80-Year-Old Runner Has Run Marathons All Around the World, Says Walt Disney World Marathon Is Unmatched

Walt Disney World Resort recently celebrated its 30th Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, in which over a hundred thousand athletes participate, and even more spectators come to offer support.

Each weekend includes a 5K, a 10K, and a half-marathon. These events have come a long way since they were introduced in 1994 when less than 6,000 athletes participated in the marathons, and few can say they’ve run at every event.

Rudy Smith, however, is among the few who can say so!

Credit: Disney

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Recently, 6 ABC made a report telling of Rudy Smith’s experience running at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekends and all over the world. The 80-year-old runner is originally from Greta, Louisiana, and has been running for decades.

When asked about his first time racing, he told the news channel, “Back in the late 70s, I just happened to do a 5k race.” From there, the athlete says he “gradually worked [his] way up” from 5K marathons to 10K marathons to half-marathons.


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When asked about the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Rudy Smith said:

“It was just so beautiful. So my wife and I ran it that year. And we came back the second year and the thing began to snowball…I don’t think there’s a marathon in the world that can match that.”

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Credit: Disney

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This is even more meaningful when you find out that Smith has run worldwide marathons. One of his goals was to run a marathon on every continent, and he’s since completed that goal.

Although dreams can come true at Walt Disney World, Rudy Smith’s dreams came true in London, Paris, Beijing, and many other iconic cities. But to have run all over the world, even completing a marathon along the Great Wall of China (the Great Wall Marathon), and to still find the Walt Disney World Weekend Marathon one of a kind must mean something extra special!

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Check out the original report by TaRhonda Thomas to learn more about Rudy Smith. 

About Isabella Reimer

Isabella Reimer grew up visiting Walt Disney World and relocated to Central Florida to be even closer to The Most Magical Place on Earth. She earned her Bachelor’s from Florida State University, where she studied Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Her biggest hobby is bonding with the ikran at Avatar Flight of Passage, and her retirement plan includes becoming the 1,000 Happy Haunt of the Haunted Mansion.