American runner wins Walt Disney World Marathon, ending Brazilian streak

Sunday marks first American win in WDW race in 14 years

(Photo courtesy of WDW)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. – Sunday marked the end of an era when a 28-year-old man became the first American runner to win the Walt Disney World Marathon in more than a decade, putting an end to Brazil's recent winning streak.

Nick Hilton, the winner of the race that marked Disney's 25th annual run, was the fourth American


athlete to win the 26.2 mile race that spans throughout all four theme parks and ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex.

The last American win was earned 14 years ago by Matthew Dobson. Since then, a Brazilian runner has finished first in six of the last seven annual races, including the last four, according to Disney officials.

But Brazil still made history Sunday when Giovanna Martins, of Sao Paulo, won in the women's


division for the third time in the last four years, making her the only three-time women's winner in history, according to Disney.

Hilton's win not only marked a special anniversary for the annual race, but a personal one as well. The Arizona runner's winning time qualified him for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the 2020 Summer Games, Disney said. The win also comes one year after he got engaged at Walt Disney World Resort.

“I feel amazing,’’ Hilton, who Disney officials said hasn’t had a lot of success in marathon races, said. “The marathon has been a mixed bag for me, so to come back to a place (Walt Disney World 
Resort) that means a lot to me and my wife, and to come back and win, feels amazing.’’

More than 100,000 runners participated in the 25th annual run, which has grown significantly since 1994, when the first race was held with only 8,000 participants, Disney officials said.

Sunday's race was the final day of a five-day race weekend made up of races that varied in length and numbers of participants. The race weekend was held amid a cold snap in Central Florida, making runners' wins seem even more difficult to achieve.

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