Ahh… the holidays, a time of year for laughter, love, and joyous occasions, not to mention cookies, candy, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. No wonder the number one New Year's Resolutions for the past fifty years have been to "eat better, get in shape," or "lose weight." We eat too much of the wrong foods and with all the family get together and parties we attend, there just never seems to be enough time to exercise during the holidays. Well there is an annual Disney event that can help combat the guilt caused by holiday eating. In fact, you will begin to feel very proud of yourself just by committing to participate. It's the annual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

January 7th through 10th will be a weekend filled with various races and health-oriented events. The weekend kicks off with Disney's Health and Fitness Expo held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. This is the place where race participants pick up their race packets and shirt numbers. The Expo also features guest speakers on topics of nutrition, training, and racing. Celebrity runners will also make appearances during this event.

You don't have to be a marathon-caliber runner to participate in the Marathon Weekend. There are several different races that you could compete in from a 5K to a marathon and a half. The 5K is great for beginners, at only about three miles. And you don't have to be concerned with actually running the whole time. If you need to slow it down and walk some of the race, that is fine. It's a very good length race to try for the first time and what better atmosphere to run in than Disney World! It's always easier to run when you have fun and entertaining things to look at along the way.


There are longer races, too. If you want a little bit more of a challenge, the half marathon, 13.1 miles could be for you. This race starts in the Magic Kingdom and finishes in Epcot . And it wouldn't be called a Marathon Weekend without a marathon. The Disney Marathon is one of the most fun races in the country. If you are trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon or another renowned race, the Disney Marathon is a great time to do it. Running through the magical worlds of Disney theme parks provides extra motivation and interest, which can give you the boost you need to push yourself a little further. This 26.2 mile race winds you through all four Orlando Disney parks - Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.

For more advanced runners, there is the Marathon and a Half race. It takes place over two days, not 39 miles in a row. They call it Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. The half marathon is run on Saturday, then the full marathon on Sunday- back to back races! It is quite a test for the body.

Disney also holds races for kids from a 100 meter dash to one full mile, making this an event for the entire family. Registration is now open and races are filling up quickly, so don't procrastinate. And just think of how much more you will enjoy the holidays, knowing that in early January, you will be working some of those extra calories off.

Renting a Disney condo or a Disney World vacation homes is a great idea if you are coming of the Disney Marathon. The extra space and multiple TV's are perfect place to relax after running 26.2 miles.