ANAHEIM, Calif. (August 22, 2008) - The Disneyland Resort is celebrating health, fitness and family fun with more than 18,000 participants who registered for the third annual Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, August 29-31. The highlight of the weekend is a 13.1 mile event affectionately dubbed "The Happiest Race on Earth."
Participants in the Disneyland Half Marathon will travel a course unlike any half marathon in the world. It passes through the two Disneyland Resort theme parks - Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure - and it's full of Disney inspiration with flaming cannons at the start, live entertainers all along the route, and Disney characters as cheerleaders. Many of the participants will be dressed like their favorite Disney characters, including Minnie Mouse and Tinker Bell, and some even stop mid-race to pose with Mickey Mouse and his pals for photos commemorating both the race and Disney Parks' ongoing Year of a Million Dreams celebration.
In three and one-half hours or less, runners will pass Disneyland icons such as Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Matterhorn, and they will also pass Anaheim landmarks such as the Honda Center, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and the Anaheim Convention Center before finally crossing the finish line in the Downtown Disney District.
The Disneyland Half Marathon has become a popular road race 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. More than 13,500 runners are scheduled to participate in the Half Marathon on August 31, and 5,000 participants will be competing in the Family Fun Run 5K and Kids' Races on August 30, with participants from all 50 U.S. states and 16 countries.
"We are excited to welcome guests from all around the country to the third annual Disneyland Half Marathon," said Ed Grier, president of the Disneyland Resort. "By joining together with the City of Anaheim and other partners, we are able to provide participants with a unique race around the Anaheim Resort Area that will benefit the Anaheim Community Foundation." A monetary donation will be made to the Anaheim Community Foundation, the 2008 beneficiary of the Disneyland Half Marathon.
The Disneyland Half Marathon weekend is full of activities for the whole family, beginning on Friday, August 29, with the opening of the Disneyland Health and Fitness Expo. The two-day celebration of health and fitness features celebrity runner appearances and seminars on training, racing and nutrition, along with opportunities to experience the latest in running and fitness equipment. Expo hours are noon to 8 p.m. on Aug. 29, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 30.
This year's Family Fun Run 5K celebrates the debut of Toy Story Mania!, an immersive attraction that opened in June at Disney's California Adventure. Runners in the 5K will encounter their favorite characters from the Toy Story films, from Green Army Men marching off the start to Woody and Buzz at the finish line. Little runners (8 and under) will join in the fun with sprints, a 400-yard-dash and a Diaper Dash for crawlers.
Disneyland Half Marathon race finishers will earn a special commemorative medal depicting Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, one in a series of Disney race-specific medals.
A new award, the Disney Coast to Coast medal, will be presented to an estimated 1,000 runners who complete the 2008 Disneyland Half Marathon and who also completed either the Walt Disney World Marathon or Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January, 2008. Awarded for the first time this summer, the Coast to Coast medal showcases the iconic "Partners Statue," of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.
The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend builds off the successful 15-year history of Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which is operated by Disney's Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. and is traditionally held in January. More than 195,000 runners, joggers and wheelchair athletes have successfully participated in the previous Walt Disney World Marathon Weekends. For more information, see www.disneyworldsports.com.
The Disneyland Half Marathon is part of 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 from around the (Disney) world compete to stay in shape, to achieve personal-best times and often to raise donations for charitable causes.
The next Disneyland Half Marathon will take place on Sept. 6, 2009.