More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

The runDisney Race Season is Underway and Runners Continue to Inspire

Darrell Fry

by , Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort

The runDisney race season is in full swing, and with special Disney touches like themed finisher medals and fun character appearances, each race is sure to be an experience unlike any other. Next up in January are the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna and the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Light Side, which like all runDisney races will offer something for runners of all ages and levels.

Our runDisney race weekends hold particularly special relevance for certain runners who have inspiring stories of triumph. Take Rachel Talise, for instance. Overcoming temporary paralysis, Rachel triumphantly completed the Doctor Strange 10K during the recent Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort.

Rachel was used to running at least two half marathons per year, but in August 2014, she suddenly became paralyzed from the waist down and in her hands. The cause was Guillain–Barré syndrome, a very rare condition (1 or 2 cases per 100,000 people annually) that results in the immune system attacking the nervous system, leaving many patients without full mobility. After three months of physical and occupational therapy, she regained some movement and learned how to walk again. Even though she was not yet fully recovered, Rachel was determined to get back to running. The Doctor Strange 10K was her first since being diagnosed.

Check out the video below to see Rachel’s incredible journey,

If you are running in an upcoming runDisney race and have an inspirational or extraordinary story, we’d love to hear it! Please submit your story for consideration at


  • Thank you so much for the encouragement, Rachel! Over the last year, I’ve developed pretty bad bunions which in turn have messed up the tendons in my feet, and I’ve wondered if I should give up my Disney 5Ks if I can’t even keep from limping. But if Rachel can come back from paralysis, I can definitely keep going, too. Never Land 5K, here I come!

  • very nice… I ended up almost not being able to partake in the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend (Double Dare Challenge) after I had a back injury over the summer that peaked a week after the Disneyland Dazzle at Dawn 5k. The nerve damage was enough that I lost most of the strength in my right leg. I completed the Dumbo Double Dare somehow and almost got pulled from the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge by my neurosurgeon. A lot of physical therapy and doing my daily stretches and exercises was enough to clear me with that doctor, just needed clearance from my physical therapist. It wasn’t until 2 weeks before race weekend that I got the final clearance. I managed to shave nearly 15 minutes off my previous time… and now I’m preparing for the Rebel and Glass Slipper Challenges to start off my year with several other runDisney challenge runs on my plate for 2017.

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