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Happy Holidays from Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park at the Walt Disney World Resort

runDisney Announces the Tinker Bell 10K at the Disneyland Resort

posted on July 2nd, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


I love reading our runDisney Facebook page. It is the perfect location for people who are passionate about running and Disney to gather and share stories of triumph and words of encouragement. But I especially love it when I see a post from a new runner who is gearing up for their first runDisney event, and I watch our community of runners lift them up. You see, here at runDisney we love what we do, but if you ask us what we are most proud of, I think many on the team would say the same thing: introducing running to thousands of new people every year.

So in order to keep bringing in more runners, we need to keep adding new races, which is why I am very pleased to announce the addition of the Tinker Bell 10K to the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at the Disneyland Resort. The 10K is a fantastic distance for the novice runner who has conquered the 5K, but is not quite ready for the additional 10 miles of a half marathon. By adding this event to our already popular Tinker Bell race weekend, even more runners will have the chance to run through our Disney Parks, experience delightful Disney on-course entertainment, and earn a coveted runDisney finishers medal (because for many, “it’s all about the bling”).

I hope you will join us in January of 2014 for the Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K as a part of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at the Disneyland Resort. But remember to sign up quick! Registrations are gonna fly faster than Tink herself.

 
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runDisney Fuels Your Healthy, Active Lifestyle

posted on May 14th, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


How many of you are like me – running, leading a healthy, active lifestyle, but falling short when it comes to diet and nutrition? It’s no secret proper nutrition is the key to fueling your exercise and helping your body recover and prevent injury. Whether you’re preparing for an upcoming runDisney event, or just getting off the couch to start your journey to a healthier lifestyle, you aren’t alone: the runDisney team is with you every step of the way.

If you haven’t done so yet, I invite you to check out runDisney.com. There, you will find training programs from our official training consultant Jeff Galloway. Jeff’s run/walk/run program will get you off the couch and moving down the road safely and with little risk for injury.

Recently, we were excited to welcome Tara Gidus as the official nutritionist for runDisney. Her tips are helping runners fuel their training programs and races, and they will help you achieve your goal of a healthy lifestyle.

Tara recently teamed up with Disney Chef Gary Jones to prepare a couple healthy dishes that are easy to make and delicious to eat. The first of three recipes and nutrition tips start today on runDisney.com.

 


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runDisney Reveals Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Bling

posted on May 8th, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


“So why do you run?” That is the question most often asked to runners by non-runners. “Why do you get up before dawn, oftentimes in miserable weather, to go do something that quite frankly does not look enjoyable?”

This is a question that is not lost on runners. In fact one of my favorite running shirts has emblazoned across the back, “My Sport is Your Sport’s Punishment” – a not so gentle nod to the bevy of coaches who have ever uttered the phrase “Gimme a lap!”

So why do we run? There are as many reasons as runners – “So I can eat what I want,” “To stay in shape,” “To clear my mind” – but there is one reason that seems to rise to the top among all our runDisney runners…”we run for the bling!” You see, there is nothing so rewarding as finishing a race and having a volunteer drape a beautifully crafted Disney medal around your neck. For that moment you feel as though you are an Olympian, and regardless of what place you’ve finished, you have earned that gold.
runDisney Reveals Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Bling

So with that said, I am pleased to reveal our latest entries into the pantheon of runDisney race medals: The 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon, Disneyland 10K, Disneyland Family Fun Run 5K and the Dumbo Double Dare medals, all beautifully designed to say, “Here’s why I run.”

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runDisney Announces Enhancements for Runners as Registration Opens for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Presented by Cigna

posted on April 9th, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


By now I hope you have heard about the Dopey Challenge and the Walt Disney World 10K that we will be kicking off next January as a part of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. In addition to new medals for those races, new medals are currently being designed for the half marathon, marathon and Goofy Challenge. But we also have more good news coming as a part of our flagship runDisney weekend. In an effort to make sure runDisney events provide the best possible experience for our guests, the team will be introducing the following changes for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend:

  • We are reducing the number of runners that we are registering for the weekend, in an effort to allow more space on the course.
  • We are asking the vast majority of our runners to provide proof of time (if they have it), so we can accurately place runners of the same pace in the same corral.
  • We are adding additional corrals, with fewer people in each corral, to spread the runners across the course.
  • We are keeping the marathon course that was introduced last year for the 20th anniversary.
  • And we will now be offering women’s cut tech shirts (in addition to the men’s cut) for the 10K, half, full, Dopey Challenge and Goofy Challenge.

This year promises to be the best marathon weekend ever! And no matter what distance you are running – from 5K to the 48.6 miles of the Dopey Challenge – we are working hard to make every mile magical.

Registration opens today at noon EDT for all Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events. Dopey is off and running; are you?

 
Keep running!

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runDisney Introduces New Race, New Challenge, New Medals to Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

posted on March 22nd, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


Today, runDisney reaches another milestone as we expand the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna with the addition of the Walt Disney World 10K, the Dopey Challenge, new medals and the return of the popular Runner’s World Challenge.

In 2006, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend had a big year. The races had become so popular, the half marathon and the full marathon now had to be held on two separate days. This race day bifurcation led to another interesting development. It was now theoretically possible for a runner to run both races, so the team decided that if someone was goofy enough to do that, they deserved a medal. And thus, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge was born with just over 2,300 runners receiving the first Goofy medal for their 39.3 mile accomplishment.

Through the years, “the Goofy” has been a favorite with our runners as well as a unique offering in the running industry. Well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This next year, runDisney is adding a 10K race to our Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend line-up, joining our already popular 5K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon. And you guessed it (we couldn’t help ourselves), we are now offering the Dopey Challenge to those runners who conquer ALL FOUR of our races. That’s right…completing the 5K, the 10K, the Half Marathon and the Full Marathon in the four consecutive days will earn you the Dopey Challenge Medal. That coveted piece of hardware will be clanging around the necks of our finishers with the Mickey Marathon medal, the Donald Half medal, the 5K Family Fun Run medal, the Goofy Challenge medal, and the new Minnie 10K medal.

Six medals for 48.6 miles over four days. I think I am just Dopey enough to do it. Come join me!

I hope you will accept this invite:

Join us for the Dopey Challenge and the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

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A Look Inside the Princess Half Marathon Meet-Up at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 26th, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


Last Friday morning started out better than most Fridays. It started with a 6 a.m. run through Epcot and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn area with close to 100 bloggers and social media aficionados at our Princess Half Marathon Meet-Up.

runDisney's Jeff Galloway and Tara Gidus at the Princess Half Marathon Meet-Up at Walt Disney World Resort

Once we knocked out our three miles, we headed into Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany Pavilion for some light food and some amazing words of inspiration from training guru Jeff Galloway, runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus, decorated paralympian April Holmes, and the first female winner of “The Biggest Loser,” Ali Vincent. Actor Sean Astin and the folks from Senses – A Disney Spa were also on hand to make the morning complete.

As you can see from the photos, it was a great day. Now if I can just figure out how to do that every day.

Keep running.

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Rachel Booth Wins Her Second Disney’s Princess Half Marathon

posted on February 24th, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


Holding up homemade signs with words of encouragement, little Peyton and Hadley Booth were pretty excited to see their mom, Rachel, cross the finish line at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon this morning. As usual, it was easy for them to spot her among the 26,000 runners – she was the first person to cross the finish line again, winning her second straight Princess Half Marathon and besting her race record time from last year.

Rachel Booth Wins Her Second Disney’s Princess Half Marathon

The finish line celebration is becoming a Booth family tradition at runDisney events. Booth, 32, is now the only woman to win four runDisney titles – the Disneyland Half Marathon (2010 and 2011) and the Princess Half Marathon this year and last year). Heck, she might have been a five-time winner if she had entered the Disneyland Half Marathon last year.

5th Annual Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Begins at Walt Disney World Resort

Booth’s record-breaking victory was the headliner among a host of inspiring stories that unfolded throughout the weekend. There was the Delaware woman who completed all 13.1 miles of the half marathon despite having a brain tumor (it’s benign). And there were the two 78-year-old women who decided to run the half marathon. And there were a couple of celebrities such as Sean Astin (“Rudy,” “The Goonies” and “Lord of the Rings”) and Ali Vincent (former winner of “The Biggest Loser”).

They were all just a fraction of the many memories created during the three-day event. But my fondest memory will always be a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl embracing their record-setting mommy at the finish line.

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Princess Half Marathon Weekend Begins at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 22nd, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


To our princesses (and any princes, pirates, or frogs who may also be out there), welcome to our fair kingdom! We could not be more pleased that you are joining us for the 5th running of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. This is one of my favorite race weekends because it is an awesome display of GIRL POWER! It is no secret that the modern day running boom in the United States is being fueled by women. In fact I am proud to say the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon this past January had more women running the 26.2 mile distance than men, making it one of the few (if not only) major marathons with this gender split – YOU GO GIRLS!

“Princess

This weekend is a celebration of you. Just like the Tinker Bell Half Marathon held at Disneyland Resort last month, the Princess Half is a race that is planned and designed for our female runners. Now we know a number of men will also be pounding out the magical miles, and gents we salute you as well because at the end of the day we are focused on the vision of runDisney…”To make everyone believe they can run, and to make every mile they run magical.”

“Princess

So no matter if you are here by yourself or with a gaggle of girlfriends, if you are a first timer or here for your PR, if you are a prince or a princess, we are excited that you are here to enjoy the best kind of Disney vacation possible. A runDisney vacation.

So lace up your shoes, run down to the castle, cross that finish line with your arms in the air, and make sure you wear your medal with pride!

Keep running.

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Fairytales to Come True at Princess Half Marathon Meet-Up

posted on February 18th, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


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 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Meet-Up and Warm-Up, and we appreciate your quick responses. By 4 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 5 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 be available at the upcoming Princess Half Marathon Weekend Health and Fitness Expo. For more information, and additional Galloway and Gidus training details, please visit www.runDisney.com.

Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo! And with that, Fairy Godmother has cast her spell to reveal the next runDisney Meet-Up.

Planned for Friday, February 22 at Walt Disney World Resort, the early morning running event will celebrate the inner princess in all our runners, as well as share training and health tips.

Defending Princess Half Champion and Back-to-Back Disneyland Half Winner Rachel Booth RunDisney’s Official Training Consultant Jeff Galloway

Actor and running enthusiast Sean Astin (“Rudy,” “The Goonies,” “The Lord of the Rings”) is planning to attend, along with fitness star Ali Vincent (“The Biggest Loser”), runDisney’s official training consultant Jeff Galloway and dietitian Tara Gidus.

Two celebrated runners will also be on hand, with defending Princess Half champion and back-to-back Disneyland Half winner Rachel Booth, along with two-time Paralympic track and field medalist April Holmes.

Space is limited. RSVPs should be sent to WDW.SportsMeetUps@Disney.com. Only a limited number of qualified runners will be selected to participate, so be one of the first to apply.

Fairytales to Come True at Princess Half Marathon Meet-Up

Our Meet-up/Tweet-ups have become wildly successful and each time the response has been overwhelming. Our goal for these events is to reward our faithful runDisney social media followers with a really cool morning of running – with the hopes that they will tweet, post and blog all about it, and continue to grow our runDisney fans. So if you haven’t been following us, now is the perfect time to add @runDisney to your list.

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

  • All selected participants must be available for a 7 a.m. ET start time on Friday, February 22.
  • Qualified applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A valid photo ID is required. Participants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Limit to one RSVP per individual. Applicants sending RSVP s from more than one email address will be disqualified.
  • 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/celebrity appearances are subject to change or cancellation without notice.
  • Because this is a running-oriented event, we require 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 applicants who sent their valid RSVP via email before we reached capacity to confirm their attendance for Friday. We plan to send this email by 4 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 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, your RSVP was not selected.
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Stories of Triumph Abound During Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

posted on January 10th, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director, Marketing & Communications, Disney Sports


Twenty years ago this coming weekend, a little more than 7,000 runners toed the line for the start of the very first Walt Disney World Marathon. Fast forward to this Sunday, when more than 24,000 runners will take a 26.2-mile tour through our four theme parks; among them, 95 athletes who were at that first race in 1994, and have run every year since. All in all, more than 65,000 participants will take part in events ranging from the diaper dash to Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge during the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Presented by Cigna

Being involved with runDisney is easily one of the best parts of my job. I am a big fan of running, but I am an even bigger fan of runners. Every runner has a story behind why they do the miles that they do … and that is what runDisney is all about, a story-telling company helping runners make their running dreams come true.

At this year’s marathon, there are hundreds of remarkable stories that deserve to be told. One such collection of stories is brought to us by our race sponsor, Cigna. This year, a number of Cigna employees have volunteered to run the Family 5K event with members of Achilles Kids, which is an international organization that helps people with disabilities compete in mainstream athletic events. For kids with disabilities, physical activity can be life-changing, and it gives these young athletes a way to measure achievement, gain confidence and have fun.

Cigna is also sponsoring six runners from Students Run Philly Style. This Philadelphia-based program offers marathon training to help disadvantaged youth succeed in life. These students have trained side-by-side with their mentors three days a week from March to November. Along the way, they’ve completed eight road races, engaged in leadership and character development, and will bring it all home at the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday.

These are just a few of the 65,000 stories that are to be told this coming weekend. If you are one of them, we are honored to be the setting for your amazing tale.

Keep running.

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