WHAT: Inspiring stories abound during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which features several elements honoring the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World. There are uplifting stories of triumph, perseverance and honor. For instance, there’s a woman running the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon (the Dopey Challenge) who is visually impaired and a father who is competing in his 100th marathon nearly two decades after his first marathon at Walt Disney World Resort.
The race weekend also offers a unique perspective for participants. Runners will get to experience many of the most iconic elements of the resort’s 50th anniversary celebration, such as the Beacons of Magic, 50th-themed characters and original sights and sounds from when the resort first opened in 1971.
Among the marathon field, there will be 59 “perfect” runners who have participated in every Walt Disney World Marathon.
The event kicks off with a 5K on Thursday, followed by a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday and marathon on Sunday. There’s also the Dopey Challenge (all four races) and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge (half marathon and marathon). The weekend will also feature a Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, including popular runDisney merchandise like WDW Marathon Weekend event themed merchandise as well as products to enhance fitness and nutrition.
- Kayla Swope and Apryl Tidd (Blue Grass, Iowa & Kissimmee, FL) are running as a duo in runDisney’s toughest task – the Dopey Challenge (48.6 miles). Swope is visually impaired. Tidd is her guide. Swope, who has degenerative corneal disease, says she sees mostly shapes and colors with very little detail. She has gone through multiple eye surgeries yet remains an active advocate for athletes with disabilities.
- Brian Hurwitz (Boynton Beach, FL) has run in every Dopey Challenge and is set to take on all four races again this weekend, including the 26.2-mile marathon which will be his 100th! After starting to run a year earlier, he ran his first marathon – the Disney Marathon – in 2005. He continued running as a way to cope with the fact that his son was battling cancer. Now, 17 years later, he is on the verge of completing his 100th marathon at the place where it all started – Walt Disney World Resort.
WHERE: All races start and end at EPCOT. The marathon course goes through all four Disney theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT). The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo (Jan. 5-8) takes place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Media interested in covering the weekend events must contact Courtney Jasmin at least a day in advance to arrange for credentials. Media must arrive at EPCOT by 4 a.m. for coverage of the start of all races.
Courtney Jasmin, Disney Sports Public Relations, Courtney.Jasmin@disney.com
(407) 701-6838 (cell)
Darrell Fry, Disney Sports Public Relations, Darrell.Fry@disney.com
(407) 409-1612 (cell)