Southern California Runner Earns Her Tinker Bell Wings at the Disneyland Resort

Darrell Fry

by , Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

If you don’t believe magic can happen at Disney Parks, just ask Melissa Hernandez.
Southern California Runner Melissa Hernandez Earns Her Tinker Bell Wings at the Disneyland Resort

The 29-year-old runner from Oxnard, Calif., is an experienced endurance runner, but as much as she tried, she had never been able to finish first in a half marathon. That is, until she came to Disneyland Resort this weekend and undoubtedly was doused with a little pixie dust somewhere along the way. Running her first Tinker Bell Half Marathon, Hernandez did what she had never been able to do before, leaving the field behind in a trail of … well, pixie dust, to win the 13.1-mile race Sunday.

Not only was it her first half marathon victory, but it came at the biggest half marathon event she said she had ever undertaken. She somehow outran a field of more than 15,000 runners from across the country and beyond to earn her “wings” and a gold Tinker Bell finishers medal. And she did it in impressive fashion – her winning time of 1:25:40 was the third-fastest in the race’s three-year history.

Who says this isn’t the place Where Dreams Come True?

“I had finished second in a few half marathons, but I had never won one,” said Hernandez. “And I had never run in a race this big before either, so it was really nice to win my first one here.”
2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Start Line at the Disneyland Resort

Hernandez’s win capped a magical weekend of race events that included a new Disneyland 10K, a Never Land Family Fun Run 5K, several runDisney Kids Races, a Pasta Party and a health and fitness expo. In all, more than 30,000 runners participated in the various weekend race events, making this one of the largest women-focused race weekends in the country.

If you want to try to make your running dreams come true like Hernandez, registration for the Disneyland Half Marathon opens January 28 at


  • How inspiring!! I am just now going to start training to run a half marathon in 2015 and I plan on involving my kids in the races. I am so excited:) Big congrats and well wishes to all the runners in 2014. Make every mile magical***

Comments are closed.