Wisconsin’s Jason Ryf Cruises to Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Victory at Walt Disney World Resort

Filed in: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, runDisney, Star Wars Half Marathon - The Dark Side

Oshkosh runner easily wins after second-place finish last year at another runDisney Star Wars-themed race at Disneyland Resort; Katie McGrath is top women’s finisher; More than 43,000 runners take part in the race weekend


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (April 17, 2016) – After finishing second at the runDisney Star Wars half marathon at Disneyland Resort last year, Jason Ryf summoned even more of The Force on Sunday to win the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side at Walt Disney World Resort.

Ryf, 45, from Oshkosh, Wisconsin won the 13.1-mile race through Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1:13:39. Marc Burget of Jacksonville, Florida was second (1:14:38) and Chris Trebilcock of Tampa, Florida was third (1:15:27).

Katie McGrath was the first female runner to cross the finish line, covering the course in 1:24:05. Elizabeth Meadows-Harland of Nashville, Tennessee was second (1:26:36) and Kim Hunger of Antelope, California, was third (1:28:36).

For Ryf, conquering the race from a galaxy far, far away held a lot of sentimental value. Ryf said he grew up watching the Star Wars saga and is a real fan of the franchise. He finished second at the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort in 2015 with a time of 1:10:56. His time Sunday was a tad slower, yet he managed to land in the winner’s circle.

“I love Star Wars. I saw the original movies in the theaters. Ever since I was a kid, Star Wars has just been awesome,’’ Ryf said. “So coming here and winning is pretty good. Being able to celebrate Disney and Star Wars and the race all together is a pretty nice time.’’

The race was the newest addition to the runDisney series which involves nine races at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and, for the first time later this year, Disneyland Paris. The next runDisney race weekend is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry (May 5-8) at Disneyland Resort.

The Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side involved several family-friendly events, including a Health and Fitness Expo with the latest in fitness apparel, running gear and high tech gadgets, the Star Wars 5K, the Star Wars 10K and the Dark Side Challenge, which involved running the 10K and the half marathon on consecutive days. There were also Star Wars characters along the course and opportunities for runners to pose with them before and after the races.

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