More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

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

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 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 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.


  • This past Sunday was my 12th Disney marathon (and first Dopey). I hated running and never thought I could run a race. I have a similar childhood to Greg – my family never exercised. Thanks to Disney for inspiring me (the Disney marathon was my first race) and to Jeff Galloway for the run/walk method. Since that first marathon, we have completed many races and plan to do a half marathon in each state as well as all of the Disney races. This past weekend was AMAZING! We had so much fun and are looking forward to next year – it can’t come soon enough!

  • I’ll be there for the Princess Half and I can’t wait! Thanks for sharing this.

  • I met Jeff two years ago at a DVC Welcome Home Wednesday. Even though I didn’t have a clue who he was at the time, he convinced me that yes I could run if I chose to.

    Last weekend my three kids and I (Brendan 13, Jessica and Ciara 10) all ran the 5k, and the next day I did the 10k. Even though I was 8,977 out of the 10,000 to finish, I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

    If I can do it, anyone can.

  • I’m not the fastest runner in the world – but I get to the finish line thanks in LARGE part to the Galloway method. If you don’t think you can do an endurance event — give it a shot. Do some training and then try out a local 5K race and see for yourself. I think you’ll be surprised and what you can do. Before you know it, you’ll be like me and have completed 4 half marathons and one full marathon (two of those were Disney races) and are planning to do the Dopey next year!

  • When I first found Jeff Galloway’s website (about 3 years ago), I felt for the first time that I could actually run. As a kid, I also hated exercising and running (thinking of PE in school not very pleasant memories), and the thought of doing it as an adult made me dislike it even more. But after I found Jeff Galloway’s information, he helped me to rethink the idea of running. Today I am running.

  • I ran the inaugural 10K, too. I ran with a blind woman, lots of people of various sizes, a few 10 year olds, and some folks in their 70s. I ran all but the water stops, but without Jeff’s program, I never could have done it. Most people on the course were using Jeff’s strategy.

    Coincidentally, Jeff stayed at our resort and rode the rundisney buses to the races. Such a real, down to earth guy.

  • Great post! Thanks for the wonderful information.

  • When does registration for the 2015 Marathon begin? 🙂 I am excited to run my first marathon in Disney!!

    • Here are the runDisney event dates as of today:

      Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend at the Disneyland Resort
      • January 28, 2014 – Registration Opens
      • August 29-31, 2014 – Event date

      The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort
      • February 11, 2014 – Registration Opens
      • October 3-4, 2014 – Event date

      Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort
      • March 4, 2014 – Registration Opens
      • November 7-8, 2014 – Event date

      Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort
      • April 22, 2014 – Registration Opens
      • January 7-11, 2015 – Event date

      Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort
      • July 15, 2014 – Registration Opens
      • February 19-22, 2015 – Event date

      Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort
      • August 12, 2014 – Registration Opens
      • May 7-10, 2015 – Event date

      It’s usually a good idea to register right away to make you can get into the event.

  • I’m running the Inaugural Tinkerbell 10k this Saturday! I am beyond words ecstatic! I have been looking forward to this since I signed up last summer. I’m so happy I chose a Disney race as my first official race!!

  • I did my first RunDisney event this past Friday at the Inaugural 10K. It was amazing! My sister “ran” with me – we actually walked most of the race with a few brief runs here and there to keep pace. She actually usually walks all of the races and keeps about a 15 minute/mile pace. So you don’t actually have to be able to “run” to participate. 🙂 It was a great experience running through EPCOT. I really loved being backstage. Hoping to start training to do a half marathon the next time!

  • No, not all people CAN run!

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