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The 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is underway and includes four days of activities that include races, celebrity appearances, a health and fitness expo and post-race celebrations.
More than 65,000 runners are registered for the weekend’s races, including the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Half Marathon and Marathon, making this the largest marathon festival weekend in the nation. All 95 of the “Perfect 20s” – runners who have participated in every single Walt Disney World Marathon – are registered to race.
Also among the participants are several inspiring runners.
On Saturday, a 22-year-old Los Angeles woman, Aurora De Lucia, will complete her 52nd half marathon in 52 weeks after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White, a congenital heart defect.
A 75-year-old mother of four and grandmother of 12, Libby James will attempt to set the world record for fastest half marathon for the 75-79 age group. James ran the third-fastest 75-79 half marathon of all time in 1:50:43 at the Colorado Half Marathon in Fort Collins, Colo. in May, missing the world record by 44 seconds.
Chicago couple Sean and Wendie Cheyney, who married in front of Cinderella’s Castle during the 2003 Disney Marathon, will renew their vows for their tenth anniversary at the Half Marathon.
Additionally, six inner-city Philadelphia students who are learning character development, leadership skills and goal settings through training to become a marathon runner will run in the Half Marathon as part of the “Students Run Philly Style” program.
The race weekend includes a Health and Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, featuring the latest running apparel and equipment, including the official runDisney running shoe created by New Balance, and speaker sessions throughout the day. Featured speakers include runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway and runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus, plus Olympians Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Jim Ryun and former NFL players Don Davey and Eddie Mason. Celebrities such as Drew Carey, Joey Fatone and Colin Cowherd will also make appearances.
Weekend celebrations include a Pasta in the Park Party at Epcot on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, where runners and their guests can eat and view fireworks, and a Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney on Sunday.