"Have a Magical Experience" is how my phone call, awaking me on Sunday morning for the sixteen WDW Marathon greeted me. I had set my iphone alarm, so I knew that I had another thirty minutes of magical experiences, but this did get me thinking....
The attention to detail in major events, for them to be successful, is key. I can think of very few that do it as well as the Disney sports team on WDW weekend. Having attended most of WDW events over the last sixteen years, I try to do several things-see the starts of at least one event, then hang out until the very end of the marathon, to see the last finisher.
This year's first male finisher, Adriano Bastos of Sao Paolo, Brazil is committed to making his now sixt titles ten titles. At the age of thirty, and the recovery he showed afterwards, I have few doubts of his capabilities....
Bastos is a tremendous athlete. He makes two hour, twenty minute marathons look like a walk in the park. That thought was burnt into my memory as I watched the next dozen finishers, who finished happy, but worn out. Putting twenty six miles, one after another, at a pace that most high schoolers cannot hold for a mere mile in Physical Ed class, is no mean feat.
Lisa Mizutani of Tsukuba, Japan ran a nice 2;46:27 athlete for the first women finisher at the WDW marathon. She was twenty-seventh place overall, out of a field of nearly 14,000 finishers.
Mizutani's victory will be news in Japan, not because of her time, but because of the popularity of the Disney brand and characters in Japan.
This again gets us on the topic of where WDW fits in the firmament of world marathons. I was recently asked that by our WDW weekend's Sheldon. " How good is the Disney marathon?" Sheldon queried. My immediate response was, " Oh, in terms of numbers,
quality of operation, it is a top ten. " I believe that.
WDW has taken a world class vacation spot, in the only warm spot in the country this weekend, added a 5k, half marathon and marathon, plus just great Florida weather to make this a no-brainer. Destination marathon? WDW started it.
You see other marathons around the country called Destination marathons. In my mind, the entire Elite Racing Series can use that name. From Seattle to San Antonio, from Philly
to San Diego, Elite has developed a series of destination marathons.
Disney has so much more to work with, and they do it with style. This was driven home to me as I stood at the finish line, waiting for last finisher of the day. Creigh Kelly, the
race announcer, told me that the cut off would be around 7 hours, fourteen minutes. The fourteen minutes were added as that was when the last starter crossed the starting line.
So I stood at the finish line at about seven hours, having seen the first finishers in both races, and many in between, I wanted to see the last finishers of the day.
At about seven hours, sixteen minutes, I watched a team of Team in training coaches from Michigan come by with one of their athletes, who finished with one of the Chipmunks ( I can not tell them apart).
It was, however, twelve minutes later, as the red bike came into site, and a women, walking with several friends, obviously her first marathon, walked through the finish line with Disney characters, as Creigh Kelly encouraged the remained fans to applaud her finish, as she walked 26.2 miles in just over seven hours, and twenty-eight minutes.
And thus ended another weekend of small victories, 45,000 in fact, as men, women and children, celebrated being alive by running, walking and jogging a 5k, half marathon
or full marathon. All shapes, all sizes, all levels of development were welcomed here, and will be welcomed here next year...
The very happy face of the women's marathon winner, Lisa Mizutani....
2009 Walt Disney World Marathon
1. Adriano Bastos, Sao Paulo, BRAZIL, 2:20:38;
2. Aaron Church, South Riding, VA, 2:27:12;
3. Matthew Fecht, Warren, MI, 2:29:35;
4. Cesar Martins, Sao Paulo, BRAZIL, 2:29:52;
5. Samuel Jurek, La Crosse, WI, 2:34:35;
6. Brennan Galloway, Atlanta, GA, 2:34:49;
7. Stuart Mclay, San Salvador, EL SALVADOR, 2:35:09;
8. Kevin Lyons, Clearwater, FL, 2:35:32;
9. Daniel Conn, Orlando, FL, 2:36:29;
10. Jan Daems, Kasterlee, BELGIUM, 2:36:54;
1. Lisa Mizutani, Tsukuba, JAPAN, 2:46:27;
2. Melanie Peters, St Petersburg, FL, 2:53:49;
3. Christa Benton, St Petersburg, FL, 2:54:35;
4. Jennifer Hanley-Pinto, Jacksonville, FL, 2:56:05;
5. Natasha Yaremczuk, Paris, CANADA, 2:57:24;
6. Dana Parrot, Tampa, FL, 3:01:10;
7. Janine Peart, Jupiter, FL, 3:01:49;
8. Laura Eakin, Commerce City, CO, 3:02:19;
9. Lesley Train, Randburg, SOUTH AFRICA, 3:03:05;
10. Terri Rejimbal, Tampa, FL, 3:04:46;
Top Wheelchairs - Men
1. Krige Schabort, Cedartown, GA, 1:37:19;
2. Saul Mendoza, Wimberley, TX, 1:44:06;
3. Sean Eres, Tucson, AZ, 2:09:49;
4. Renzo Martinez, Boca Raton, FL, 2:12:47;
7. Steven Kruger, Atlanta, GA, 3:20:25;
8. Larry Porter, Jr, Springfield, IL, 3:21:34;
Top Wheelchairs - Women
1. Shirley Reilly, Tucson, AZ, 2:09:51;
2. Jacqui Kapinowski, Pt Pleasant, NJ, 2:52:10;
4. Kristen Messer, Austin, TX, 3:15:40;
5. Holly Koester, Cleveland, OH, 3:37:51;
The weekend was quite productive for the new and old members of the Running Network. After twenty-three years, new websites and some great round tables
provided our publications, new and old with ideas and some new ways to reach out to our readers. Several of our members ran races, including John Craig, editor of Athletics, and his sons Joshua and Noah. Footwear reviewer Cregg Weinmann ran the half, after a red eye flight from the West coast, and new father, Colorado Runner editor Derek Griffith and his father ran the half marathon. Missouri Runner designer, Richelle Collins ran her first race ever, the half marathon with Chris Cerer, the husband of American Track & Field editor, who kept her company. The rest of us were all over the course, chronicling the exploits of the 45,000 runners and walkers this weekend!
(Special thanks to the Disney Endurance Sports group, especially Courtney Ware, Steffany Allongo, Lauren Morningstar,Marques Edge, Creigh Kelly and race director John Hughes for their kindness to our group of twenty four publications, the Running Network, this weekend. Watch for our photo galleries and final comments and interviews later this week.)
For all of us at the Running Network, we wish you a Happy New Year, a great new year of fitness activity, and remember to make your fitness goal something achievable-start with a daily goal, then a weekly, then a monthly goal. Little by little does it.
(Note that the WDW 2010 registration opens on January 12, 2009. For further information, and register for any Disney endurance race, please go to http://www.disneyworld