More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Inspired to Run, and Run, and Run at the Walt Disney World Marathon

Darrell Fry

by , Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

Often people are inspired by someone or something to run a marathon. And their inspiration can also be inspiring to many others, which was the case this past weekend during the 18th Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The stories that played out during the marathon weekend were amazing.

For example, there was the young Orlando woman who ran the half marathon just a few months after donating a kidney to her ailing father.

And the two couples, one of whom got engaged and the other who actually got married near Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom while running the marathon.

But as far as inspiration goes, it’s hard to top the story of Army captain Ivan Castro, who ran the 13.1-mile half marathon on Saturday and then the 26.2-mile marathon on Sunday. By the way, he’s blind. A mortar attack during combat took his vision, but clearly not his fortitude. Despite the injuries that were a result of the blast that nearly killed him, the Green Beret from Ft, Bragg, N.C., has continued to live life to the fullest and took on Disney’s toughest challenge: running nearly 40 miles over two days and finishing both races in the heart of the field.

They were just a few of the compelling stories among the roughly 54,000 runners who participated in events during the weekend. Officially, Fredison Costa of Brazil and Leah Thorvilson of Arkansas were the men’s and women’s Walt Disney World Marathon winners, respectively, but it’s probably safe to say that everyone who crossed the finish line felt pretty victorious.

Men's Marathon Winner: Fredison Costa of Brazil Women's Marathon Winner: Leah Thorvilson of Arkansas

Hey, if you’re inspired to run, go to to sign up for an upcoming 5K, half marathon or marathon at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.


  • Love the engagement video! Wondering if anyone got video of my wedding ceremony at Mile 10? It was definitely a magical day!

  • those stories are amazing! just melts my heart, all of them. goes to show that this world & the people in it have so much to offer each other. glad that disney can be associated & support these folks as well. great stuff!! 8:o)

  • It’s always been my dream to be proposed to in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I love to watch that dream come true for others no matter which castle it happens in front of!

  • I ran Goofy’s Challenge and my first marathon this weekend. It was a GREAT race!

  • Wow. Fantastic and inspiring story of Ivan Castro. God Bless you Ivan Castro and thank you for your sacrifice and service to our country!

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