© Copyright Disney

© Copyright Disney

From the moment runners cross the start line, they know the journey will be one of the best experiences of their lives.

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA – with spectacular races through the most magical setting in the world – takes place Jan. 7-10, 2010, and promises to have the largest field in Disney marathon weekend history with 55,500 participants.

Walt Disney World Marathon defending champion is Adriano Bastos, who will try for his sixth straight Disney victory, seventh overall. A character himself, Bastos can’t be missed, whether he’s donning his signature Goofy hat or carrying his native Brazilian flag.

Marathon Weekend is filled with competition and fun starting with Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo (Jan. 7-9) and ending when runners cross the finish line to earn the exclusive Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck or Goofy medals.

Participants have the option to run in the half marathon on Saturday, Jan. 9, the full marathon on Sunday, Jan. 10, or, for the Goofy ones out there, both races and receive an extra race medal. This year 7,500 athletes will attempt the Goofy Challenge as it celebrates its fifth anniversary. Those that will be running the Goofy Challenge for their fifth straight year, otherwise known as “Perfectly Goofy” runners, will receive special recognition throughout the weekend.

Family members can participate in a variety of events, such as the Disney•Pixar UP & Away 5K Fun Run, Kids’ Races and Mickey Mile.

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is one of the most popular races in Disney’s Endurance Series, which includes the Champion 5K at ESPN the Weekend (Feb. 27, 2010), Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend (March 5-7, 2010), Expedition Everest Challenge (June 12, 2010) and the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend (Oct. 1-2, 2010).