runDisney 20th Anniversary Marathon Weekend Meet Up


Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend the WDW runDisney meet up held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My husband attended as well (it was his first!) and we had an absolute blast. Some of the photos I will share are my own and some are from Disney, being used with permission. Enjoy!

Friday morning, we were up bright and early at 5:00 am to get to the meet up for 6:30. I was so excited about what runDisney had in store for us!

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We headed to the lobby and chatted wit the lovely Kelly for a bit before it was time to go.

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We made our way to Hollywood Studios, checked in and changed into our cute 20th anniversary shirts.

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Let the massive amount of photo taking begin! I spotted my blogger pals, Jenn and Sara

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and some #team runDisney friends as well

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After chatting with some friends, it was time for our run. We broke into two groups, the run/walk Galloway group, and the straight run group. Bobby and I chose to go with the straight run group, since they were running a 9:00 minute pace, but we soon realized we were running an 8:00 minute pace, which made me nervous the day before goofy started! So we took it easy and ran in the back, taking pictures and having a great time. (We may or may not have cut some corners to catch up. ssshhhh.) We stopped along the way to take a photo with Buzz Lightyear.


Oh yes, that would be Desiree Davila on the other side of me and Buzz.

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We finished up our run and ended up at the Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show area where there was food and drinks for us, as well as amazing people for us to mingle with! I started chatting with Desiree, she is so quiet and so tiny, but super sweet and answered all of my questions. (She is coming back from an injury, but when she is healthy she runs every day, a lot of times twice a day!) Chatting with an Olympian and Boston marathon runner up was so surreal. In the presence of greatness I tell you, I was in awe.

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Bobby and I took our seats up in the bleachers, and before I knew it, Des had come and sat next to me, and Adriano Bastos came and sat on the other side. You have GOT to be kidding me. Seven (now eight!) time Disney marathon winner from Brazil on one side, and Des on the other. I thought I was dreaming. If I thought it couldn’t get any better, I would be wrong. I was on the second row of bleachers, and then all of the amazing running legends were told to come sit on the first row…right in front of me. More friends for me to take photos with!

I got to meet Bart Yasso for the first time, super nice guy, who I called trouble maker whenever I saw him for the rest of the weekend.

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And it doesn’t matter how many photos I get with Jeff Galloway, I always need one more. Love this guy. I want him to be my grandpa. He makes you feel like your questions matter and will stand around and talk with you forever.

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Soon, the presentations began! We got to hear from some amazing folks, including the New Balance team. You may have seen the amazing runDisney running shoes they came out with (that I am determined to get my hands on!) They made 1000 pair, and sold out of all they had in stock at the expo by lunch on the first day. Madness. They even overnighted some from California that were going to be for the Tinkerbell half so they could sell more at the expo Friday!


The New Balance folks talked about finding the right shoe fit, while the attendees Tweeted away and took plenty of photos.


We also got to hear from some runners who helped make the sport what it is today. It was great to hear some wisdom from these legends.


Jeff showing off his 20 year anniversary marathon ring he was presented with for running all 20 runDisney marathons.


Seen above: Jeff Galloway, Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson, New York and Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers, Runner’s World columnist Bart Yasso, TV host Dick Beardsley, and Olympic marathoner Desiree Davila.

The surprises just kept on coming though. I heard a familiar voice but didn’t see anyone until I saw this truck come flying around the corner…it was Joey Fatone from NSYNC!



Joey was running his first Goofy, just like me. He was very funny and personable. I may have screamed like an eighth grade girl. While Joey was talking, Adriano Bastos caught me looking at his tattoos, and was more than happy to show them to me. We took a couple photos while Joey was talking, and I even got caught in the act! (Check out the 3rd photo down, you can see me about to take Adriano’s photo in the background behind Jeff Galloway!)

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After Joey spoke (no there is no NYSNC reunion tour in the work, and yes he ran the half with his wife) another guest made a surprise appearance, Drew Carey!




This guy is super funny. He told some funny Price is Right stories, and also told us about how he knew he needed a lifestyle change and decided to lose weight and start running. Super inspiring to see how thin he is now in person! His best advice was to put the Plinko chip right in the middle. Smile

We also got to hear from Eddie Mason, former NFL player, who talked a lot about balance and core strength, which I thought was a great reminder for all runners. He spoke about Cigna and the NFL Total Wellness workout.


Adriano Bastos was also introduced, and we wished him luck in trying to win the marathon for his eighth time. (Check out his calf tattoos!)

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Just when we thought the fun was over, out came Minnie, Mickey, Pluto, and Goofy in their running gear to take photos with us. I was stoked about this because I missed taking pictures before the event because I was too busy running around talking to people. We ran over to Mickey’s line first.


After that we went over to talk to Drew Carey, who was so nice and told me to tweet him the link to my blog when I told him I was a blogger.

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Next we went to Joey’s line, which was the longest of all, which was pretty hysterical. As are these photos. When it was my turn, I asked if I could give him a hug. He said sure, and Bobby took photos…which made it look like I was making out with Joey. I die.


BAHAHA. I love it.

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This is where I told him I saw the No Strings Attached concert in New Orleans and that I lost my voice screaming like a little girl. (His daughter is in the background in the pink polka dot skirt)


And this is where he probably thinks I am insane and is slowly backing away.


I’m not awkward around famous people or anything….



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I had a heart to heart with Minnie but then it was time to go.


runDisney gave us all goody bags which included all of the below plus a one day park hopper ticket! So nice and generous.

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It was an amazing way to kick off the weekend, and I felt so lucky to get to hang out with some amazing people and make some new friends as well! A huge thanks to runDisney for working so hard to put on such a fun meet up and for inviting a bunch of runners to have some fun before the race. I had a blast!

QOTD: Who would you like to see at a runDisney meet up?

*Disclosure: I attended this weekend as media thanks to runDisney, however all opinions are my own

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  1. Looks like a lot of fun-glad you and Bobby got to go! I think the best part would be to run around the park with just a few people 🙂

  2. Exciting!!! Sounds like a fabulous time and I love the pictures! Bahah…Joey slowly backing away….

  3. Love your recap and photos…it was another great meet up by runDisney.

  4. Great pics Heather! This was my first runDisney meetup and this will definitely be hard to top! I had so much fun!

  5. I love reading all your runDisney recaps 🙂 I’m hoping to attend the meetup at the DL half this year!

  6. How fun! I still love reading your recaps. I’ll make it there someday but in the meantime will live vicariously through you.

  7. It looks like so much fun. I would really like to be part of one of the meet ups some year. Maybe next year.

  8. Christine @We Run Disney says

    LOVE the photos and commentary on meeting Joey. Hilarious!! And yes, I think a lot of us are awkward around celebrities. It was a fabulous morning!

  9. Wow awesome meetup! Haha I would have been busted taking pics too 😉 hoping I get into the one at princess!

  10. Wow! I probably would’ve been absolutely starstruck, between Drew, Joey and all the famous runners. That’s quite a line-up.

  11. How awesome! I would have passed out if I met Desi. It is my goal in life to go to one of these meet ups w/ you 🙂

  12. This sounds like it was so much fun! I LOVE Adriano’s tattoos for each Disney marathon he’s won, it’s fun to see that he’s a Disney fan!

  13. I’m so happy I saw runDisney retweet your blog! I’m a new runner/blogger and my goal is the 2014 Disney Princess Half (followed by many more runDisney races). Thanks for the great review. I would love to participate in a runDisney meet-up eventually. Reading this makes me so excited for what’s to come for me!

  14. Wow! It looks like you had a fantastic time, and I loved following your adventure all weekend. How did you get access to media passes? I work in TV in NoFla and would have LOVED to have had someone there, since it’s such a huge weekend.

  15. That looks like so much fun!! Honestly, I’d love to attend one of these with Drew there again. I’d love to tease him about the play he did in high school with Jeff’s mom and see if he remembers.

  16. It sounds like the meetup was awesome! The picture of you and Joey is so funny! Glad you had a great time!

  17. Hey Heather! Looks like you had an amazing time!! This race is on my bucket list! I ran the Princess last year. In fact, I ran pretty much right behind you and your crew until just before the castle! I have been reading about your hip issues, and I struggle too. What types of stretching do you do for your hips? Thanks!

    • oh thats so funny! lol! I do a lot of yoga poses…pigeon pose, etc. to open my hips. Try googling “yoga for runners” and you will find stuff!

  18. Okay those pics with Joey are awesome! LOL

    What a great time you had 🙂

  19. Great recap! We had a blast, too! 🙂

  20. I’m so jealous! It looks like it was totally FAB! I love Minnie’s running skirt, too. awesome!

  21. Holy crazy fun! Are you coming to princess? I have to get to a tweet up soon!

  22. Oddball question – for these meet ups, everyone is wearing the same runDisney tech T. Do they give those to participants or does everyone buy one in advance?

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