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The annual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is finally upon us, and there’s plenty of new merchandise and memorabilia to stock up on while you’re there, including t-shirts, designer bags, Vinylmation figurines, and brand new New Balance shoes.

First up are the t-shirts, which are a yearly favorite. This year’s selection will include “I Did It” tees with a course map on the back, as well as a “Coast to Coast Challenge” variety.

2013-halfmarathon-mens-winner

runDisney continues its string of sold out events when it held the Disneyland Half-Marathon this weekend at Disneyland. Jimmy Grabow, from the aptly named town of Runner Springs, CA, repeated his champion run for the second straight year with a time of 1:07:41, slightly off his record-setting pace of 1:05:29 in 2012. Ricardo Ramirez finished second with a time of 1:14:30.

The female champion, Stephanie Dinius, crossed the finish line in record fashion, capturing the women’s title with a time of 1:15:47. Rachel Booth held the previous record, 1:18:01, from the 2011 Disneyland Half Marathon. Last year’s female champion, Cindy Lynch, finished as runner-up with a time of 1:25:29.

2013-halfmarathon-womens-winner

The half marathon field of 17,500 registered runners passed through Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Angel Stadium and the streets of Anaheim. Along the route, runners were greeted by cheering fans, Disney characters, music and live entertainment.

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Although I personally have yet to partake in any runDisney events, I’ve been pleased to be invited to cover a few. All of them have their own quirks and styles, but there is something that unites them all and that’s the magic of running at Disney. That element turns out to be so popular, even with 7 race weekends throughout the year, runDisney can’t keep up with the demand. But that’s okay, they continue to add new opportunities to their existing races, such as broadening the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort next year by adding a 10K and a new two-race challenge.

The Princess 10K gives runners of various levels more opportunities to run through Disney theme parks and receive a specially-designed finisher medal. And runners looking for an even bigger challenge can sign up for the 10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday (19.3 miles total) to earn the inaugural Disney Glass Slipper Challenge Medal to go along with medals from each individual race.

This year’s Disney Marathon weekend threatened to be known for its shoes. The Mickey & Minnie New Balance running shoes were a hit online and at the event. But in the end, it was about the runners. Everyone of them pushing their own limits and some of them setting world records. Along the way there were celebrities, new friends, and a lot of fun.

Perhaps it was fitting that at the 20thannual Walt Disney World Marathon the greatest champion in the event’s history – Brazil’s Adriano Bastos – reclaimed his place in the victory circle Sunday.

Bastos, who had won seven previous Disney Marathons, including six straight before losing the last two to countryman Fredison Costa, this time held off Costa down the stretch for his eighth victory at the place Where Dreams Come True.