Walt Disney World Marathon

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Walt Disney World Marathon
LocationWalt Disney World
Event typeroad race
Primary sponsorCigna
Official siteOfficial website

The Walt Disney World Marathon is an annual marathon and weekend race series held every January in Orlando, Florida held by runDisney, a race series and division of Disney Sports Enterprises.

The marathon weekend currently (as of 2006) includes a 5K, a 10K, a Half Marathon, and a Marathon, as well as the Goofy, Dopey, and Castaway Cay Challenge.[1]


The first marathon, run in January of 1994, featured 5,588 runners. This marathon was the first race that launched the Disney Endurance Series, which is now runDisney.[2]

In 1995, the men's current race record was set by Leonid Shvetsov, of Russia, at 2:11:50. While in 1996, electronic timing was first used to produce race results.[3]

With the 1998 fifth anniversary of the WDW Marathon having a theme of “Herculean Entertainment”, the inaugural Donald Half Marathon is held on the same day until 2005. A corporate relay option was also added to the marathon.

In 2003, the first local resident, Bea Marie Alitieri of Clermont, won the 10th anniversary of the WDW Marathon women's division at a pace of 2:53:10. Brazilian Adriano Bastos began his eight-year streak of consecutive marathon wins in 2003. The 10th anniversary also saw the debut of the "perfect" program, which included 152 runners who had completed all ten Marathons between 1994 and 2003.

In 2006, the first Goofy Race and Half Challenge is first given with the full and half marathons were first ran on separate days, Saturday and Sunday.[3]

The 2010 races set two records with the largest participant field (55,000) and the coldest starting temperatures (low 30s). Also in 2010, the first Pre-race Pasta Party and a Post Race Celebration were held at Epcot.[3]

In 2011 the racers were allowed to vote for the medal design and it was the year of “Marathon Monday”. Bastos' winning streak was broken by fellow Brazilian Fredison Costa. The 2012 year was the 15th anniversary of the Donald Half Marathon which saw the only running of the Walt Disney World Chip and Dale Marathon Relay.[3]

The 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon was held in 2013, as 95 marathon runners who ran all 20 marathons were recognized. 2013 was the first year where men were outnumbered by the women (57%).[3]

The 2014 World Marathon Weekend added the Walt Disney World 10K plus the Dopey Challenge for completing all four weekend races.[4] RunDisney reduced the number of registration allowed for the races and add more race corrals and gender-specific sizing for participant shirts.[3]

A new medal was introduced for the Goofy Challenge for its 10th anniversary in 2015.[3] The Castaway Cay Challenge race was inaugurated in 2015, with those that ran a Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 5K plus distance race and booked the next cruise on Disney Dream. 700 racers participated in this 5K race on the Disney Cruise Line's private island, Castaway Cay.[1]

The Marathon celebrated its 25th anniversary in January 2018, at which time the field of 26,000 participants included the remaining 76 "perfect" runners who had completed all 25 Marathons between 1994 and 2018. 75-year-old Gretna, Louisiana native Rudy Smith was the oldest of those "perfect" participants, completing his 57th career marathon in a time of 5:01:03.[5] That year, Lock Haven University alum Nicholas Hilton broke the 13-year streak of Brazilian victors (compiled by Adriano Bastos and Fredison Costa) to become just the second American male to win the Marathon.[6]

Hilton won again in 2020, becoming the first American male to win the race twice. Temperatures during the event reached a record high of 84 degrees, prompting event coordinators to shorten the course by two miles and send out a text message to participants: "Given today's rising temperatures and the length of the race, for our runners' safety, we are modifying the remainder of the event."[7] The message was further clarified on Twitter: "Even with the modified course – run times will still be recorded and runners will receive medals at the finish line."


Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park was added to the marathon route in 1995. The course was again redesigned in 1999 to included the newly opened Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.[3] The course was changed again in 2013, adding a lap around the Walt Disney World Speedway plus some distance in the ESPN Wide World of Sports. In 2020, the course was amended to remove the Wide World of Sports segment that many runners had come to call "The Rat Maze" and replace it with a segment passing through the eastern portion of Blizzard Beach.[8]


Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, introduced in 2006, involves completing both the Half Marathon on Saturday and the full Marathon on Sunday for a combined 39.3 miles over two days.

The Dopey Challenge, introduced in 2014 along with the Disney World 10K, involves completing all four races – the Disney World 5K on Thursday, the Disney World 10K on Friday, the Half Marathon on Saturday, and the full Marathon on Sunday – for a combined 48.6 miles over four days. Runners who complete the Dopey Challenge are also awarded the Goofy's Challenge medal.

The Castaway Cay Challenge, introduced in 2015, involves completing any Marathon Weekend race before boarding the Disney Dream at Port Canaveral the following Monday and sailing to Castaway CayDisney Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas– to complete a 5K race across the island.

List of winners[edit]

Brazilian Adriano Bastos holds the record of most WDW Marathon wins at eight,[9] while Brazilian Giovanna Martins holds the women's record at four.[10]


Edition Date Men's winner Time (h:m:s) Women's winner Time (h:m:s)
27th January 12, 2020  Nicholas Hilton (USA) 2:22:19  Giovanna Martins (BRA) 2:54:19
26th January 13, 2019  Fredison Costa (BRA)[10] 2:18:45  Giovanna Martins (BRA)[10] 2:45:24
25th January 7, 2018  Nicholas Hilton (USA)[11] 2:17:52  Giovanna Martins (BRA)[12] 2:47:22
24th[9][13] January 8, 2017  Fredison Costa (BRA) 2:23:15  Giovanna Martins (BRA) 2:48:05
23rd[9][14] January 10, 2016  Fredison Costa (BRA) 2:33:22  Natasha Yaremczuk (CAN) 2:52:21
22nd January 11, 2015  Fredison Costa (BRA) 2:18:06  Giovanna Martins (BRA) 2:50:20
21st January 12, 2014  Fredison Costa (BRA) 2:21:39  Angela Brito (ECU) 2:47:44
20th January 13, 2013  Adriano Bastos (BRA) 2:21:16  Renee High (USA) 2:48:30
19th January 8, 2012[15]  Fredison Costa (BRA) 2:19:02  Renee High (USA) 2:48:35
18th January 9, 2011  Fredison Costa (BRA) 2:21:15  Leah Thorvilson (USA) 2:42:11
17th January 10, 2010  Adriano Bastos (BRA) 2:22:08  Lisa Mizutani (JPN) 2:51:20
16th January 11, 2009  Adriano Bastos (BRA) 2:20:38  Lisa Mizutani (JPN) 2:46:27
15th January 13, 2008  Adriano Bastos (BRA) 2:20:58  Melanie Peters (USA) 2:47:32
14th January 7, 2007  Adriano Bastos (BRA) 2:19:24  Gabriela Trana (CRC) 2:57:04
13th January 8, 2006  Adriano Bastos (BRA) 2:19:44  Paige Higgins (USA) 2:51:38
12th January 9, 2005  Adriano Bastos (BRA) 2:19:16  Amy Shertzer (USA) 2:56:06
11th January 11, 2004  Matthew Dobson (USA) 2:27:58  Kim Donaldson (USA) 2:59:13
10th January 12, 2003  Adriano Bastos (BRA) 2:18:33  Bea Marie Altieri (USA) 2:53:10
9th January 6, 2002  Dai Roberts (GBR) 2:32:38  Ilda Santos (BRA) 2:48:38
8th January 7, 2001  Chris Teague (GBR) 2:26:38  Ilda Santos (BRA) 2:46:40
7th January 9, 2000  Jose Silva (BRA) 2:25:40  Jennifer Uwins (USA) 2:54:51
6th January 10, 1999  Santiago de Araujo (BRA) 2:24:28  Marina Jones (USA) 2:54:19
5th January 11, 1998  Santiago de Araujo (BRA) 2:23:25  Luybov Klochko (UKR) 2:44:47
4th January 5, 1997  Dick Hooper (IRE) 2:31:19  Larisa Zyuzko (RUS) 2:41:13
3rd January 7, 1996  Miguel Upegui (COL) 2:23:26  Luybov Klochko (UKR) 2:45:12
2nd January 8, 1995  Leonid Shvetsov (RUS) 2:11:50  Judit Nagy (HUN) 2:31:54
1st January 16, 1994  Leonid Shvetsov (RUS)[16] 2:14:27  Judit Nagy (HUN) 2:32:32

Key:   Course record

Half marathon[edit]

Year Men's winner Time (h:m:s) Women's winner Time (h:m:s)
2019  Joao Marcelo Avelar (BRA)[17] 1:08:54  Tina Muir (USA)[17] 1:19:45
2018  Joao Marcelo Avelar (BRA) 1:08:28  Brittany Charbaneau (USA) 1:17:37
2016  Joao Marcelo Avelar (BRA) 1:10:17  Megan Curham (USA) 1:14:29
2015  Luke Humphrey (USA) 1:08:56  Megan Goethals (USA) 1:16:25
2014  Mike Morgan (USA) 1:09:39  Laurie Knowles (USA) 1:17:59
2013  Mike Morgan (USA) 1:05:26  Melissa White (USA) 1:14:56
2012[15]  Jose de Morais (BRA) 1:10:12  Rosa Chacha (ECU) 1:16:43
2011  Tim Young (USA) 1:05:35  Jenny Scherer (USA) 1:17:35
2010  Chad Johnson (USA) 1:07:02  Emily Mortensen (USA) 1:17:32
2009  David Jankowski (USA) 1:07:36  Elizabeth Chelegat (KEN) 1:17:32
2008  Chad Johnson (USA) 1:06:53  Kim Pawelek (USA) 1:18:07
2007  Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 1:10:29  Melissa White (USA) 1:15:43
2006  Josh Eberly (USA) 1:08:12  Melissa White (USA) 1:18:34
2005  Michael McGrane (USA) 1:13:08  Sabrina Monro (USA) 1:19:24
2004  Clint Verran (USA) 1:05:43  Kim Pawelek (USA) 1:18:12
2003  Ronnie Holassie (TRI) 1:07:45  Julie Peterson (USA) 1:21:05
2002  Gabriel Rodríguez (USA) 1:09:07  Monica Hostetler (USA) 1:17:34
2001  Ronnie Holassie (TRI) 1:09:49  Kim Pawelek (USA) 1:16:46
2000  Keith Brantly (USA) 1:09:46  Kim Pawelek (USA) 1:15:19
1999  Per Kristian Moerk (NED) 1:11:11  Taeko Terauchi (JPN) 1:13:04
1998  Keith Brantly (USA) 1:09:58  Joan Samuelson (USA) 1:18:37

Key:   Course record
NOTE: The Goofy Challenge, Dopey Challenge, and half marathon were not held in 2017 because of USA Track & Field lightning policy, anticipated lightning and a lack of necessary shelter on course should it be required during the race.[18] All registered half marathon runners received their half marathon medals.[19]


In November 2012, Glass Slipper Concierge travel specialist and avid runner Megan Biller began publishing a yearly "Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World" entitled Magical Miles through runWDW, LLC, "offering advice on resorts, restaurants, race registration, packing tips, spectator information, training, race day information and much more."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mauney, Matt (January 14, 2015). "Disney's private island hosts inaugural 5K challenge". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "runDisney: Then & Now". grandlegacyhotel.com. Grand Legacy At The Park. April 22, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "History of the Walt Disney World Marathon". Touringplans.com. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  4. ^ McGoldrick, Hannah (March 22, 2013). "Disney Announces New Race". Runners World. Rodale Inc. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  5. ^ Ruiz, Stephen (January 5, 2018). "As Disney World Marathon turns 25, Louisiana man, 75, prepares to keep streak alive". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Guiod, Matt (January 8, 2018). "Nick Hilton ('17) wins Disney World Marathon". The Official Website of Lock Haven University Athletics. Retrieved June 20, 2018. External link in |publisher= (help)
  7. ^ "Disney's Marathon Weekend melts into the record books". https://insidethemagic.net/. Inside the Magic. January 12, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2020. External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ Holliday, Patty (January 5, 2020). "2020 Disney World Marathon Corrals, Waivers, Course Maps & Event Guide!". No-Guilt Disney. Retrieved January 6, 2020. External link in |publisher= (help)
  9. ^ a b c Rapp, Timothy (January 10, 2016). "Disney World Marathon 2016 Results: Men's and Women's Top Finishers". Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Fredison Costa wins Disney World Marathon for 7th time; Giovanna Martins claims 4th women's title". orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. January 13, 2019.
  11. ^ "Nick Hilton snaps Fredison Costa's streak of 4 Disney World Marathon titles in row". orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. January 7, 2018.
  12. ^ "Brazil's Giovanna Martins claims record 3rd Walt Disney World Marathon women's title". orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. January 7, 2018.
  13. ^ "Fredison Costa wins 4th Disney World Marathon title in row". OrlandoSentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. January 8, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  14. ^ "Thousands of runners participate in Walt Disney World Marathon". Bay 9.com. Bright House Networks. January 11, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon All-Time Records". Disney Sports News. Disney Sports Public Relations. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  16. ^ "Shvetsov, Nagy Triumph". tribunedigital-orlandosentinel. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  17. ^ a b https://www.trackshackresults.com/disneysports/results/wdw/wdw19/Overall%20Results%20HM.pdf
  18. ^ WFLA Web Staff (January 6, 2017). "Bad weather prompts cancellation of Saturday's Walt Disney World Marathon race events". WFLA. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  19. ^ "BREAKING: Walt Disney World 1/2 Marathon Cancelled Along with All Saturday Events". wdwnt.com/. January 6, 2017.

External links[edit]