It wasn’t too long ago that I came across an article on Mouse Plant about the First and Only Disneyland Marathon. In honor of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend taking place in Disneyland this weekend, I thought it might be fun to dive into runDisney history.
In 1995, Disneyland host a full marathon celebrating the park’s 40th anniversary. I immediately wondered why it ended after one year, and as I dug deeper into the article I learned why. There was fear that the Disneyland Marathon would compete with the LA Marathon taking place a few weeks earlier, so an agreement had to be made between both race officials.
The bigger problem came the morning of the entire pack of runners, following apparently confused bicycle escorts, took a wrong turn between miles one and two, which cut almost a half a mile off the course. To make matters worse, the Disneyland Marathon was a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, so race officials had to correct for the distance change. “Race organizers were able to use a calibrated bicycle to measure the “shortcut” and in the nick of time, tack the appropriate mileage on after the 25-mile mark.”
Following the event, Disney officials agreed that Disneyland would only host 5K, 10k, and half-marathon events in 1996. Although that was not the case and distance running did not return to Disneyland until September 2006 when the inaugural Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend was announced complete with half marathon and 5K races. Since the the 10K distance was added in with the announcement of the Dumbo Double Dare (completing both the half-marathon and 10K in the same weekend). The park is also home to the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend, and the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend.
In the end, races have been successful in Disneyland even in the first marathon was not. Who knows though; runDisney is always surprising us and a full marathon could return to Disneyland one day. We’ll just have to wait and see.