Washington, D.C. Competitor Is Top Woman Finisher Among Sold Out Field of More Than 11,000 Runners
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Oct. 2, 2010) — Anton Van Zyl from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Matthew Dobson from Jay, Fla., were the first two finishers Saturday night in the inaugural Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney Resort near Orlando, Fla. In the women’s division Melissa Wisner from Washington, D.C. crossed the finish line first, with a 1:32:22 time.
Van Zyl and Dobson provided plenty of drama before Van Zyl pulled away. Van Zyl ran a 1:14:51, while Dobson finished close behind with a 1:15:04. Adam Siepiola from Garden City, N.Y. came in third (1:15:12).
“It was real close down the stretch,” Van Zyl said. “We were neck and neck. I put on a hard charge about a half mile out. The crowd was fantastic and it was a great finish.”
Wisner won easily. She crossed the line nearly three minutes ahead of Sheila Sullivan of Daytona Beach, Fla., who posted a time of 1:35:16. Caterina Lancia of Miami, Fla., was third (1:36:58).
“I’ve never actually run a night race before, it’s very much a different experience,” said Wisner. “All the lights made it very exciting.”
The half marathon, the last of four runDisney events this year, capped a sold-out weekend full of events that featured more than 14,000 runners, including more than 11,000 that ran the 13.1-mile race through multiple Disney theme parks. The half marathon was the first runDisney half marathon held at night and the first to involve a relay option. The runners celebrated their accomplishment with an exclusive after-hours party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
“I always like coming to Disney,” Van Zyl said. “I love food, I love wine. That’s why I’m here.”
The race began at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and weaved through Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios before finishing at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
All finishers received an inaugural Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon medal and had the opportunity to experience the Health and Fitness expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The expo included seminars on training techniques from Jeff Galloway and the latest running equipment.
Registration for the 2011 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon starts in February. The half marathon weekend will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 2.
The runDisney series is a collection of marathon and half marathon event weekends that provide runners unique opportunities to run through Disney theme parks. Race participants also get to earn Disney-themed medals, experience legendary Disney entertainment and guest service, and ultimately celebrate their accomplishments with a Disney vacation. The original event in the series, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA, takes place each January and features both marathon and half marathon distances. Other races at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida include Disney’s Princess Half Marathon presented by Lady Foot Locker in February and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. The Disneyland Half Marathon takes place each September in California. More than 75,000 people participate in runDisney events each year. For more information visit, www.facebook.com/rundisney or follow us on Twitter @DisneySports.
Contacts for Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon:
Bob Hitchcock, Disney Sports Public Relations – Office: 407/566-6318, Cell: 407/922-3422, Robert.G.Hitchcock@disney.com
Matt Gottfried, Disney Sports Public Relations – Office: 407/566-2739, Cell: 419/651-0090, Matthew.X.Gotfried.-ND@disney.com