Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park

Sights and Sounds of Disney Parks: If I Can runDisney, Chances Are You Can, Too

posted on January 16th, 2014 by Greg Ehrbar, Writer/Author, Disney's Yellow Shoes Creative Group


Runners at Walt Disney World Resort

For most of my young life, I had been out of shape. Doctors always recommend proper diet and exercise. I grew up in an “eat this, it will make you feel better” home where exercise was grocery shopping.

But I always wanted to know what fitness was like. I began trying various types of exercise and activities, and though I enjoy quite a few of them, it was running that seemed to work best for me. There isn’t a lot of equipment except shoes. The correct shoes are essential. I asked friends and read a few books about it. Starting with one mile, I worked up very slowly. I had never realized that exercise like this could relieve stress and clear my head.

In about six months I got up the courage to run some 5K races. They’re a little over three miles. Could I think about a marathon? C’mon … who was I kidding? As it turned out, I joined a local running group affiliated with Olympic medalist Jeff Galloway and learned that mere mortals like me could run longer races, even marathons.

Through his books and personal appearances, Jeff dispelled the myths about running:

MYTH: People really shouldn’t run long distances.

JEFF GALLOWAY: According to anthropologists, that is how we survived. The need for running and walking are embedded in our genetics and biomechanics. By gradually going from walking into running — and adding walk breaks — you can adapt, rebuild and become more efficient at any age. The simple training plan of walking breaks during a run greatly reduces body stress and the risk of injury.

MYTH: You need Jack Skellington’s physique to run a race.

JEFF: At the Walt Disney World Marathon and other events around the country, you’ll see every body shape you can imagine. Anyone starting an exercise program MUST check with their physician first and then get the proper training. That’s where run/walk/run comes in. It allows the cardiovascular system to gradually adapt without becoming overstressed.

MYTH: Running is bad for your joints.

JEFF: Neither I nor my orthopedic consultants could find a single study proving that running harms your joints. That applies to everyone, including folks who might not resemble what some might perceive as the typical runner.

MYTH: Running means sprinting until you can’t stand it.

JEFF: That wasn’t even done in the first Olympic marathon in history. At the 1896 Olympic marathon in Athens, all the competitors walked for significant portions.

MYTH: Running through Disney Parks is no big deal.

JEFF: Not only do you see a lot of the main Walt Disney World Resort locations, you also see really interesting, behind-the-scenes glimpses that most never see. Nighttime races offer yet a different kind of magic. It’s like getting a special key to the kingdom.

MYTH: Greg couldn’t be a runner.

ME: It’s been 20 years now since I became a runner. As they say on TV, individual results may vary, but I’ve run 11 full marathons, three triathlons, countless 5Ks, 10kK and half marathons. I even proposed to my wife after running a Walt Disney World Marathon! (She said, “Yes.”)

To see if running is for you, visit runDisney.com/training to get the basics, like training schedules for each race. Then check out the best single guidebook for all runners — Galloway Training Programs. It goes into detail about what to do when preparing for all of the runDisney events, like what to wear, what to eat, etc.

Throughout the year, visit runDisney.com for info on the wide variety of magical events. When you choose one, be sure to mark your calendar for the day registration begins, because they can fill up fast.

Even if you decide that running isn’t your cup of tea, you’re invited to Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to enjoy exhibits, demonstrations and more. You might even meet Jeff there! Admission to the Expo is free during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

Click here for more information about upcoming runDisney events.

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Celebrating the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Presented by Cigna

posted on January 13th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Wow, what an amazing Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend! To the thousands of runners who participated in races, the thousands of families, friends and volunteers who supported our runners – thank you! All of you helped make this past runDisney weekend a major success and an incredible celebration of running.

Sunday afternoon, walking through the theme parks and at the Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney, it was exciting to see hundreds of runners wearing medals and celebrating finishing their first race, setting new PR’s and achieving other personal goals. It was fun to see a few Dopey Challenge runners wearing all six medals – thankfully they didn’t try to wear all six race shirts. Whether they were our youngest runners from the Kids Races or experienced Dopey Challenge participants, every runner was and continues to celebrate success and achievement. Congratulations to all the runners returning home and going back to work proudly wearing their runDisney bling.

To help keep your runDisney memories fresh we want to share a recap video. And for those of you who have not participated in a runDisney event, this is a chance to see what the buzz is all about and hopefully be inspired to join us.

On behalf of the runDisney team thank you and congratulations. We hope to see ya real soon at an upcoming runDisney event weekend. And, as always, we invite you to follow us at runDisney.com, on runDisney Facebook, Twitter @runDisney and on runDisney Instagram for exciting news and future opportunities.

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Runners Are ‘Dopey’ Over Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

posted on January 12th, 2014 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


Fred

Another Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna is in the books. It was the 21st edition and as usual, the event this weekend was filled with popular new features, colorful runner costumes and the kind of inspiring stories you would expect from the place “Where Dreams Come True.”

More than 50,000 runners from across the nation and 60 other countries participated in the five-day event, which was expanded this year to include a 10K. This created the opportunity to offer runners a “Dopey Challenge’’ – running the 5K, the 10K, the half marathon and the full marathon. If you do the math, that’s 48.6 miles!

More than 7,000 runners eagerly accepted the challenge and those that conquered it went home with six medals – one for each of the four races and one each for completing the Goofy Challenge (running the half and the full marathon) and the Dopey Challenge.

The final leg of the Dopey Challenge was today’s 26.2-mile marathon, which was won by Fredison Costa of Brazil, who upstaged countryman Adriano Bastos in what has become an annual duel for the winner’s title.

But perhaps the most lasting image of the weekend was the long-awaited reunion of a mother and her daughter that was more than 40 years in the making. Check out this video to see their amazing story and how the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend was the backdrop for a real-life dream come true.

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2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Returns with New Merchandise

posted on January 7th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


NMM117731

The 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend returns to Florida from January 8-12, 2014. Before the holidays, I caught up with Mary Myers, merchandiser for events at Disney Theme Park Merchandise. She shared with me a look at many new items created to commemorate this annual runDisney event. I selected a few items to share with you today.

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Apparel is some of the most popular items created for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This year, Mary introduced a tonal color palette for the various events held during the weekend. There will be new “I Did It” shirts complete with course maps printed on the backside. There will also be new 2014 “Coast to Coast Challenge” shirts available for sale. A variety of Sweaty Bands and Bondi Bands with event logos will also return.

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I’m excited about the new Dooney & Bourke handbags created especially for this event. The vibrant, runDisney-inspired artwork features Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy running through a magical course.

There will also be a new Vinylmation “Eachz” figure released that resembles Mickey Mouse in running attire. You may recall that we introduced the “Eachz” concept last fall at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. There are two figures presented in a mystery box. Mickey dressed in yellow is the more common figure to find, while Mickey dressed in green is more rare.

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Mary also created four new colorful running tutus complete with the runDisney logo.

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You should also look for additional long-sleeved options and some fun drinkware. I like the mug that has Mickey, Donald and Goofy along with the 2014 Marathon Weekend logo.

Inaugural Dopey Challenge Merchandise Inaugural Dopey Challenge Merchandise

Finally, I have a look at a handful of items created for the Inaugural Dopey Challenge this year. I’m beyond impressed with those who are running 48.6 miles this weekend by participating in the 48.6 miles in the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon. Wow!

These items will be released at Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Expo will be open during the following times:

  • Wednesday, January 8, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 9, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Friday, January 10, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 11, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
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2014 Limited Edition New Balance runDisney Shoes Revealed – Available Next Week At Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo

posted on January 2nd, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Happy New Year! What better way to kick off 2014 than to reveal the “new” limited edition New Balance runDisney running shoes and to announce they will be available to guests for the first time at next week’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna Expo.

Over the past two months we shared details about the 860 V4 featuring Sorcerer Mickey and Pink Minnie, including exciting news that this model shoe will also be available in kids sizes. We introduced the faster looking 890 V4 to the New Balance runDisney family featuring Goofy and Cinderella. And we showed you new kits with race specific shoe liners and shoelace charms that you can purchase to personalize your runDisney race experience.

Well, now is your chance to see these amazing shoes for yourself. The accompanying video will give you a detailed look at each shoe and help you decide how you want to show your Disney Side at your next runDisney event.

These 2014 New Balance runDisney shoes will only be available at runDisney Health and Fitness Expos starting with next week’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, January 8 – 11. Based on the success of the 2013 shoes and excitement building for the new 2014 shoes, we anticipate a big demand and special arrangements are being put in place to assist guests. For detailed information on how you can purchase shoes at next week’s expo, visit www.rundisney.com.

On behalf of everyone at runDisney, I want to wish you a happy New Year! We invite you to follow us on runDisney Facebook, Twitter @runDisney and on runDisney Instagram for exciting news throughout the year.

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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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Bastos Regains Disney Marathon Title in Magical Fashion

posted on January 13th, 2013 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World


“Adriano
One way or another you had to figure the Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna was going to turn out this way. After all, it was the 20th annual event, so it was only fitting that Brazilian runner Adriano Bastos, the greatest name in Disney Marathon history, would break his two-year drought and win on Sunday. I mean, what else would you expect from the place “Where Dreams Come True?”

So, after fending off another fierce challenge from his fellow countryman and training partner Fredison Costa, Bastos made it back home Sunday – a la to the finish line ahead of everyone else for his seventh Disney Marathon win in the past nine years and eighth overall.

He wants to get to 10.

It was a day of former champions winning again. Virginia’s Renee High won the women’s division for the second straight year, easily finishing ahead of the rest of the field which included more women (57 percent) than men for the first time in the event’s history.
“Joey

Among the more than 25,000 runners who trekked through all four Disney theme parks were former pop star Joey Fatone, who had never run so much as a half marathon previously, yet completed the half marathon and the full marathon this weekend at Disney.
“Runners

The race capped a magical weekend of running events, parties and family entertainment that commemorated the 20th annual event. The four-day event drew more than 65,000 runners, including celebrities and famous running legends, that culminated with the 26.2-mile marathon Sunday that included new course enhancements, a new finisher’s medal, a post-race party at Downtown Disney and spectacular entertainment along Mile 20.

For those runners who are craving the opportunity to run another Disney event, they won’t have to wait long. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon is next weekend at Disneyland Resort in California. Meet you at the starting line!

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‘Sole’ Mates Renew Vows at Walt Disney World Marathon

posted on January 12th, 2013 by Korri McFann, Worldwide Marketing & Business Development Director, Weddings & Honeymoons


There’s nothing I love more than a vow renewal – it’s a romantic reaffirmation of love after years of history together that often becomes a family affair. It’s the ultimate celebration to remind you that your better half has been alongside you through both thick and thin.

Nearly 10 years ago today, Wendie and Sean Cheyney said “I do” in the middle of the Walt Disney World Marathon at mile 10.5 – right in front of Cinderella Castle. And today, I’m delighted to share that they’re doing it all over again.

Whether you ran today’s race with your one true love, kindred spirit or friends and family congratulations to a job well done!

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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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