Three-time Olympian lowers previous course mark by nearly six minutes; victory comes in her Princess Half Marathon debut; more than 24,000 mostly women runners participate in fun-filled 13.1-mile race through Walt Disney World
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – (Feb. 23, 2014) – After the Disney Princess Half Marathon course record was clipped the past two years, three-time Olympian Kim Smith essentially shredded it Sunday, winning the event in a blistering 1:11:49.
Smith, a 32-year-old New Zealand native who lives in Rhode Island, lowered the event record by nearly six minutes, easily erasing Rachel Booth’s previous mark of 1:17:38 from last year.
Smith’s record-setting performance wasn’t unexpected. She ran a 1:07:36 in 2011, which still stands as the fastest half marathon run by a woman in the U.S.
The Disney Princess Half Marathon presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals was basically a warm up run for Smith, who used the 13.1-mile trek through Epcot and Magic Kingdom – her first runDisney race – as a training run in preparation for the London Marathon in April.
“Running through the Magic Kingdom was probably the best part of the race. The crowds there were great and everyone is cheering you on,” Smith said. “It’s just a fun event and pretty low-key for an elite athlete to do. But definitely a lot of fun and I’d recommend it to people out there.”
Smith, who was greeted at the finish line by Miss America Nina Davuluri, finished ahead of more than 24,000 mostly women runners. Two sisters from Columbia, SC – Kimberly Ruck and Alyssa Kulik – finished together in second and third place, respectively, (1:26:15), nearly 15 minutes behind Smith.
In all, more than 40,000 runners competed in various events during the weekend. The weekend included the Cinderella Royal Family 5K, the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K, runDisney Kids Races and the inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge, which involved runners completing the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.
The weekend event also included the Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo which featured the latest running apparel and equipment, plus a speaker series involving running experts such as runDisney’s official training consultant Jeff Galloway.
The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is one of seven annual runDisney events and the second women-focused event. The other is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, which takes place in May at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. Both events are designed to celebrate and promote women’s empowerment, women’s health and an active lifestyle. And both are among the nation’s largest race weekends geared towards women.