Archive for runDisney

American Runner Wins 25th Annual Walt Disney World Marathon for First Time in 14 Years

On the 25th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon, Nick Hilton ushered in a new era, ending Brazil’s recent dominance after becoming the first American to win the popular race since 2004. Hilton, 28, is only the fourth American runner to win the 26.2-mile race that stretches through all four Disney theme parks and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Central Florida resort. The last American winner was Matthew Dobson 14 years ago. Before Hilton’s win Sunday, a Brazilian runner had won the race six of the past seven years, including the last four.

By contrast, the women’s division remained decidedly Brazilian as Giovanna Martins of Sao Paulo won for the third time in the last four years. In fact, she became the only three-time

women’s winner in race history after crossing the finish line in 2:47:22, well ahead of Jackie Hall of St. Charles, Missouri (2:49:48) and Alicia Cevallos of Quito, Ecuador (2:50:49).

Hilton’s victory had extra significance. In addition to the victory coming one year after he got engaged at Walt Disney World Resort, his winning time qualified the Tucson, Arizona resident for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the 2020 Summer Games.

“I feel amazing,’’ said Hilton, who hasn’t had a lot of success in marathon races. “The marathon has been a mixed bag for me, so to come back to a place (Walt Disney World

Resort) that means a lot to me and my wife, and to come back and win, feels amazing.’’

And the Disney Marathon field of 25,500 made him earn it. Hilton battled three other contenders for most of the race and didn’t pull away until the late stages. He finished in a blistering 2:17:52 – more than two minutes ahead of Vanilson Neves of Sao Paulo (2:20:25) who was followed by Nicholas Caprario of Kansas City, Missouri (2:21:31).

“I had a great group of guys who ran with me,’’ Hilton said. “By about mile 20, there were two of us and we started running some 5 flats (five-minute mile pace). I just happened to hold on a little bit better towards the end of the race.’’

The Disney marathon weekend, which began in 1994 with one race involving roughly 8,000 runners, has since grown to more than 100,000 runners and spectators in its 25th year and remains one of the most popular marathons in the nation and is widely regarded as the first entertainment-focused marathon in the country. Over the years, nearly a million people of various ages and abilities have run in a Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend race, including 76 who have now run all 25 Disney marathons.

In celebration of the anniversary, every runner was given a commemorative finisher’s medal and special 25th anniversary Mickey Mouse ears to wear after crossing the finish line at Epcot on what was a sunny but unseasonably cool Florida morning. In addition, there were special entertainment experiences every half mile along the course, from full marching bands in three of the theme parks to a 100-member choir near Mile 26 to nostalgic Disney movie soundtracks playing along Main Street U.S.A., at Magic Kingdom, plus exciting meet & greet opportunities with beloved Disney characters throughout the course.

The race was the final day of a five-day race weekend that featured kids’ races, a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon before Sunday’s marathon, plus a health and fitness expo. Registration information for the four upcoming Disney race weekends is at 

Walt Disney World Resort Celebrates 25 Years of Marathons with Central Florida’s Largest Sports Event

The 25th annual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna, ranks among the nation’s most popular destination races, growing from 8,200 runners in 1994 to more than 100,000 athletes and spectators expected at the event this year, including 76 “perfects” (runners who have participated in every Walt Disney World Marathon). As Central Florida’s largest sporting event, the four-day race weekend offers activities for runners of all ages and levels including the 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathonrunDisney Kids Races and runDisney Health and Fitness Expo.

Storylines include: 

Georgia Cleland (Ruxton, Md.) is attempting to tackle her first marathon, which is remarkable given she is still trying to overcome the lingering effects of the life-threatening acute lymphocytic leukemia she battled as a child. Now 33 years old and having grappled with intense treatments, including cranial radiation and chemotherapy, she is running with Team in Training, the campaign her father founded in her honor 30 years ago.  Team in Training is the world’s largest endurance sports fundraising and training program, raising more than $1.5 billion for research to fight blood cancers.

Tony Randolph (Baltimore, Md.), who was once nearly homeless and wrestling with substance abuse, is an example for everyone that there is no hill too high to climb. Randolph, who is running the 5K this weekend, has used running to help him leave his homelessness and substance issues behind, and now has stable housing and his own landscape business with the help of the Back on My Feet organization. The national non-profit organization supported by the Cigna Foundatiocombats homelessness through running and community support.

Bindu Panapalli (Glen Allen, Va.)  has tried to help cancer patients for years through her job as a lab technician. Now she is a walking, talking – and running – example of how to courageously fight the disease. Despite several surgical procedures and chemotherapy treatments over an 18-month period, Panapalli is running the 10K this weekend as a testament to others who are trying to overcome similar challenges. Afterwards, she will be back at work helping fellow cancer patients while also working toward a doctorate degree.

When & Where: 

Walt Disney World 5K Race:Date: Thursday, Jan. 4

Start 5:30 a.m.

Arrive at Epcot by 4:30 a.m. for live coverage of the start and finish line.
Walt Disney World 10K Race: Date: Friday, Jan. 5Start 5:30 a.m. Arrive at Epcot by 4:30 a.m. for live coverage of the start and finish line.
Walt Disney World Half Marathon Race:Date: Saturday, Jan. 6

Start 5:30 a.m.

Arrive at Epcot by 3:30 a.m. for live coverage of the start and finish line.
25th annual Walt Disney World Marathon Race:Date: Sunday, Jan. 7

Start 5:30 a.m.

Arrive at Epcot by 3:30 a.m. for live coverage of the start and finish line.

Female Runner Records Historic Victory at Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

Brazilian runner, Giovanna Martins, believed to be first woman to win a major half marathon; More than 15,000 runners tackle 13.1-mile race across Walt Disney World Resort; Race video and photos available

Giovanna Martins of Salto, Brazil made history Sunday in winning the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. She is believed to be the first woman to be the overall winner of a major half marathon race (more than 10,000 male and female runners) and the first runDisney female runner to reach the finish line first in the 13.1-mile race.

The 34-year-old runner dashed past second-place finisher, Paul Graham of Whitehaven, UK (1:19:22) winning the race by six seconds with a time of 1:19:16. Joseph Dreher of Melbourne, FL took third place with a time of 1:20:27.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time a female runner has won a major half marathon race that included both male and female runners,” said race director Jon Hughes. “What I think is amazing is that in the 80s, the race field was only 15% women. Fast forward to today and our race participants are nearly 65% female. It’s exciting to see the growth of female participation, and to see women becoming more competitive and making gains in the industry.”

“To be the first, now that’s historic for Brazil, it’s historic for this race. It’s a story I’ll tell my family, friends and students. I’ll never forget it,” said Martins.

Martins, who won the women’s division of last year’s Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, broke her personal record for the race. She is the only female runner to win four runDisney races at Walt Disney World Resort – winning the women’s division at the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2015 and 2017. Last year, Martins learned that her nephew was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, inspiring her to run on his behalf and spread awareness for kids with similar conditions.

Following the race on Sunday, thousands of runners attended the Post-Race Party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Martins was one of 35,000 runners who participated in the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend presented by MISFIT, which included the Disney Fall Feast 5K, Disney Wine and Dine 10K, Kids races, Disney Two Course Challenge (running the 10K and half marathon), plus a Health & Fitness Expo featuring the latest in fitness apparel and products.

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend is the first of four runDisney race weekends at Walt Disney World Resort for the 2017-2018 race season. For more information on race schedules and registrations, visit

San Diego Runner on Inspirational Journey Conquers Challenge at 2017 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Hayley Brown (San Diego, Calif.), who was involved in a plane crash, participated in the Disney Two-Course Challenge at the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend presented by MISFIT™ (Nov. 4-5) at Walt Disney World Resort.

In June 2012, Brown, who was age 18 at the time, was traveling to volunteer at a medical clinic in Sinaloa, Mexico when her four-seat Cessna plane hit a power line, ripping off the wing and crashing the plane into a river.

Brown suffered internal injuries, broken bones, lacerations and a head injury that required her to be placed into a medically induced coma for a week.

After three months of recovery and missing her high school graduation, Brown returned to school and a more normal life with the help of running.

Brown, now 23, has run an ultramarathon, three marathons and countless half marathons, and she ran in the 10K and half marathon races during Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

She was among more than 35,000 runners who participated in the eighth annual Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which included runDisney Kids Races, 5K, 10K, half marathon races and the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo. This year, the expo featured a new Interactive Zone with Disney character meet and greets, yoga for runners, games and much more.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Returns

The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend takes place Nov. 2-5. Presented by MISFIT, the event coincides with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The food- and fitness-inspired weekend includes runDisney Kids Races, a 5K and a 10K. The weekend concludes with the Sunday half marathon that takes participants through multiple Disney theme parks and culminates at Epcot. Later that night, runners enjoy a festive and exclusive after-hours party in the park.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Returns

The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend takes place Nov. 2-5. Presented by MISFIT, the event coincides with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The food- and fitness-inspired weekend includes runDisney Kids Races, a 5K and a 10K. The weekend concludes with the Sunday half marathon that takes participants through multiple Disney theme parks and culminates at Epcot. Later that night, runners enjoy a festive and exclusive after-hours party in the park.

runDisney Training Consultant Jeff Galloway Shares Hydration Tips for Runners on National Hydration Day

June 23 is National Hydration Day, and as the weather heats up, it’s important to remember to replace fluids lost to sweat and activity. Disney Sports caught up with Olympian and official runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway for an exclusive conversation, getting his expert tips on staying hydrated while training this summer.

During the conversation, Galloway discussed a range of topics, such as why water is better than sports drinks during running; why trying to set a personal record in the summer is maybe not the best idea; and how much water is too much when training.

Below is an excerpt from that conversation: 

Disney Sports: We’re getting into summer and it’s getting hotter and hotter. If you’re training this time of year for a race, how can you be sure you’re staying properly hydrated?

Jeff Galloway: You want to have a hydration program that goes all day long, every day. The recommendation generally for decades has been an 8-oz. glass of water every hour and a half, for a total of 8 glasses a day. That’s pretty good. But where people err is during the summer, people get busy and they don’t drink enough. So, if they’re exercising, they’re running on empty, and that’s a problem.

Going into your runs, a person should drink 2-4 oz. of water every two miles. You can adjust that based on what’s best for you, but the bottom line is you will be losing more fluid than you can absorb. If you try to drink the amount you’re losing, you made induce a condition called hypernatremia, which is when the body has too much fluid.

Be mindful of the amount you’re consuming in an hour. No more than 20 oz. If you’re drinking 20-oz. in an hour for several hours, you’re at risk of hypernatremia.

DS: When running, what is better to hydrate with – water or a sports drink, like Powerade?

JG: According to digestive research I’ve read, the electrolytes you consume from a sports drink can’t really be processed during a marathon or a long run. The other thing is, they are more likely to lead to nausea, and I am against puking!

The difference between running and other sports [like football or basketball] is that you are stopping and going. When you’re stopped, the exertion level goes down. When a player goes to sit on the bench, it goes down further. At that point, electrolytes can be digested. With long distance running, you’re continuously exerting. There’s very little blood flow going to the gut, so very little gets absorbed. So the benefit from electrolytes that you see in other sports just isn’t really there during distance running.

DS: Is it more beneficial to hydrate before or after a run?

JG: If you’re running first thing in the morning after you wake up, it’s always good to drink a glass of water first, as you are dehydrated from not drinking anything while you sleep. But it also depends on how long the run is. The bottom line is if you drink too much before a long run, you’ll need to go to the bathroom frequently. My recommendation is as soon as you wake up, drink a glass of 6-8 oz. of water or a cup of coffee. This gives you a change to hydrate, but still use the bathroom before a long run. If a short run (70 min. or less), drinking right before won’t be a significant benefit.

DS: How do you need to hydrate differently for a hot and humid climate like the southeast, verses arid and dry, like out west?

JG: The guidelines really hold across climate. What can happen in dry climates, though, is that people will not feel they need to drink as much fluid. They feel cooler and more comfortable because of the evaporation effect. You don’t get that effect in humidity; you get into the cycle of getting hotter, so you sweat more. But it’s important to keep consuming fluids, even if you don’t feel hot.

One way to help stay cool and hydrated is to pour water over the top of your head regularly on a run. If you’re in a humid climate, an additional thing you can do is have an ice chest of ice water and run loops in such a way that you can come back to it every mile and a half. If you pour water on yourself, it gives you a good relief for at least a mile from the heat build-up.

After a long run or a hard run, people are really thirsty and want to drink three or four glasses of water right away, but you need to pace. If you introduce too much fluid to the body right away, it can make you sick, or worse. There have been cases where people have died after a race because of how they drank.

DS: What you eat is also a factor for hydration. What should you eat – or not eat – while training to stay hydrated?

JG: What you eat can cause more problems when it’s hot. Nausea is induced when stress level builds up, but particularly from exertion. One of your brain’s best ways to shut you down when you’re getting too hot is to make you puke. It’s very effective! Because then you stop and cool off. You should monitor your food intake so that you’re eating things that will digest easily, and not eating large portions as you get close to a run. You should avoid overeating and things that don’t digest well, such as fatty foods or too much protein (like a whole steak or multiple chicken breasts).

DS: How does the heat impact how a person should train, if at all?

JG: You need to slow down when running in the heat. Most of our runners live in the southern portion of the U.S., and our guideline is slowdown 30 seconds per mile for every 5-degree temperature increase above 55 degrees. (If you’re in a country that uses kilometers, you should decrease your pace 20 seconds per kilometer for every 2.5 centigrade increase above 14 Celsius.)

You need to run slower because it can be very dangerous, running in the heat. Heat disease is the leading cause of death for runners. It happens because people don’t slow down, so they’re overexerting and pushing their core body temperature up. If you make the adjustment to more walking and less running, it’s possible to train in the summer without getting close to heat disease.

Another way to stay safe while running in the summer is to get your run in before the sun gets above the horizon. The low overnight in some places can be 95 or even 100 degrees, so once the sun comes up, it can be even hotter, especially in humid conditions.

For more training and hydration tips from Galloway as well as more information about the runDisney race series, which offers participants the opportunity to experience magical miles through the theme parks of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California and Disneyland Paris in France, visit Also, for information about the Galloway Training Program, click here.


It’s a weekend of galactic fun and fantastic runs during the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side – at the Walt Disney World® Resort!  Guests can book a Magic Your Way® Package with Race Registration for the 2018 Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend, April 19-22, 2018.

Race registrations for the 2018 Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend events listed below can be included with Vacation Packages.

Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side – Guests can feel the force on this 13.1 mile thrilling adventure.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Star Wars Dark Side Challenge – The ultimate test of strength and endurance.

Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22, 2018

Star Wars 10K – Packed with 6.2 miles of running excitement.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Star Wars  5K – The entire family can thrill to the excitement of a Star Wars 5K!

Friday, April 20, 2018

runDisney Kids Races – There’s fun for runners of every age!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

For more information, visit, or call 407-WDW-IRUN.



Here’s your chance to join the Disney princesses in a “dream come true” weekend of majestic runs in the most magical place on earth! Book a Magic Your Way® Package with Race Registration for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Feb. 22-25, 2018. And, once they’ve registered for one or more of the weekend’s events, you can use your Magic Your Way Package to enjoy the rest of their vacation at the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Race registrations for the 2018 Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend events listed below can be included with Vacation Packages.

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon – Here’s the run that’s fit for a Princess – a 13.1 mile magical course. Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018.

Disney Princess Enchanted 10K – This event will take your Clients on an enchanted journey throughout Epcot® before having a magical finish fit for a princess, or prince. Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

Glass Slipper Challenge – A 19.3-mile adventure held over two days, participants will run the Disney Enchanted 10K on Saturday, followed by the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday. Saturday, Feb. 24 and Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018.

Disney Princess 5K – A royal opportunity to share the magic as a family. Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.

runDisney Kids Races – Every Prince & Princess is a winner during the runDisney Kids Races! Friday, Feb. 24, 2018.

For more information, visit, or call 407-WDW-IRUN.


It’s a weekend of galactic fun and fantastic runs during the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side – at the Walt Disney World® Resort!  And now for a limited time, April 20 – May 1, 2017, you can book Race Registration with a Magic Your Way® Package for the 2018 Star WarsHalf Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend, which takes place April 19-22, 2018.

Guests will be able to Book 2018 Star Wars™ Half Marathon – The Dark Side Packages with Race Registration at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo During The 2017 Star Wars™ Half Marathon – The Dark Side!

A Magic Your Way Package allows guests to enjoy Disney fun for the whole family throughout the race weekend.  They pick their favorite Disney Resort hotel and the number of days for their Theme Park ticket.

Plus, when guests stay at a Disney Resort hotel they’ll enjoy special benefits, including complimentary MagicBands and early access to Disney FastPass+ planning up to 60 days before they arrive!

Booking Window:  April 20 – May 1, 2017

Travel Window:  April 12 – April 30, 2018