LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Jan. 9, 2022) – Brittany Charboneau of Denver, Colorado had the ultimate “Dopey’’ day at the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday.
Completing runDisney’s popular but grueling Dopey Challenge – running the 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon (48.6 miles total) on consecutive days – is an amazing feat. But Charboneau took it one step further, winning the women’s division of all four races to become the first person in the event’s 29-year history to pull off that sweep.
“This is so special. I mean, it’s once in a lifetime. I won’t get this ever again,’’Charboneau said. “Honestly, I will treasure this forever. This is going to go down as one of the biggest highlights ever.’’
Vanilson Neves of Sao Paulo, Brazil was the overall winner of the 26.2-mile race that look runners on a magical journey through all four Disney theme parks – EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Neves finished the race comfortably ahead of the rest of the field, winning in 2:30:37. David Gramlich of North Canton, Ohio was second (2:40:31) and Mathieu Frechette of Quebec, Canada was third (2:42:24).
Likewise, Charboneau finished well ahead of second-place runner Giovanna Martins of Salto, Brazil despite having run 5.1 miles on Thursday, 6.2 miles on Friday and 13.1 miles on Saturday while most of her competitors just ran the marathon. Charboneau ran just behind the leaders early in the race before picking up her pace and running away from the field down the stretch. Her time of 2:45:15 was far from her personal best time of 2:33.15, but it was more than three minutes faster than Martins (2:48.16) and nearly five minutes faster than Megan Curham of Warren, New Jersey (2:50:11).
Nevertheless, Martins and Curham were worthy challengers for Charboneau. Martins, who was ahead of Charboneau early in the race, had been the top woman finisher in five of the previous six Disney marathons. And Curham, who led the majority of the race, had just beaten everyone – every man and woman – in the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon two months ago.
“I kept hearing that I was in second place, but I didn’t even see the first place (runner),’’ Charboneau said. “It was a race that was hard. I don’t feel like I was able to let off the gas at any point. I mean, this was by far the hardest race of the weekend.’’
It was fitting that Charboneau would have a record-setting run at Walt Disney World Resort because she’s a huge Disney fan. She dressed as a different Disney character for each of her four races this weekend and munched on Disney-themed cookies from her husband after each win. And Monday she planned to spend the day experiencing Disney’s theme parks during the resort’s 50th anniversary celebration.
“This event combines everything that I love – costumes, Disney and just everything that I love,’’ Charboneau said, “so I could not have asked for a better day.’’
The Disney Marathon Weekend was the second race weekend in the runDisney race season and the signature event in the series, which is one of the largest and most popular in the nation. Next up is the Princess Half Marathon Weekend (Feb. 24-27, 2022) followed by the Springtime Surprise Weekend (March 31-April 3).