BOSSIP Editor Takes On 5K For Disney’s RunDisney Race Weekend
Y’all know we love a good trip, so when iOne’s Pop Culture division Senior Content Director Janeé Bolden had the opportunity to take part in the 26th annual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna, she signed up for the 5K right away. For those not already in the know, RunDisney is one of America’s most popular destination races. What started out with just 8,200 runners in 1994 has grown to over 100,000 athletes and spectators. It’s a great opportunity for athletes at all levels too. The four-day race weekend offers activities for runners of all ages and levels including the 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, runDisney Kids Races and runDisney Health and Fitness Expo.
After arriving in Orlando Wednesday, January 9th, Janeé’s first stop was the Boardwalk Inn Resort, where she stayed for the race weekend. After checking in and securing her MagicBand, (Disney’s bracelet that serves as a room key and access pass to the parks) Janeé headed to the Health and Fitness Expo to grab her bib and race shirt. The expo offered up all kinds of goodies for sale; like compression socks, colorful kicks and costumes (after all, this is Disney where even athletes like to get in the spirit). Next stop was an early dinner because the 5K was set to start bright and early at 5:30 am and racers are expected to line up at the starting line beginning at 4:30.
A word to the wise — when choosing costumes for runDisney we highly advise you to think of something that incorporates LAYERS! At 4:30 am the temperatures in Orlando were a breezy 46 degrees. Shout out to the brave couple who dressed as Jasmine and Aladdin! Everywhere we looked there were group of people in themed costumes — there was one group dressed as a monorail (complete with a speaker that made train conductor appropriate announcements), a family with shirts exclaiming that their dad made them run together and all kinds of Mickeys, Minnies and Goofys… There were also more than a few folks rocking Dopey Challenge shirts. The Dopey Challenge is for folks who are up for the task of running a 5K on Thursday, a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday.
The 5K takes runners through Epcot Center and for the folks in the last group, it’s pretty spectacular watching the sun rise over the park while gasping for air. Fortunately there are plenty of reasons to pause along the way — including to get in line for photos with Scottish Donald Duck and other characters.
Like many other racers, we took advantage of being up early to visit Disney’s parks after the 5K. Thursday we hit up Animal Kingdom, where we enjoyed the Flights of Passage ride in Pandora twice before heading over to Asia to ride Mount Everest — also twice. We took advantage of Park Hopper tickets, so the second half of the day was spent at Hollywood Studios where we rode the Tower of Terror before finishing the night at the Fantasmic show — a spectacular showcase of the many popular Disney characters and songs that includes lights, boats, projections and fireworks. Definitely a can’t miss if you visit Disney.
For the marathon Sunday morning we were at the parks bright and early before 4 am. The race has a 5:30 start time too but there are a lot more groups racing. We watched the race via live feed and waited at the finish line for the winners. The male winner Fredison Costa took the gold for his 7th time, finishing the race in a little over two hours! Costa is a native of Brazil, like the female winner Gianna Martins. Both racers were nice enough to talk to BOSSIP about their wins.
“This is the seventh time I’ve won — my life has changed completely since the first time I won,” Fredison Costa told BOSSIP via translator. “It’s really good for Brazil that both winners are from our country because it will help inspire the young people to get involved in the sport.”
“I’m very very happy,” Costa told BOSSIP of his win. “I’m going to celebrate here and in Brazil. Every day is a celebration for me. It’s really special for me.”
Fredison was so excited he hugged everyone at the finish line. We’re wishing him good luck because he’s got another marathon ahead next week — he’ll be competing in the London Marathon.
Martins, who is an amateur athlete, became the female winner of the Disney marathon for the fourth time this year. She is a teacher by trade, and also works with youth in sports and as a personal trainer in addition to her athletic endeavors.
“The first time I came to Disney, I didn’t even have the money, I had to borrow it,” Martins told BOSSIP, via translator. “Now I have a lot more visibility in Brazil and Disney really opened the doors for me. I was able to get sponsorships and now I’m giving back to the community, working with the kids. I get to choose the best young athletes from my town for youth soccer.”
One thing about runDisney is that it may be at the happiest place on earth and the athletes might get into character but it’s still a very serious race because it serves as a qualifier for the Olympics and other important races.
We’re not quit ready to sign up for the Dopey Challenge just yet, but BOSSIP will definitely be back for the 5K next year, and hopefully bring a whole team!
Check out more photos and fact sheets from our trip below: