No Sweat! Top Finishers Make runDisney Magic Again at Hakuna Matata 10-Miler at Walt Disney World Resort

Filed in: runDisney, Springtime Surprise Race Weekend

Chicago’s Nolan McKenna and Pennsylvania’s Emily Hensel win back-to-back titles; Ten-miler is final event of the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend filled with races, yoga, an expo and a new post-event splash part

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (April 21, 2024) – There were indeed “no worries’’ for Nolan McKenna and Emily Hensel as they both repeated as winners of the Hakuna Matata 10-Miler at Walt Disney World Resort on Sunday.

McKenna of Chicago was the overall winner, outrunning the field to reach the finish line in 54 minutes and 39 seconds, which was 10 seconds faster than his winning time a year ago. That was quick enough to easily stay ahead of second-place finisher Sean O’Bryan of Arlington, Texas (56:23) and third-place finisher Ian Bordelon from nearby Orlando (59:18). McKenna attributed his faster pace to his improved training, saying he’s even more fit than a year ago, but that the experience was just as magical.

“It’s so cool going through the parks and everything,’’ said McKenna who planned to celebrate his victory by spending time enjoying EPCOT with his wife. “There’s no better place to run than Walt Disney World…Once you do one runDisney race, you’re hooked.’’

In contrast, Hensel of Mars, Pennsylvania (1:05:26) also beat her time from last year, yet had to battle to be the first woman to cross the finish line again. She narrowly edged out Orlando area runner Kelly Stoll, who finished just 28 seconds behind her, and Jennifer Masamitsu of Denver, Colorado (1:06:46).

“It’s like a dream come true,’’ Hensel said after the win. “I absolutely love running. I love Disney. I love coming here with my family. And they were all hoping I would cross first since we came down here, so it just feels amazing that I was able to do it two years in a row.’’

In the wheelchair division, Linden Williamson of Seguin, Texas was the first woman to finish (45:12) and Nicholas McCoy of Boerne, Texas was the first male finisher (52:45).

The race, whose theme changes each year, took runners through EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, past icon Disney attractions and characters, giving runners a before-the-park-opens experience that few people get to enjoy.

It was the final race of the runDisney SpringTime Surprise Weekend, which also featured a 5K, 10K, a three-race challenge (5K, 10K and 10-miler), plus a yoga event and a post-event “splash party’’ after dark at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park. It was also the last event of the runDisney race season, which starts again this fall with the Disneyland Halloween Half Marathon Weekend (Sept. 5-8). For more information on runDisney races, visit For news releases, photos and video of runDisney races, visit