Disney Marathon and ESPN The Weekend Details released

Disney Marathon Weekend is coming up on January 8-10. This year the event is bigger than ever this year. With 550 Brazilians, free seminars with fitness & nutrition experts, running coaches, and former Olympians there’s going to be a lot going on. In all, more than 45,000 people from all 50 U.S. states and more than 60 countries are registered for everything from the famous Diaper Dash for crawlers (12 months and under) to the new Mickey’s Mile (ages 13-under) to the distance road-running events.

Check below the cut for details on the race weekend.

Sports fans who want to leap into planning for the sixth edition of ESPN The Weekend presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods Feb. 27-March 1, 2009, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can visit ESPNTheWeekend.com for the latest information about the upcoming event as well as sign up for email updates.

The weekend will feature a lineup of athletes and top ESPN personalities such as Mike & Mike as Disney’s Hollywood Studios hosts a full slate of live telecasts including “NFL Live” and “Baseball Tonight.” There also will be unique sports experiences such as the Interactive Zone. All the fun is included with regular theme park admission.

Fitness and nutrition experts, running coaches and former Olympians will share tips and perspectives – and answer questions from the audience – during the 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Seminar Series Jan. 8-10 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. More than two dozen topical sessions, typically ranging in duration from 30 to 45 minutes, will be offered without charge over the three days.

Thursday seminars start between 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., with Disney Marathon Race Director Jon Hughes wrapping up the day with an hour-long session covering tips and information about this year’s running events. Some highlights of the opening day include a presentation by former 10,000- and 20,000-meter world record holder and Mexico Olympian Arturo Barrios (2:45 p.m.) and sessions focusing on youth – Healthy Kids Challenge Chef presented by Cigna (3:45 p.m.) and Making it Fun for the Kids featuring world-class coach Kevin Hanson and 10-year-old daughter Samantha (4:30 p.m.).

Friday’s schedule kicks off at 11 a.m. with a discussion of ChiRunning and ChiWalking, revolutionary forms of moving that blend T’ai Chi with running and walking, presented by creator Danny Dreyer. Hughes wraps up the schedule with a session beginning at 4:45 p.m.

On Saturday, 1972 Olympian Jeff Galloway opens the schedule at 11 a.m. with a session focusing on tips to run a personal best, with Hughes, joined by Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray, wrapping up the series at 3:15 p.m.

Five-time champion Adriano Bastos will lead a contingent of more than 550 Brazilians into 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna Jan. 8-11. By winning the run through the four Disney theme parks the last four years consecutively and five times since 2003, the 30-year-old Sao Paulo runner has stirred interest throughout his country in the weekend of running and fitness events at the central Florida Vacation Kingdom.

More than 300 Brazilians join Bastos in a field of some 21,500 participants registered for the full (26.2-mile) Disney Marathon on Sunday, Jan. 11. Another group of 250 Brazilians is among the approximately 17,000 runners set for the Disney Half Marathon on Saturday, Jan. 10. Both of those races begin near Epcot at 5:45 a.m.

In all, more than 45,000 people from all 50 U.S. states and more than 60 countries are registered for everything from the famous Diaper Dash for crawlers (12 months and under) to the new Mickey’s Mile (ages 13-under) to the distance road-running events.

Within the huge field of participants will be the most frequently honored athlete in the 16-year history of the Walt Disney World Marathon. Saul Mendoza, a wheelchair racer who was honored as Mexico’s Athlete of the Century for the 20th century, will be vying for a 10th Disney championship. Two athletes new to the Disney Marathon winner’s circle in 2008 also return: Women’s winner Melanie Peters of St. Petersburg, Fla., and women’s wheelchair winner Jacqui Kapinowski of Point Pleasant, N.J.

More information about 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna is available at disneysports.com. The program is available at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/disney/wdwmarathon09/.

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