The 'other' Walt Disney World 5K

As we prepare to head down for another runDisney weekend, I think about how few and far between running events at Walt Disney World seem to me.  I say this of course, mindful that new events have been added in California at DisneyLand.  But where is the love for Florida?  

Well, as it turns out - there is something else out there for runners.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports (WWOS) complex on property is host to numerous events throughout the year - everything from soccer to cheerleading to Crossfit.  DisneyGroom even participated in basketball events there during his high school years.  

If you are like me, your main association with the WWOS is the location for the runDisney expo.  And yes, it is that too.

On October 10 - 11, 2014, ESPN Wide World of Sports will hold its annual Disney Cross Country Classic. Now in its 19th year (yes, this has been around almost as long as the WDW Marathon), the event attracts cross country runners from middle schools and high schools around the country.  

Yes, I know what you are thinking. Oh... it's just for kids.  Well, many of the events are, as they are organized by age groups.  But there is a OPEN event for ALL ages.

Cross Country Open 5K  Dust off your spikes and hit the trail on the new and improved Disney Cross Country Open 5K course. This fun run is open to athletes of all ages and skill levels. The new course will guide you on a scenic run through the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. 

From what I've seen, part of this course is off-road, similar to the Happy Haunted 5K during runDisney's Tower of Terror 10 Miler Weekend.  Word is that there may be a character or two at the finish line. 

The Cross Country Classic weekend even includes some extras runDisney runners will appreciate.  A mini 'expo' of sorts and a pasta party WITH CHARACTERS.

From the page

Vendor Village:   Be sure to visit the Disney Cross Country Classic Vendor Village located at the HESS® Fields at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex before or after your race!

Pasta Party: Athletes, coaches, and race spectators – everyone’s invited to be a part of the fun during our Cross Country Classic Pasta Party, 6:00 p.m., Friday, October 10, 2014 at Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex!Treat yourself to a scrumptious buffet dinner including mixed greens, smashed potatoes, panko baked pasta, chicken with marinara sauce, rolls and drinks.Kick off race weekend with a live DJ, meet your favorite Disney characters, enjoy a delicious dinner and take in all of the Disney magic. Tickets are $25 for pre-purchase and $30 on the day of party (based on availability at Welcome Center). Get your tickets today at Disney Sports Travel or at theBolt Ticket Store it’s a celebration you won’t want to miss!

You probably want to know "Are there medals???"

What awards are given to the runners competing in the Disney Cross Country Classic?  A: Trophies will be given to the top three (3) athletes and top three (3) teams in each team race (high school, college, and middle school). In each race, individuals placing 4-10 in will receive a medal. For the Open Race, trophies will be given to the top three (3) male and female athletes and individuals placing 4-10 will receive a medal. A first place team trophy may be added for the Open Race if there are sufficient team registrations for the Open Race.

I did a web search and discovered that past medals look like this:

So, okay - you have to be pretty fast to snag a medal.  But still, there really is something magical about lacing up your running shoes and hitting the pavement (or trail) when you are on property. Since we are heading down to WDW this weekend, we won't be able to make this event next week.  But, for locals, and any other runners that find themselves there next week, it's definitely worth checking out!

Have you ever run this event?

Did you happen to catch the cool Mickey Mouse trophies in the video?

Did you ever do any of the many youth athletic competitions at ESPN WWOS?


This is great! Thanks for sharing. We will be leaving Disney right before this event but I will keep this in mind for our fall trip next year. It is definitely a cheaper alternative to a Run Disney event!


I wish they had finisher medals for all, instead of just the podium finishers, but yes, it does still look like fun! I'd be a bit intimidated running with all those superfast high school kids though!


I had no idea this existed - how cool!! If only I lived closer to Florida to take a quick trip over to watch or participate :0)


Wow...good job finding out about this event. While I am not interested in a trail type race, I bet it would be fun doing it perhaps once. Wish their awards were age grouped, because few women my age would take on a trail!


There are other "Track & Field" events held at ESPN WWoS throughout the year. But no additional road races that I am aware of. The trails in that area are not really 'technical' like most people think of off-road running. They are well groomed trails wide enough for equestrian use. I'd say comparable to the trails at Ft. Wilderness, if you have ever run those. I do wish the medals were for all finishers and not just podium though.


I knew about the Track & Field events, but not the Cross Country ones. I hope we get to do this one year. And Lauren, you can always move to Florida! We'd love to have you here. :)


That's pretty cool. It sounds like it would be fun to do, even without the awesome Disney medal (not going to pretend I'd have a chance at one, haha).


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