Brazilian runner, Giovanna Martins, believed to be first woman to win a major half marathon; More than 15,000 runners tackle 13.1-mile race across Walt Disney World Resort
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2017) – Giovanna Martins of Salto, Brazil made history Sunday in winning the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. She is believed to be the first woman to be the overall winner of a major half marathon race (more than 10,000 male and female runners) and the first runDisney female runner to reach the finish line first in the 13.1-mile race.
The 34-year-old runner dashed past second-place finisher, Paul Graham of Whitehaven, UK (1:19:22) winning the race by six seconds with a time of 1:19:16. Joseph Dreher of Melbourne, FL took third place with a time of 1:20:27.
“To my knowledge, this is the first time a female runner has won a major half marathon race that included both male and female runners,” said race director Jon Hughes. “What I think is amazing is that in the 80s, the race field was only 15% women. Fast forward to today and our race participants are nearly 65% female. It’s exciting to see the growth of female participation, and to see women becoming more competitive and making gains in the industry.”
“To be the first, now that’s historic for Brazil, it’s historic for this race. It’s a story I’ll tell my family, friends and students. I’ll never forget it,” said Martins.
Martins, who won the women’s division of last year’s Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, broke her personal record for the race. She is the only female runner to win four runDisney races at Walt Disney World Resort – winning the women’s division at the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2015 and 2017. Last year, Martins learned that her nephew was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, inspiring her to run on his behalf and spread awareness for kids with similar conditions.
Following the race on Sunday, thousands of runners attended the Post-Race Party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
Martins was one of 35,000 runners who participated in the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend presented by MISFIT, which included the Disney Fall Feast 5K, Disney Wine and Dine 10K, Kids races, Disney Two Course Challenge (running the 10K and half marathon), plus a Health & Fitness Expo featuring the latest in fitness apparel and products.
Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend is the first of four runDisney race weekends at Walt Disney World Resort for the 2017-2018 race season. For more information on race schedules and registrations, visit runDisney.com