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WDW Marathon Weekend Historical Reference

Greenlawler

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Edited 7/23/21


After running 16 years of these WDW weekends myself, I tend to get them confused. There are some historical blogs and offerings out there but none are really insightful for a year by year reference. This could be the place.

For an event that has been so significant to many of our lives, there is really no reliable history on it.

This will be a work in progress. I am not really concerned with who won the races but more interested in the weekend itself and the stories surrounding this event that has changed many of our lives.

From most recent to the beginning.


2022: Marathon weekend is back! Registrations for "perfect status" runners opens on July 22nd. General registration opens July 27th. Proof of time is based on marathon sub 4:00 for the first time ever.
2021: Registration opens to the public in the midst of the Co-Vid events. All races are full within an hour and the Goofy and Dopey sell out in minutes. It is obvious registration was limited substantially. On September 22nd runDisney for the first time in 28 years was forced to cancel a live Marathon Weekend. They did shift to "virtual races". They offered several different options including full and partial refunds to runners already signed up. On Marathon weekend there were several people running their "races" on property. To rub salt in the wound the weather that week was ideal running weather.
2020: Very eventful year. Registration for event was held in April. Marathon goes through Blizzard Beach for the first time in 20 years. Most unique course in over a decade, lots of changes due to construction all throughout the property. 5k, 10k have great weather conditions, Half marathon is hotter but a cool breeze, overcast skies, and even rain sprinkles are welcome. The Full however is hottest Disney marathon ever 97% humidity and 82 degrees at race start, run at red flag conditions. Marathon course is cut short for the first time. Organizers attempted to start the race 30 minutes early to help, but horrendous traffic prevented many runners from arriving at the start in time. The race did not start until almost 20 minutes after the intended start. The course was shortened by 1.8 miles as the Blizzard Beach portion was removed for runners around 11:30. Lots of heat related issues. Female finishers outnumber males this year, after 2019's reversal. Minnie Mouse becomes official mascot co-host of marathon, Oswald moves from 5k to 10k mascot and Pluto regains his spot as the 5k mascot. Over 14,000 finish the marathon.
2019: Registration did not take place until July, due to technical issues. Humid Marathon 96% at race start. Oswald replaces Pluto as mascot of the 5k. Fewest corals in years for races with the mini waves. Slight course change as runners for the marathon ran past the Boardwalk resort instead of the Yacht and Beach Club side upon entering the Epcot Resort area. 11,194 runners finish the marathon. First time since 2012 male finishers outnumber female finishers.
2018: 25th Anniversary of the Marathon. Generally speaking a pretty "business as usual year", much less hoopla for the 25th anniversary than expected although the medals very very nice. Unseasonably cold 5, 10 and Half races. 20,092 runners finish the marathon. First year marathon Mickey ears were handed out to finishers.
2017: Half Marathon cancelled due to lightning prompting the nickname "Grumpy Challenge", hundreds maybe thousands still run their half all over Disney property. Over a thousand "half runners" elect to attempt the full as they are given free registration due to the cancellation. Another chilly marathon. Galloway pace teams replace the "Cliff bar" pace teams integrating the run/walk method. The return of the "Mini-Waves". First "metal" medal for the 5K. Final year for the New Balance Disney shoe partnership. The fervor had died down around 2016. 17,775 runners finish the marathon.
2016: Oogie Boogie was a great character find this year during the half and full. This is the last year runners receive a printed race booklet. This is the final year for a "plastic" 5k medal. 19,851 runners finish the marathon.
2015: Castaway Cay Challenge Medal added, Goofy 10th anniversary. 20,042 runners finish the marathon.
2014: Disney adds the 10k (with Minnie as a mascot) to it's WDW weekend as well as the popular Dopey Challenge which "challenges" runners to compete in all four races over a four day span, 5k,10k,Half and Full Marathon. Gender specific shirt styles added. The 5k gets Pluto as a mascot. 19,235 runners finish the marathon.
2013: "20th anniversary of the marathon". A much promised special mile 20 was met with much "ho-hum", as it turned out to be life sized puppets instead of special characters which most people anticipated. Wide World of Sports and the Speedway included on the Marathon route, the year of the Heat advisory, with 80 degree temperatures. 2013 was also the first time a major endurance event saw more females than males participating. 2013 debuts the runDisney New Balance partnership with Disney characters, and eventually attractions represented on New Balance running shoes. These shoes cause a fervor and for a few years are bought up by fans and ebay sellers alike. The marathon course no longer enters Epcot at the beginning of the race. 5k is a "Fab Five"themed medal. 20,734 runners finish the marathon.
2012: The one and only year for the "Chip and Dale" Relay. 15th anniversary of the Half. 5k has a Three Caballeros theme.
2011: Participants were allowed to vote on medal beforehand. Zorro, The Three Little Pigs, Shan Yu, Tom Sawyer and Davy Crockett were just a few of a particularly good year for characters that weekend. Free entry to a Disney park given to Marathon runners for 2011. 5k theme was Buzz and Woody.
2010: The year it snowed during the Marathon, 29 degrees during the race. This was the largest marathon field ever to that point. Corals went from A-P. Post race party was A $45 event at DHS. First year for the briefly popular pre-race pasta parties. I am speculating that this was the first year for the Runner's Retreat although it could have been 09.
2009: The last year for "Blue, and Red" starting locations for the marathon. Two unique starting routes, both merged just past Epcot but entered at different locations in the World showcase. 5k again in Animal Kingdom with Lion King theme. Possibly the first year for the "Cheer Squad" which gave spectators willing to pay, various perks including reserved bleacher seating at the finish.
2008: 15th year of the WDW Marathon, which means, unique medal. 5k is in Animal Kingdom with Lion King theme. Post race party now advertised at Downtown Disney.
2007: Another unseasonably hot marathon, one day after an unseasonably cold half. Another year for free admission to Pleasure Island for Marathon runners.
2006: The First Goofy Challenge, and the first time the half and full marathons are run on different days. Marathon runners received free admission to Pleasure Island for Post Race Party.
2005: Half Marathon name change from "Donald Half" to "WDW Half".
2004:
2003:
"Perfect" runners are officially recognized starting this year at the 10th WDW Marathon.
2002: Largest field for marathon to date with 13,500 runners registered.
2001:
2000:
1999
: Animal Kingdom debuts on the Marathon course.
1998:
1997
:
1996: Electronic Timing introduced, First 5k event
1995: Blizzard Beach becomes part of Marathon route
1994: The First Disney Marathon, 5,588 runners started and the event launched what would eventually be called runDisney. When you entered the marathon, you were mailed a long sleeve t-shirt.
 
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LAKid53

Official Member of the Girly Girl Fan Club
Premium Member
After 12 years of these WDW weekends I tend to get them confused. There are some historical blogs and offerings out there but none are really insightful for a year by year reference. This could be the place.

So I thought it might be cool to (for historical data and reference lol) have a listing of the years, and things that stood out from that weekend. I find myself asking my wife..."now which year was the year it snowed?" often, and more times then not I guess the wrong year.

I understand most of us here did not attend the first marathon 26 years ago, but I would be curious as to what was the first marathon at WDW one of our regular posters attended?

So this is what could be interesting I will list the years and edit as posters add tidbits of info on any given year. Can be weather, additions, course changes anything....I am curious about things like: when was the last year Disney resourced photos? last year we ran through the Streets of America? etc....It literally could be anything that stood out about the event, course, or expo.

so I will start with this...and edit.

2019: Humid Marathon 96% at race start, Oswald now mascot of 5k
2018: 25th Anniversary of the Marathon
2017: Half Marathon Cancelled due to lightning prompting the nickname "Grumpy Challenge", hundreds maybe thousands still run their half all over Disney property. Another chilly marathon the next day.
2016:
2015: Castaway Cay Challenge Medal added, Goofy 10th anniversary.
2014: 10k and Dopey Challenge added, gender specific shirt styles added
2013: Wide World of Sports and the Speedway included on the route, the year of the Heat advisory, with 80 degree temperatures.
2012: The one and only year for the "Chip and Dale" Relay. 15th anniversary of the Half.
2011: Participants were allowed to vote on medal beforehand,
2010: The year it snowed during the Marathon, largest marathon field ever
2009:
2008:
2007:
2006: The First Goofy Challenge, half and full run on different days

will add earlier dates if anything comes up....

Wait, it SNOWED during the Marathon?
 

LAKid53

Official Member of the Girly Girl Fan Club
Premium Member
Yep until the sun came out for me at mile 10 the water was freezing before you could drink it. It was 29 degrees during the race.

We've gotten snow in my neck of Florida, but I don't remember it reaching as far south as Central Florida.

That must have made the hydration tables fun.

I'm hoping Princess next month is more like 2016 than last year.
 

Texas84

Premium Member
2010 was how I discovered runDisney. We scheduled a regular visit and showed up Sunday wondering what all those cones were for. Then at Teppan Edo one of the guests at our table had her marathon medal. I heard later that the hydration stops were dangerous. Lots of frozen plants being cleared out that week.
 

Greenlawler

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
edited 1/31/19

Work in progress, combing over websites, most of which do not have really good info,

I am curious about these things because I remember.....but cannot remember, lol.

Has the expo always been at WWoS?
What year did we stop running through Epcot at the beginning of the races?
What year did the electronic tracking move from our shoes to bibs?

all memories welcomed and encouraged...
 
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DznyGrlSD

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
Yes
are the medals always the same theme for the marathon? I'd love to see a thread for the other races with historical medal/race themes
 

lukacseven

Active Member
2006 hit below 30 for the start of the marathon, too. The problem that year was they weren't forecasting it and the weather changed suddenly overnight. 2007, was hot/humid. I believe it hit 80 at the start. But nothing like the weather in 2010...to this day the only that's the only run I've ever worn pants for. I layered, planning on ditching most of my clothes along the route, but ended up keeping everything. The sweat on my knit hat was frozen into ice at the finish. Volunteers were dumping the Poweraid mix on the ground to try to melt the ice at the water stops. 2018 was almost perfect weather for the half - maybe a little warmer at the start. I didn't run the 5 or 10K, but understand it was colder for those.
 

lukacseven

Active Member
edited 1/31/19

Work in progress, combing over websites, most of which do not have really good info,

I am curious about these things because I remember.....but cannot remember, lol.

Has the expo always been at WWoS?
What year did we stop running through Epcot at the beginning of the races?
What year did the electronic tracking move from our shoes to bibs?

all memories welcomed and encouraged...
The first year I ran was 2006. Expo was at WWoS, but was only in what is now the HP fieldhouse. The other venues weren't built yet. Bib and shirt pickup was on the top level and all the vendors & merch. were on the lower level. They also had re-usable chips that year and cutting stations after the finish line. 2006 5K was a 12:00 noon start on Saturday (Epcot course). I remember them switching to the disposable D tags for a few years, too. 2012, the marathon still went through Epcot at the start. The next year (for the 20th) they added the racetrack and WWoS. The 5K was also held at Animal Kingdom in 2008 & 2009, and I believe one other year? I remember the "medal" had the Lion King characters and was dubbed the Circle of Life 5K in '08 or '09. Was the January 5K ever held at HS? I remember a course through there one year, but don't think it was for the Marathon Weekend.
 
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CAV

Well-Known Member
Yep until the sun came out for me at mile 10 the water was freezing before you could drink it. It was 29 degrees during the race.
It was SO cold. Yes, water froze in cups. You had to slowly walk through the aid stations because the water that spilled on the ground froze into a thin sheen of ice. I had icicles on the brim of my cap. I wore a sweatshirt to the start with the intention of tossing it. I didn't toss it until mile 18 and only because the sweat was turning to ice and getting too heavy. About a half mile later, I picked up the first sweatshirt I saw on the ground, shook some ice off, and wore it the remainder of the race.
 

surfsupdon

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
2013 was the 20th Anniversary and they promised something SO SPECIAL and UNIQUE during mile 20, which was exiting WWoS. All we got were giant puppetry costumes. I only remember Sebastian the crab.

So many runners felt the surprise was weak and poor. ‘That’s it?!’
 

CAV

Well-Known Member
Also in 2019 we ran along the Boardwalk. All my other marathons were run along Yacht & Beach.

Anybody challenge that??
I've run 9 WDW marathons. I only remember running in front of the Y&B.

Under the bridge coming out of the studios. Past the Boardwalk Resort. Bear left and go over the bridge at the Swan and Dolphin. Run in front of the Y&B. Go up the incline before the International Gateway. Enter backstage WS through a service gate and pass through the last water stop. Enter England from backstage, bear right to France and run to the finish
 

surfsupdon

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
2011: Participants were allowed to vote on medal beforehand. Zorro, The Three Little Pigs, Shan Yu, Tom Sawyer and Davy Crockett were just a few of a particularly good year for characters that weekend. Free entry to a Disney park given to Marathon runners for 2011. 5k theme was Buzz and Woody.

At this time, many of the runDisney (or Disney Endurance Series) events included a free theme park ticket and/or an after party ticket. Towers, Everests, Wine&Dines. So this made sense at the time.
 

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