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Despite a weather delay and shortened race course, John Mott overcame recent knee surgery to win the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on Saturday night at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. The race began at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex 45 minutes late at 10.45pm and weaved it’s way through Disney’s Hollywood Studios before finishing at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The Animal Kingdom section of the race had to be cancelled due to the inclement weather that threatened the race but contestants still had a lot of fun as they completed the 6.7 mile entertainment filled course.
The winning time was 34:30 as Mott, 28, finished 12 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Juarez Silva of Sao Jose, Brazil (34:42) and 30 seconds in front of third-place finisher and regular Disney Marathon winner Fredison Costa, a Brazilian who resides in Kissimmee, FL and trains at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.
“I came here as a workout because I’m training for a marathon, so this was kind of a last-minute thing,’’ Mott said. “I’ve just been getting over a knee injury. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to finish or not, but actually, cutting the course played in my favor because I didn’t want to put too much stress on my leg. So I’m pretty happy with it.”
Stephanie Zammit, 41, of Canada was the first female finisher with a time of 44:18. It was Zammit’s sixth Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon and her first victory. Sara Ellis of Orangeville, Canada was second (44:45) and Jill Johnston of Fairhope, AL (45:31) was third.
“The atmosphere is amazing, the course is amazing, and the people are great,” Zammit said. “Everything is amazing. I love it.”
Don Gworek won the Men’s Hand Cycle wheelchair category in a time of 31:28.
The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon capped off a sold-out weekend that included more than 20,000 runners during the two day event. This included more than 14,000 runners who ran through the two Disney theme parks on Saturday night. The runners celebrated their accomplishment at an exclusive after hours Finish Line Part at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, featuring more than 30 marketplaces offering fine cuisine and wine, plus Disney characters, musical performances and the opportunity to ride signature Epcot attractions.
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com