Walt Disney World probably feels a little busier this weekend as tens of thousands of runners and their families will descend on the resort to participate in the annual runDisney event. Between all the races, more than 60,000 people will race through the resort’s iconic attractions making it one of the largest marathon race weekends in the United States.
This year is actually the 27th time the marathon has been run at Walt Disney World. It’s a key componment for Disney’s off-season strategy helping put buts in beds during what had previous been a slow period at the resort.
More than 72 countries are represented among the runners with Brazil (1,893), Canada (1,186), and United Kingdom (603) being the top three. Believe it or not, 75 runners have participate in every Walt Disney World marathon since its debut in 1994. At the other extreme, 34% of participants will be running in their first ever Marathon.
The Marathon also attracts a lot of famous names. Olympic track legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee, former NFL stars Warrick Dunn and Tiki Barber, and Paralympian and ESPN personality Victoria Arlen are among the notables participating in the race weekend.
This is also the 8th year Cigna has been a presenting sponsor for runDisney events.
“Cigna and runDisney share a commitment to inspire people of all ages to come together and live their healthiest lives,” said Julia Huggins, senior vice president, U.S. Commercial and Enterprise Specialty Distribution and the 2020 Team Cigna executive sponsor. “Our continued sponsorship of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, one of the most respected race series in the nation, is an opportunity for participants to come together, set goals and achieve them with the backing of a strong community to support them along the way. Through our community of customers and employees, Cigna is also proud to support individual athletes and the many non-profit organizations represented at runDisney events.”
As one of Central Florida’s largest sporting events, the four-day race weekend offers activities for runners of all ages and levels, including the 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, runDisney Kids Races and runDisney Health and Fitness Expo. Start times are early, with the first race the 5K already running this morning at EPCOT.
Tomorrow is the 10k, Saturday is the half-marathon, and Sunday morning the big kahuna 26.2 mile Marathon kicks off.