LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Five-time champion Adriano Bastos will lead a contingent of more than 550 Brazilians into 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna Jan. 8-11. By winning the run through the four Disney theme parks the last four years consecutively and five times since 2003, the
30-year-old Sao Paulo runner has stirred interest throughout his country in the weekend of running and fitness events at the central Florida Vacation Kingdom.
More than 300 Brazilians join Bastos in a field of some 21,500 participants registered for the full
(26.2-mile) Disney Marathon on Sunday, Jan. 11. Another group of 250 Brazilians is among the approximately 17,000 runners set for the Disney Half Marathon on Saturday, Jan. 10. Both of those races begin near Epcot at 5:45 a.m.
In all, more than 45,000 people from all 50 U.S. states and more than 60 countries are registered for everything from the famous Diaper Dash for crawlers (12 months and under) to the new Mickey’s Mile (ages 13-under) to the distance road-running events.
Within the huge field of participants will be the most frequently honored athlete in the 16-year history of the Walt Disney World Marathon. Saul Mendoza, a wheelchair racer who was honored as Mexico’s Athlete of the Century for the 20th century, will be vying for a 10th Disney championship. Two athletes new to the Disney Marathon winner’s circle in 2008 also return: Women’s winner Melanie Peters of St. Petersburg, Fla., and women’s wheelchair winner Jacqui Kapinowski of Point Pleasant, N.J.
Disney Marathon weekend begins at noon Jan. 8 with the opening of Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo, a three-day event at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. More information about Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna is available at disneysports.com. The program is available at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/disney/wdwmarathon09/.