Veteran Runner Posts Third Straight Victory and Fourth Overall; Costa Rica's Gabriela Trana Claims Women's Title in Marathon Debut; Florida Woman Becomes 100,000th Disney Marathon Finisher
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., In what has almost become a Disney tradition, Brazilian Adriano Bastos ran away with his fourth Walt Disney World Marathon title, becoming the first runner ever in the event's 14- year history to win four races and sweep three in a row. Bastos, 28, of Sao Paulo posted a time of 2:19:24, nearly 13 minutes faster than his closest competitor.
In the women's field, Gabriela Trana of Costa Rica, running her first marathon ever, pulled away down the stretch to win the women's title. She crossed the finish line at 2:57:03 just ahead of Christa Benton of St. Petersburg, Fla. (2:57:25) and Elizabete Cruz of Sao Paulo, Brazil (2:59:38).
In the wheelchair division, Renzo Martinez of Boca Raton, Fla. streaked to a third consecutive victory with a time of 2:24:34, followed by Rick Thigpen of Murfreesboro, Tenn. at 2:58:55.
Also, Mary Peters, of St. Augustine, Fla., became the 100,000th finisher in the event's history, finishing with a time of 4:50:19.
As Peters crossed the finish line, race officials surprised her with a special award ceremony, replete with confetti and celebratory music. She was presented a one-of-a-kind, oversized marathon medal and commemorative Mickey Mouse ears. In addition, Peters was awarded a complete 2008 Disney Marathon vacation package, including airfare, accommodations at a Disney hotel, meals, Disney theme park tickets, a VIP party and entry into both the 2008 Walt Disney World Half Marathon and 2008 Walt Disney World Marathon races.
Like last year, Bastos was virtually unchallenged over the 26.2-mile course through all four Disney theme parks, grabbing the lead at the start and never relinquishing it. Matthew Dobson, the West Florida University head track coach in Pensacola, Fla., was a distant second (2:32:22), followed by Roy Vargas of Costa Rica (2:33:42).
Bastos, who has become known for his unique and colorful hair styles he sports in past Disney Marathons, had this year's hair style -- braids in Brazilian-flag-inspired colors of yellow and green -- done by Disney's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a Downtown Disney salon that specializes in "magical makeovers." Also new to Bastos this year are two Mickey Mouse tattoos -- fittingly, one on each leg -- that he received in February 2006 following the 2006 Disney event.
"I love coming to Disney and feel like I am almost a Disney character myself," Bastos said through his interpreter.
"It's a very unique feeling knowing that no one else has won this race so many times," Bastos added. "I love Disney and I love running in this event."
Trana, 26, provided the most dramatic finish of the day, bolting from fourth place in the final four miles to challenge for the lead. With less than a mile to go, she overtook Benton to claim the title.
A record 32,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes registered for the 2007 Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon. Both events are among the 10 largest fields at their distance in the country.
For the second time in the event's history, the marathon weekend included a "Goofy's Race-and-a-Half Challenge" for participants who competed in both races and the overall 39.3 miles across Walt Disney World Resort during the two days. The runners who accomplished this impressive physical challenge received a special Goofy Medal in addition to the Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse medals, which are awarded to half marathon and marathon finishers, respectively.
The 2008 event will mark its 15th anniversary and again consist of a split-day format with the Walt Disney World Half Marathon scheduled for Jan. 12, 2008 and the Walt Disney World Marathon on Jan. 13, 2008.
Registration for both races opens on January 8, 2007.
For more information, to register for the 2008 Walt Disney World Marathon or Half Marathon and to view complete searchable race results for the 2007 events, guests may visit www.disneyworldmarathon.com.
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