email address. If you have questions, please ask them on the Disney Parks Blog, and we will do our best to answer them.

UPDATE: We have reached capacity! Thanks for everyone’s interest in the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Meet-Up and Warm-Up, and we appreciate your quick responses. At approximately 12 p.m. ET, we will send the meet-up attendees a confirmation email. If you are on the list and did not receive a confirmation email, please contact us at WDW.SportsMeetUps@disney.com. By 1 p.m. ET, we will post a link to the complete list of attendees. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for additional unique opportunities in the future.

If you’re looking to gain tips and training advice from Gidus and Galloway, they will also be available at the upcoming Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Expo on Friday and Saturday. For more information, and for additional Galloway and Gidus training details, please visit www.runDisney.com.

What better way to get ready for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend than by hanging out with runDisney’s newest consultant, Tara Gidus – or as she’s affectionately known, the “Diet Diva.”

If you’re looking for better ways to fuel yourself, before or during a race, or how best to recover, this meet-up is for you. Along with serving as official nutritionist for runDisney, Gidus is also an author and team dietitian for the Orlando Magic.
Tara Gidus, 'Diet Diva' and Official Nutritionist for runDisney

In addition to Gidus, there will be a short training run led by runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway, plus a couple surprises along the way. Anton Van Zyl, winner of the past two Wine & Dine races, will also be on hand for the morning event.

Galloway, who has run all 19 Walt Disney World Marathons as well as other runDisney events, is well known for his popular Run-Walk-Run training method, and the expertise he’ll share with the 40 selected applicants has helped thousands of runners complete their first marathons and improve their race times.
RSVP for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Meet-Up and Warm-Up

If you don’t want to be left in the dust, RSVP right now to WDW.SportsMeetUps@Disney.com. Only 40 qualified runners will be selected to participate, so be one of the first to apply.

In the meantime, here are a few things you should know:

  • All participants must be available for a 7 a.m. ET start time on Friday, November 9.
  • Qualified applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A valid ID is required. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Limit to one RSVP per email address.
  • Valid RSVPs must include your name. RSVPs that include more than one person or are missing information (e.g. incomplete names) will not be accepted.
  • Admittance to the event is non-transferable and limited to the selected applicant; no additional guests please.
  • The event and individual appearances are subject to change or cancellation.
  • Because this is a running-oriented event, we ask that applicants be experienced runners, able to maintain a 12-minute per mile pace (qualified).
  • Selected applicants attending the meet-up are not required to purchase admission.
  • We will send an email to selected qualified applicants who sent their valid RSVP via email before we reached capacity to confirm their attendance for Friday. We plan to send this email at approximately 2 p.m. ET today, and we will also post a link on the Disney Parks Blog that will include a list of names of all selected qualified applicants. If you do not receive an email from us confirming your reservation and your name does not appear on the list of selected applicants, you were not selected.
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The 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon: It’s A Sell Out

posted on September 7th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


When you consider all of the cool new features we’ve added to this event lately, this news should come as no surprise: The 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna is sold out.
The 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Is Sold Out

Yep, the last spot has been snapped up, pushing the total number of registered runners over the 25,000 mark, ensuring this will be the largest marathon field in Disney history. And it went fast, selling out less than five months after registration opened. As best as anyone around here can tell, this is one of the quickest sellouts in the event’s history.

There’s no doubt part of the appeal of the race is the many commemorative features, such as the new twists to the 26.2-mile course (it goes through the Walt Disney World Speedway and the Champion Stadium ballpark), the new Mickey Mouse medal, the post-race party at Downtown Disney and the slew of celebrity runners who have signed up to run. Indeed, the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, January 10-13, is going to be unlike any we’ve ever staged.

But if you’re kicking yourself for not signing up sooner, all is not lost. You can still get in on the 20th anniversary marathon fever here in a couple of different ways. One of the best ways is by signing up through a group with reserved entries, such as the Runner’s World Challenge package, which involves several exclusive features, expert training advice and VIP amenities, in addition to entry into the marathon. You can sign up for it and other runDisney race weekends at runDisney.com.

Also, there are a few spots left in the Disney Half Marathon and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, which involves running the half marathon and the marathon on consecutive days. Granted, that’s a lot of running, but if you think that’s too much to endure in order to be a part of this 20th anniversary weekend, consider this: You’ll have to wait another 16 months for the next Walt Disney World Marathon.

Read these posts for more about the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon:

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The Magic Behind Mickey’s 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Medal

posted on August 28th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Since we unveiled Mickey’s commemorative 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon medal two weeks ago, the response has been amazing. It is truly unlike any runDisney medal we have ever created, and runners apparently love it.

In case you missed the video reveal on Facebook or Twitter, you can watch it now:

The creative force behind the medal is Disney art director David Brotherton, who designed the unique medal by incorporating the perfect balance between athletics and Disney. In this video, David takes us behind the scenes and shares details about the creative journey that led to this signature medal that will be the jewel of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna, January 10-13.

There’s still time to get your hands on this or one of the other inspiring Disney medals. You can sign up for any Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend event, including the runDisney Kids’ Races, Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Half Marathon or Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge at runDisney.com. And be sure to connect with other runDisney runners on Facebook and Twitter.

Check out these posts for more updates on the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon:

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20th Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is Going Hollywood

posted on August 16th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


More and more celebrities are signing up to be a part of the 20th anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. Alison Sweeney, host of the popular reality show “The Biggest Loser,” and ESPN personality Colin Cowherd signed up weeks ago.

But recently Drew Carey, Gilles Marini, Sean Astin, Kit Hoover, Jenna Morasca and Ethan Zohn threw their names in the hat, too. Astin and Carey are taking on the 26.2-mile full marathon, while the other celebs are sticking to the 13.1-mile half marathon during the historic race weekend, January 10-13, at Walt Disney World Resort.

Most of them are eager to run here because they already know what it’s like to run in a runDisney event. Carey, the comedian and host of “The Price is Right,” ran in the Disneyland Half Marathon last year. Astin, the lead actor in the movie “Rudy,” ran in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon earlier this year. And reality TV stars Morasca and Zohn (“Survivor” and “The Amazing Race”) ran in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon earlier this year and the Princess Half Marathon last year.

Cowherd, Sweeney, Marini (“Sex and the City: The Movie” and “Dancing with the Stars”), and Hoover (“Access Hollywood” co-host) are the runDisney newbies. Hoover and Sweeney have run other half marathons, but this will be the maiden voyage for Marini and Cowherd, both of whom have never run a half marathon previously.

Cowherd, in particular, is apparently not the least bit nervous about biting off a half marathon. In fact, he’s been having a lot of fun with it. Check out the video below, which appeared on the runDisney Facebook page and on Twitter, and you’ll see what I mean.

By the way, you can run with these celebs. The weekend races are filling up, but you can still register at runDisney.com.

Get more news about the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon in these posts:

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New 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Medal Revealed

posted on August 14th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Disney is known in the running industry for its cool race medals, so it should come as no surprise that runDisney has pulled out all of the stops in designing a medal for next year’s 20th anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon, January 10-13. The medal was revealed this morning after a two-week social media campaign called “The Great Medal Caper” in which fans such as you got to unlock clues to eventually unveil the medal.
“New

Trust me, this medal is unlike anything we have created before. It has the traditional round shape, but it features two spinning parts, including a medallion with a classic image of Mickey Mouse on one side and a modern image of him on the other side. The other cool features are two engraved quotes from Walt Disney himself.

And to think, all you have to do to get one of them is run 26.2 miles. Better start training now! But don’t forget to sign up for the race first at runDisney.com.

Check out these posts to read more about the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon:

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First Look: Peek Inside Splitsville, Coming Soon to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 2nd, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Back in April, we showed you exterior renderings of the Splitsville that’s coming to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort this fall. Now, here is a peek at the interior of the two-level venue, which, at 50,000 square feet, will be the largest of Splitsville’s five locations.
A Peek at the Interior of Splitsville, Coming This Fall to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

From these renderings we can really see how the look and feel of this Splitsville will indeed be unlike your traditional bowling alley, with upscale retro décor, escalators, flat-screen TVs and a family-friendly atmosphere.
A Peek at the Interior of Splitsville, Coming This Fall to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

Construction continues to move along, so look for more updates here soon.

Check out these posts for more updates from Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort:

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‘Biggest Loser’ Host Alison Sweeney First Celeb to Enter the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon

posted on July 16th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Plans for the 20th anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend are still being developed, but one thing is certain: some celebrities in Hollywood are already starting to line up to run it.

Alison Sweeney, host of the popular reality show “The Biggest Loser,” has just thrown her name into the hat. She recently entered the half marathon. Word is, other celebrities are on the verge of signing up, too, as well as some famous former distance running stars.

For Sweeney, an avid runner, the decision to choose the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend was an easy one – her kids’ faces lit up at the prospect of coming to Walt Disney World Resort for the race weekend, January 10-13, 2013.

Sweeney has already started training for the race. Check out this video of her from a recent training run at a park near her Los Angeles-area home where she talks about getting ready for her first runDisney race.

Check out these posts for more runDisney news from Walt Disney World Resort:

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Special Princess Half Marathon Medal Up for Grabs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 10th, 2012 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Registration opened today for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend, and if you haven’t run in this race, this might be the time to do it.
Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort

That’s because our runDisney team is working on a commemorative finisher’s medal for the 2013 race here at Walt Disney World Resort to mark the fifth anniversary of the race weekend, which is geared toward women and their active, healthy lifestyles. And the 2013 race will be the only one where you can get this special medal.

No details about the medal have been released yet, but I’m told it will feature some sort of princess tiara theme to it. Stay tuned for more details about that.

In the meantime, if you even think you might want to run, you’d better sign up early. This Princess race is a hot ticket. The race sold out last year in only a few months, with some 19,000 runners registering for the 13.1-mile run. This year the field is expected to swell to more than 20,000.

Like other runDisney races, this one, scheduled for February 22-24, will have fun stuff for runners of all ages and skill levels – everything from a Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Royal Family 5K to several Kids Races, plus a health and fitness expo with lots of running apparel and equipment geared toward women.

To sign up for the race or any runDisney race, as always, just go to runDisney.com.

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