Notable Changes to Walt Disney World Marathon Course for 20th Anniversary

Registration is currently open for the Walt Disney World Marathon scheduled for January 13, 2013.  This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the event, and runDisney just released the full marathon course with some notable changes from previous years.  For the first time competitors will follow the track of the Walt Disney World Speedway home of the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and runners and walkers will circle the infield at ESPN Wide World of Sports’ Champion Stadium (spring training home of the Atlanta Braves).  Continue reading for a video virtual tour of the course, a detailed course map, and runDisney’s official press release.  [And since Mickey Mouse gets all the attention in the video and on the special 20th Anniversary Medal, I figured it was fitting to feature Donald Duck on the announcement – DONALD #1!]

In 2007, I finished the Walt Disney World Marathon (my first).  The new course changes to the Full Marathon are very intriguing.  Any portion of the course that goes through a theme park or recreation area will be a welcome change from running on the major highways connecting the theme parks.  Another change not highlighted in the video is the omission of running through Epcot at the race’s start.  The marathon had used a “split start” in the past, and all runners starting together may make for some increased course crowding at the beginning – time will tell.

Take a look at runDisney’s video course simulation and the full marathon course map below.

Click on the map image to make larger

From runDisney’s Press Release

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL:  Runners in the 20th anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon in 2013 will have the unique experience of running along a speedway and through a baseball stadium – in addition to Disney’s four theme parks – as part the latest enhancements designed to celebrate the event’s two decades of existence.

The 2013 Disney Marathon course will again start at Epcot.  But runners will go through the Magic Kingdom and then, for the first time ever, run through the high-banked Walt Disney World Speedway where stock cars, Indy cars and exotic supercars typically roar around the one-mile tri-oval track.  And later the course will take runners to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and through the complex’s Champion Stadium, a major-league style ballpark that’s the Atlanta Braves’ annual spring training home.

“Running through the speedway and the ballpark should provide quite a thrill for the runners,” said veteran race director Jon Hughes.  “These very creative enhancements should make for a pretty memorable 20th anniversary marathon that people will probably be talking about for 20 more years.”

The marathon’s commemorative route changes add to the new enhancements recently announced, including enhanced entertainment along Mile 20, a specially-designed 20th anniversary Mickey Mouse medal and a new post-race party at Downtown Disney.

In addition to the 26.2-mile marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna (Jan. 10-13) will feature events for the entire family such as Kids’ Races throughout the weekend, including the Mickey Mile, a Family Fun Run 5K on Friday, the Half Marathon on Saturday and the Marathon on Sunday.  There is also Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge which involves running the Half Marathon and the full Marathon – 39.3 miles!  The Health and Fitness Expo runs throughout the weekend at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and features the latest in running technology and fashion, as well as renowned running experts like Jeff Galloway, the official training consultant for runDisney.

So what do you think of the new course?  Are you excited about the changes?  Does this make you more or less likely to sign up for the 20th Anniversary edition of the Walt Disney World Marathon?  Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.  For more running adventures, family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.