A full field of more than 18,000 participants is gearing up for the fourth annual Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Sept. 4-6. The weekend features activities for the whole family, including a Health & Fitness Expo, Mickey’s Main Street, U.S.A. 5K, Kids’ Races and the main event — a 13.1-mile half marathon affectionately dubbed “The Happiest Race on Earth.”
Participants from all 50 U.S. states and 13 countries are set to compete in weekend races. More than 13,500 are registered to participate in the Half Marathon Sept. 6, and 5,000 are registered in the Family 5K and Kids’ Races Sept. 5.
The Disneyland Half Marathon features a course unlike any other in the world. Passing through the two Disneyland Resort theme parks – Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure – and the streets of Anaheim, participants will experience a race full of inspiration only Disney can provide. There are flaming cannons at the start, live entertainers along the route and Disney characters as cheerleaders. Many participants come dressed in costume, and some might even stop mid-race to pose with their favorite Disney characters.
We’ve had tremendous success with the Disneyland Half Marathon, reaching capacity months before the race for the fourth year in a row. In partnership with the City of Anaheim, we provide a unique and entertaining Half Marathon course, giving participants another reason to celebrate during this year’s ‘What Will You Celebrate?’ initiative.
Ed Grier, president of the Disneyland Resort
In 3 1/2 hours or less, runners will pass Disneyland icons such as Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Matterhorn, and Anaheim landmarks such as the Anaheim Convention Center, Honda Center and the Angel Stadium of Anaheim, before finally crossing the finish line in the Downtown Disney District.
The road race has become popular for its flat loop course and mild climate – ideal for personal best times. Hosted by the Disneyland Resort and the City of Anaheim, it reached registration capacity in July.
Half Marathon race finishers will earn a commemorative medal depicting Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, one in a series of Disney race-specific medals. An estimated 1,751 runners are also eligible to earn a special medal for the second annual Disney’s Coast to Coast Challenge Race.
To be eligible, runners must have completed the Walt Disney World Marathon, Half Marathon or Disney’s Princess Half Marathon this year at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., in addition to completing the 2009 Disneyland Half Marathon. The Coast to Coast medal showcases the iconic statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse (known as the Partners Statue).
The Anaheim Community Foundation (ACF) will receive a monetary donation as part of this year’s race.
The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend builds off the successful 16-year history of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend held annually in January at Walt Disney World Resort. More than 225,000 runners, joggers and wheelchair athletes have successfully participated in the previous Walt Disney World Marathon Weekends.
To kick off the weekend, participants can check out the Health & Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel starting Sept. 4. The two-day expo features information sessions on last-minute race tips and exhibits related to training, nutrition and the latest running equipment. Expo hours are 2 p.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 4 and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 5.
The Half Marathon is just one of 11 weekend events that make up the Disney’s Endurance Series, which gives recreational athletes of all ages and abilities the chance to walk, jog, run, bike and swim their way “around the world.” From running marathons to road races and triathlons, participating athletes at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World compete to stay in shape, achieve personal-best times and raise donations for charitable causes.
The next Disneyland Half Marathon will take place Sept. 5, 2010.