The highly-popular Walt Disney World Half-Marathon scheduled for Saturday morning has been cancelled organizers announced Friday. The destination race in Bay Lake, Fla. was cancelled due to weather conditions with the event citing the threat of lightning.
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A Facebook event was created shortly after the announcement was made as runners opted to run a half-marathon on Saturday morning in an unofficial capacity. A number of comments by runners suggest that they were running a half-marathon on Saturday morning to fulfill the Dopey Challenge, which involves running the 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon events on consecutive days.
Severe storms are expected to hit Central Florida for much of Saturday. The marathon, scheduled for Sunday morning, is still on as of Saturday. The Walt Disney World race weekend is one of the most popular races in the United States; last year saw more than 21,000 finishers in the half-marathon.
There are parts of the course that do not provide any immediate shelter during in the event of severe weather. A Canadian, Natasha Yaremczuk, won the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2016.
Walt Disney World statement
“In an abundance of caution, the Walt Disney World Resort has cancelled all running events on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 due to weather conditions. This includes the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon and the Disney Kids Races. In addition, the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo will delay opening until 11 a.m. While we share our guests’ obvious disappointment, the safety of our guests and cast is most important. Weather tracking has indicated there is an elevated risk of lightning in the area of the race course. In addition, there are sections of the course that do not provide immediate access to shelter. Both of these factors have influenced this difficult decision.
All registered half-marathon runners will receive their half-marathon medal and may choose from one of the following options:
– A full refund for their race registration in the form of a Disney gift card.
– Two One-Day Park Hopper tickets.
– Defer registration to another runDisney half-marathon race in the U.S. within the next 24 months, subject to availability.
– We can offer limited availability to run the full marathon on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 during the regularly scheduled race.
– All registered runDisney Kids Race runners will receive their Kids Race medal and a full race registration in the form of a Disney gift card.”