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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 of Non-Leisure Marketing and Sales Strategy


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 of Non-Leisure Marketing and Sales Strategy


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 Resort


“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 of Non-Leisure Marketing and Sales Strategy


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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Vintage Walt Disney World: Happy Anniversary, Walt Disney World Marathon!

posted on January 10th, 2013 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


This year marks the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna. The race has grown over the years from 8,200 runners to more than 55,000 participants today.
“Walt

Dubbed the most magical 26.2 miles on Earth, the race wound through all three Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks at the time.
“Walt

The route isn’t the only thing that has changed over the years. The finisher’s medal also has evolved. Below is a look at the very first Mickey medal awarded to runners as they crossed the finish line at the inaugural running of the marathon took place on January 16, 1994.
“Walt

The Walt Disney World Marathon continues to be the only marathon where you have a pretty good chance of seeing this guy rooting you on while you run; you just might recognize him.
“Mickey

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New Vinylmation and Dooney & Bourke Items Celebrate 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon

posted on January 7th, 2013 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


“New

I admire those who participate in marathons. I tried running once but didn’t find as much enjoyment as I do with taking photographs. My girlfriend likes the runDisney events, so I think I’ll stick with taking pictures of her while cheering at the finish line. Soon, thousands of fans will be cheering for those participating in the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna on January 10-13, 2013. There will be a variety of 20th Anniversary merchandise items available during the weekend. A few items, however, caught my eye due to their unique designs.
“New

Vinylmation is no stranger to the Marathon Weekend. This year, Disney artist Maria Clapsis designed one 3-inch figure that resembles Mickey Mouse in running attire. The figure has a space where a participant can write in her or his finishing time. The things I loved the most, however, are the new mini-medals for the Full Marathon, Half Marathon and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge that can be added to the figure. Each medal is sold separately from the figure.

Maria will be meeting with guests during the Downtown Disney Cool Down Party being held on Sunday, January 13, 2013. She will be at D Street in Downtown Disney West Side from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
“New

Two new Dooney & Bourke handbags will make their debut at the Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo located at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. I spoke with Disney Design Group Artist Susan Foy who created the artwork for these bags.

“I enjoyed mixing the Mickey Mouse silhouettes with a variety of patterns for these new bags,” explained Susan. “The navy ground color really makes the design pop. I even added a silhouette of Mickey running as a nod to the marathon. These two items will also have a special leather hangtag attached with the marathon logo.”
“New

If you already ordered these bags when you registered, don’t forget to pick them up at the Playstation Pavilion at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex starting January 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Additional quantities of bags will be released at the Expo for those who missed the pre-order.

I wish all participants the best of luck!

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Stars to Be Out for 20th Walt Disney World Marathon Meet-Up

posted on January 4th, 2013 by Faron Kelley, Director of Non-Leisure Marketing and Sales Strategy


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 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Meet-Up and Warm-Up, and we appreciate your quick responses. At approximately 2 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 3 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.

It’s a celebration of the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna and we’re planning the biggest and best runDisney meet-up yet.
“Runners

The upcoming early morning event, planned for Friday, January 11, will feature several well-known former endurance stars, as well as Hollywood celebs, to help get everyone ready for the big weekend.

Plans are for our first “corral” of personalities to include Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson, New York and Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers, Runner’s World columnist Bart Yasso and athlete/television host Dick Beardsley.

One of the celebs planning to attend is singer, dancer and actor, and now runner, Joey Fatone, who is taking on the Goofy Race and A Half Challenge. Fatone was a late addition to the weekend lineup of celebrities running Disney.
“Jeff

Rarely last, and most certainly not least, no marathon meet-up would be complete without runDisney’s official training consultant, Jeff Galloway, who has run all 19 previous Disney marathons. The former Olympian and developer of the Run-Walk-Run training method will share his experiences and expertise as well.

And of course, there might be a Disney personality or two there as well.

Space is limited. If you don’t want to be left out in the cold, RSVP right now 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.

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, January 11.
  • 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 RSVPs 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 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 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.

If you’re looking to gain tips and training advice from Galloway as well as our nutrition expert Tara Gidus, they will also be available at the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Expo. For more information, and also for additional Galloway and Gidus training details, please visit www.runDisney.com.

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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 Resort


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 Resort


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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