Guest Post – WDW Marathon Meetup Recap

I mentioned in my marathon recap that I ran much of the race with my sister and with Colleen.  Well, Colleen attended the WDW Marathon Meetup the Friday before the race and agreed to write a recap for my blog.  And she shared pictures!Personally, I think she needs to write more – I loved reading this.  But you can always follow her on Twitter at @CBamaRun.  Thanks, Colleen!

Last weekend I was in Orlando, FL for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend festivities. I was there to run the marathon, but a few days before leaving, I also found out I would get to partake in the RunDisney Marathon Meet-up!

I arrived super anxious and excited to a very quiet Hollywood Studios.


When we first got there we were handed our shirts to wear for the event. In previous events I had seen that participants received nice RunDisney tech shirts, so I was a little disappointed to see that these were “special” 20th anniversary cotton shirts. But, before I knew it Mickey, Goofy, and Donald were out in front of us and I had forgotten about the cotton shirt blues. We all formed lines with which character we wanted. Some people took photos with all of them, I however just got a picture with Mickey. I had never taken a photo with Mickey before and I felt since I was running the Mickey Marathon and not Donald or Goofy I should just get a photo with the main mouse.

Shortly after all the character madness ended we were greeted by a cast of all-star athletes. Among the group were Jeff Galloway, Runner’s World columnist Bart Yasso, and tv host Dick Beardsley. After introductions we broke up in to two separate running groups. Desiree Davila, Adriano Bastos (8 time WDW Marathon winner), and Joan Benoit Samuelson took those that wanted to run at a 9:30 mile pace and Jeff Galloway, Dick Beardsley, and Bart Yasso took the rest of us, the run:walk:runners who wanted to maintain a 12:00 mile pace


We set off in to the park running for 45 seconds and walking for 15. I managed to keep up at the front of the pack the majority of the time, and I was really proud of myself for that. We ran down to Rock N’ Roller coaster, up to the hat, back around all that stuff (sorry I don’t know technical terms…), back through the behind the scenes part, through Muppet town, and then made the same loop back and ended in the stadium (home of Lights, Motors, Action). My GPS reads that it was a 2.4 mile run and just about 25 minutes. My only only only complaint is that those darn cotton shirts were kind of miserable. It was SO hot and the cotton only made it worse. Other than that, the entire run was amazing, and one of my better ones. I guess it takes running with an olympian and a little Disney magic to make me go?!

When we got into the stadium there were (delicious!) breakfast bagels waiting for us. I had an awesome bacon, egg, and cheese bagel as well as OJ and water. Maybe it’s just because I’m a broke college kid, but, free food is the best food.

Once everyone had a chance to eat and cool off a little bit we sat down and someone was beginning to introduce the panel when Joey Fatone, former member of N*SYNC, came cruising in!





Joey talked to us about his training for the races (read: very little). His wife had previously done the Goofy challenge and wanted to this year, but broke her foot. So Joey figured he’d just do it for her! We had the chance to ask him questions. No, N*SYNC is not getting back together. One woman raised her hand and said they went to high school together and she brought her yearbook for him to sign.

Following Joey we got to hear about fitting yourself for the right shoe, be it stability, neutral, or minimalist. We also got to hear the astounding news that the New Balance shoe, specifically designed for Disney, sold out in a matter of hours at the expo. 1,000 pairs were made and were split for WDW Marathon expo and the Tink expo. The shoe sold out so quickly that they had the ones in LA for Tink overnighted to Orlando. People sure do go crazy for RunDisney! 🙂



They showed a promo of the shoe, and Jeff Galloway was wearing them – but didn’t realize Mickey was on the heel piece. So he took of his shoe to look!

Following the shoe talk the panel of runners sat in front of us. Jeff Galloway, Bart Yasso, Dick Beardsley, Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Desiree Davila. We had the opportunity to ask them questions, though I can’t remember what was actually asked. I do  remember a few quotes!

“Three aspects that need focus in your life: Mind, Body, and Spirit. Life is all about balance.” – Joan Benoit Samuelson
“The lady at Starbucks curses my name every Wednesday. One piece of advice. Never have a workout named after you!.” – Bart Yasso (Yasso 800s)

“Disney is the only place in the world where you hear someone say ‘I’m “only” doing a marathon.” -Desiree Davila

“Someone ask Bart about that naked marathon.” – Dick Beardsley

“Rest is just as important as work.” -Joan Benoit Samuelson


 Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson

After the panel, I think we all thought it was over, but who appears? DREW CAREY! And man, he’s just as hilarious as he was when I used to watch Whose Line is it Anyway?! He’s about a quarter of the size but the same size of funny. He told us about his realization that he needed to get healthy so he started running and eating right. He also advised us to always put the Plinko chip down the middle. Also, if you win a Spa from the Price is Right, they don’t install it for you. You will have a box labeled “Spa” sitting on your front yard. Good luck with the rest!



The RunDisney crew wrapped it up with some give aways of New Balance shoes, running bags, vinalmations, and an entry into next years marathon. Following the meet up we were able to talk to all of the panel, Joey Fatone, Drew Carey, and the Fab 5. I was running late to meet up a friend to play in the parks so I only met a few people. But it was one of the best times I’ve ever had!


10 year old me’s wildest dreams came true getting to meet Joey Fatone!




3 thoughts on “Guest Post – WDW Marathon Meetup Recap

  1. Loved this! The meetups are sooo fun, I got to do the one at the Tink and hope to do another soon if I get the chance. Will you be running the Princess or Disneyland Half? I am doing both, eek!

    Loved your meetup recap! 🙂

  2. I am running Princess, but not Disneyland. I’m doing a Disney Cruise later in September and couldn’t swing a second big trip. It’s such a great race though!

  3. Pingback: walt disney world marathon meetup aka #WDWMarathonMeetup

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