This weekend, Jan. 10-13, Walt Disney World will host its annual marathon event presented by Cigna for the 20th consecutive year in a row featuring runners from all over the world. This year, a few celebrities have joined in on the fun as well.
The event kicks off with Disney's Health and Fitness Expo, located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Disney property. On Thursday and Friday, runners will be able to pick up their run packets with everything they will need for their race and walk around the expo for a chance to purchase limited edition gear and souvenirs. Guest speakers will also be in attendance including Olympian Jeff Galloway who has participated in each WDW Marathon since the beginning.
Races begin on Thursday afternoon with additional races Friday and Saturday for kids under the age of 13. Here, races are divided up according to age and everyone who participates gets something for their efforts.
The adults get their turn starting Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. with the Family Fun Run 5K. Here, runners race around Epcot and get to enjoy the park in a whole new way. Saturday brings the more challenging WDW Half Marathon presented by Cigna. This race takes runners from Epcot to and through the Magic Kingdom, then all the way back again to cross the finish line. Finally, On Sunday Jan. 13, runners take on the WDW Marathon presented by Cigna. As usual, runners will start at Epcot, race to the Magic Kingdom, then Animal Kingdom, then to Disney's Hollywood Studios to return to the finish line at Ecpot.
If running 13.1 miles for the half marathon or 26.2 miles for the full marathon isn't enough of a challenge, runners have also signed up for Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. Yes, participate and finish both races in the same weekend within pace requirements and earn a Goofy medal in addition to the other races' medals.
This year, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the WDW Marathon, runners who finish the marathon will receive a special finishers medal. Featuring Mickey Mouse, the medal has both the year the race began and the current year engraved on it, 1994 and 2103. What makes this medal stand out from its predecessors is that it has two spinning parts in the center. Each side of the medal also has an engraved quote from Walt Disney. A brand new post-race party will also commence to help runners celebrate their achievements.
The race's popularity has increased over the years resulting in over 55,000 runners participating in the weekend's races including celebrities like Drew Cary, Sean Astin, and Biggest Loser's Alison Sweeney. Each race, including Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, has been sold out.
Interested in participating, but don't want to wait until next year? Not to worry. Disney hosts several races throughout the year in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland parks. Take a look at runDisney's race schedule for dates and information, including the 5th anniversary of Disney's Princess Half Marathon in February.