Exclusive viewing areas, finish line celebration, special Disney character breakfast among new immersive features; perennial champion Adriano Bastos of Brazil going for fifth straight victory
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - (Jan. 7, 2009) - Runners and guests at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA - January 9-11 - will experience "More Magic" at this year's event through new interactive features designed to create a more immersive Disney-themed marathon experience.
Through a variety of new options, runners and spectators can gain access to exclusive viewing areas that include Internet access for live results, flat screen televisions, private restrooms and stretching areas, plus brunch following Sunday's marathon.
Spectators looking to get closer to the action will have a special opportunity to celebrate at the finish line with their friends or family members competing in the race, as well as gain access to a new "Kiddie Korner", a premium viewing area where kids can play games, watch movies and get their faces painted. Another new feature is the opportunity for runners and fans to attend a magical breakfast or dinner with many of Disney's famous characters on Friday or Saturday at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.
"These 'More Magic' features were created to provide the experiences that participants want during their weekend, providing runners and spectators with unique opportunities with the extra magic that only Disney can provide," said Disney's Endurance Series Director Kathleen Duran. "These features offer runners the VIP treatment and give their families and friends the chance to participate in the event and share in the celebration of the runner's accomplishment."
A record 45,000 people have registered for the variety of events that make up the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The main event - Sunday's 26.2-mile journey through Disney's four major theme parks - starts at 5:50am near Epcot.
Brazilian Adriano Bastos is chasing his fifth straight Disney Marathon victory and sixth overall. Bastos won his first marathon in 2003 and has won four in a row since 2005. Last year, he defeated runner-up John Garton by more than 14 minutes.
In addition to Sunday's 26.2-mile Marathon, the weekend features a Half Marathon on Saturday and a Family 5K on Friday as well as Kids Races throughout the weekend. There's also Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, which involves running the Half Marathon on Saturday and the Marathon on Sunday. The Disney Marathon Weekend also features a Health and Fitness Expo (Jan. 8-10) at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. The event, which is free, features celebrity runner appearances, the opportunity to test the latest in running and fitness equipment, and a series of seminars on training, racing and nutrition.
Registration for the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA opens Jan. 12, 2009. For more information on the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend or to register for the 2010 event, visit: DisneyWorldMarathon.com
About Disney's Endurance Series
Disney's Endurance Series gives recreational athletes of all ages and abilities the chance to walk, jog, run, bike and swim their way "around the world." From marathons to road races to triathlons, athletes from across the country and around the world compete to stay in shape, achieve personal-best times and raise donations for charitable causes. Popular Endurance Series events are the Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon (January), Disney's Princess Half Marathon presented by Lady Foot Locker (March), Expedition Everest Challenge (September), Disneyland Half Marathon (September), Disney's Race for the Taste 10K (October) and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K (October). Please visit DisneyEnduranceSeries.com for more information.
Ryan Lamppa, Running USA Media Director
(805) 696-6232; Fax = (805) 659-0016