Three-time Olympian Kim Smith set a new course record for the Disney Princess Half Marathon race that took place Feb. 23 at the Walt Disney World Resort. The race celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2014.
Smith’s record-beating time of 1:11:49 was nearly six minutes faster than the course record set by Rachel Booth in 2013, who finished in 1:17:38. Smith, a 32-year-old New Zealand native who currently lives in Rhode Island, also holds the time for the fastest half marathon run by a woman in the U.S., a distinction she earned at the 2011 Rock ‘n Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon for her 1:07:36 finish.
Two sisters from Columbia, SC – Kimberly Ruck and Alyssa Kulik, both 24 – finished in second and third place, respectively, crossing the line together at 1:26:15. Ruck officially finished second.
Smith was competing in her first runDisney race as a member of Team New Balance. In addition to her fast finish, Smith was using the Disney Princess Half Marathon as a training run for the 2014 London Marathon that takes place in April.
Smith was greeted at the finish line by Miss America Nina Davuluri, who was on hand for the post-run activities that are part of runDisney’s festive race-day atmosphere.
“Running through the Magic Kingdom was probably the best part of the race. The crowds there were great and everyone is cheering you on,” Smith told runDisney. “It’s just a fun event and pretty low-key for an elite athlete to do. But definitely a lot of fun and I’d recommend it to people out there.”
Smith’s first-place finish placed her ahead of the ahead of more than 24,000 runners, mostly women as befitting the race’s focus. (Men are welcome to run the Princess, with or without tutus and tiaras, but their finishes are not timed and their times aren’t listed in the official results.)
Overall, more than 40,000 runners participates in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend events, which included Cinderella Royal Family 5K, the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, runDisney Kids Races and Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo. This year’s Disney Princess Half Marathon also marked the inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge, a two-day running event in which athletes complete the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is one of seven annual runDisney events and one of two first women-focused event.; the other is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, which in 2015 will take place in May at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA.