walt disney world marathon meetup
aka #WDWMarathonMeetup

by @according2kelly on January 7, 2013

they said the walt disney world marathon meetup (aka #WDWMarathonMeetup) was going to be the biggest & best yet. or at least that’s what runDisney promised on twitter (& if it’s on twitter, it must be true).


& as always, runDisney didn’t disappoint.

being lucky enough to have already attended the wine & dine half meetup, disneyland half meetup, the princess half meetup, & the tinkerbell half meetup, i was giddy with excitement to once again be invited to the recent runDisney walt disney world marathon weekend meetup (aka #WDWMarathonmeetup on twitter).


early friday morning, i donned my team sparkle skirt & wings, and joined the other 150+ excited runDisney enthusiasts, well-known former endurance stars, famous hollywood celebs, not to mention everyone’s favorite disney characters (mickey, donald & goofy looked spiffy in their track suits), for a very early morning run through disney’s hollywood studios.

i get goosebumps just thinking about it. it’s not often you get a chance to run alongside jeff galloway (american olympian & creator of the galloway run-walk method), bart yasso (runner’s world CRO – chief running officer), bill rodgers (running legend), dick beardsley (american long distance runner, motivational speaker), desiree davila (an elite US marathoner), adriano bastos (8 time WDW marathon winner), & joan benoit samuelson (the first-ever women’s olympic marathon champion).

rundisney meetup


walt disney world marathon meetup, aka #WDWMarathonMeetup

we spent the morning weaving up & down the streets of hollywood studios – it truly was a once in a lifetime experience.

the quiet of the park only interrupted occasionally by park employees cheering us on, and the occasional character siting.

walt disney world marathon meetup you've got a friend

we finally concluded our tour of disney’s hollywood studios in the stadium (home of lights, motors, action) where runDisney had hot chocolate, coffee, orange juice & the espn wide world of sports grill food truck waiting just for us!

after we had a moment or two to catch our breath, we all took a seat for the “program” to begin.

in typical runDisney fashion, they had lined up an impressive & informative group of speakers…

joey fatone (of N*SYNC fame) made a grand entrance cruising in on the lights, motors, action “director’s truck.”



he chatted with us about his training (or rather lack of training) for his first goofy challenge (originally he had signed up to run the 5K & had planned to cheer on his wife. but when she broke her foot, he volunteered to complete the goofy challenge in her place – what a guy!), what’s on his running play list (the black eyed peas), & he even agreed to sign a yearbook.



following joey (that’s right, i’m on a first-name basis with him), the good folks at new balance taught us about fitting yourself for the right shoe & we got the inside scoop on the new runDisney new balance shoe.



next up? a runners panel of some of the most influential & inspiring people… jeff galloway, bart yasso, dick beardsley, bill rodgers, joan benoit samuelson & desiree davila.


& while i was practically in awe the entire discussion, here are a few of my favorite “words of wisdom.”

“three aspects that need focus in your life: mind, body, and spirit. life is all about balance.” – joan benoit samuelson

“disney is the only place in the world where you hear someone say ‘i’m “only” doing a marathon.” – desiree davila

“rest is just as important as work.” – joan benoit Ssmuelson

“we need to inspire each other!” ~ joan benoit samuelson

“i split life into two categories: BC & AD. BC is before children where i use to schedule my day around running. AD is after baby diapers, now I schedule my running around my day.” ~ joan benoit samuelson


following the panel, former NFL linebacker eddie mason, comedian drew carey, & 7-time walt disney world marathon winner adriano bastos (who gets a new mickey tattoo every time he wins) all stopped by too.


as always the walt disney world marathon weekend meetup was a truly fabulous event, filled with surprises, amazing people, & in true runDisney fashion – magic in every mile.

a huge thanks to the entire runDisney team for making this incredible morning happen – especially bob hithcock, tony morreale, tammy jacobson, darrell fry & jeff galloway,


want to read walt disney world marathon weekend meetup recaps from other #WDWMarathonMeetup attendees? check out these posts:

* disney sports news
* bama girl runs
* black girls run
* dad runs disney
* elbow glitter
* half crazy mama
* happy mother runner
* healthy disney guide
* msp run
* run fast mama
* runner’s tales
* running at disney
* running with sass
* twins run in our family
* we run disney

did YOU attend the #WDWMarathonMeetup? let me know! i’ll add your meetup recap to the ever-growing list!

ready to attend the next runDisney race meetup? pay extra special attention to the runDisney facebook page, runDisney twitter account, & disney parks blog a week or two before the next runDisney race. in the past, that’s where they’ve announced the meetups.

disclosure: i was invited by runDisney to attend the entire event weekend as media – meaning they were kind enough to cover my hotel expenses at the fabulous yacht club, meals, and all of my race fees.

of course – all thoughts & opinions are 100% my own, because as you already know… i absolutely, totally & completely LOVE runDisney events.



Awesome recap as always Kelly! Great to see you again there! Thank you for the link, really appreciate it!


Love the recap! Was so great to meet you there! I finally started my own blog and just finished my meetup recap. Here it is if you don't mind adding mine to your growing list of recaps :) http://vicruns.tumblr.com/ Hope to see you again soon!


Thanks for the link love! The meetup was one of the biggest highlights of my running/blogging life lol it was such an amazing experience! I hope to go to the Disneyland one

Twins RUN
Twins RUN

It was a dream come true to run with Desi & Joanie! Can't wait for Princess Half Marathon Weekend! :-)


Sounds like an amazing weekend! I can only imagine how it feels to run in the magic of Disney. I am planning for the January 2014 half in FL if my knee lets me run again. If not, I will be cheering on my sister who will run for me.


I'm DYING to know how you get runDisney to invite you to attend a race weekend? I am so incredibly jealous!


Hi Kelly! I love your blog (was so happy you "liked" and commented on some of my instagram photos recently! Thanks!). Your enthusiasm for running inspires me to be a better runner! Reading how running has helped you, helped me deal with some depression, and showed me that you can do things when the chips are down. I hope to be lucky enough to attend the Princess Half meetup (wearing my sparkle skirt of course!!). I think it would be good for my soul (sole?!) to be surrounded by such great runners! It'd be great to meet you, you are very inspiring! Thanks!


Thank you for the post link love! It was great meeting you in person and loved my #TeamSparkle Hooked on it now!


  1. […] goofy challenge didn’t just involve running 39.3 miles – it also included the walt disney world marathon weekend meetup, working at the sparkle athletic/ team sparkle booth all 3 days of the expo & a late night […]

  2. […] read more about my runDisney walt disney world marathon weekend adventures? be sure to check out my #WDWMarathonMeetup & walt disney world half marathon […]

  3. […] 2012 princess half meetup, 2012 disneyland half meetup, 2012 wine & dine half meetup, & 2013 wdw marathon meetup) – i know for a fact that they are all pretty dang awesome! but this one in particular was […]

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