LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 8, 2014 – One of Central Florida’s largest sporting events, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna is underway, drawing runners from around the globe to Central Florida.
Each January, Central Florida becomes the center of the globe for thousands of runners who participate in the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. Runners come from more than 60 countries and all 50 states, making the event arguably the largest sporting event in Central Florida and on par with some of the area’s largest conventions.
This year, the race weekend has expanded to five days and includes a 10K, along with the Family Fun Run 5K, the Disney Half Marathon, the Disney Marathon and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. That creates the opportunity for an unparalleled proposition in the running industry: The Dopey Challenge – running all four timed events in successive days (48.6 miles) for the chance to earn an unprecedented six medals.
With more than 50,000 runners registered, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend ranks among the most popular destination races, reflecting a growing trend in sports tourism. As more athletes combine vacation fun with the adventure and challenge of an endurance sport, the weekend has grown from approximately 5,500 runners in 1994 to more than100,000 athletes and spectators expected this year.
From children’s races to the full marathon, each activity features uniquely Disney elements such as race courses through Disney theme parks, signature Disney characters and entertainment, first-class event management and exclusive race medals for marathon participants. All these elements, combined with a flat running course led Runners’ World Magazine to rank Walt Disney World Resort races among the top ten for beginners.