Disney’s Princess Half Marathon champion Rachel Booth sets new records

Rachel Booth set the course record in her second straight win at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon and earned a record fourth win at Disney. Photo: Rachel Booth wins Disney's Princess Half Marathon-Preston Mack/runDisney

NEW YORK, February 25, 2013 — When it comes to winning Disney half marathons, no one does it better than elite runner Rachel Booth. The 32-year-old mother of two won her fourth Disney race Sunday at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in course record time. It was her second consecutive Princess Half victory. She also won the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2010 and 2011. At four wins, she owns the most runDisney victories of any woman.

“It never gets old, for sure,” Booth said after the race. “As I got to Mile 7 and 8 and through Mile 10, I got to see some people [cheering] and that definitely gave me extra incentive.”

Booth, who lives in Mandeville, La., beat her own course record, set last year, by 33 seconds, finishing in 1:17:38. Her husband and two children met her at the finish line. Mia Elbon of Nashville, Tenn., finished second in a time of 1:18:04, and Megan Jaswell of Johnston, RI, came in third in 1:26:47.

The race’s organizer, runDisney, issued a heat advisory ahead of the Sunday morning event, which saw unseasonably warm temperatures rise into the 70s in the early hours of the day with 90 percent humidity. But the heat and humidity didn’t seem to slow Booth down. After the 5:35 a.m. start, she lead the charge of 26,000 runners and kept her lead the entire race, holding off second-place finisher Elbon, who was just behind her.

Like many Disney runners, Booth juggles raising two children, a part-time job and training. But unlike most folks who run Disney, Booth is a professional athlete who competed in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January 2012, where she set a personal record of 2:37:59 and finished 31st. She followed it up with the USA Half Marathon Championships in June 2012, where she finished 17th in a time of 1:15:29.

But getting to combine a family vacation with racing is a unique experience.

Fireworks signal the start of Disney’s Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 24, 2013. (Photo: Preston Mack/runDisney)

“This is one of my most exciting experiences — being part of the Disney events,” Booth told runners at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon in 2012. “This was a lot of fun to have my two children there to enjoy the whole experience and just to see mommy cross the finish line with Minnie and Mickey.”

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon is a women-focused event that takes runners on a 13.1-mile trek through Magic Kingdom and Epcot at Walt Disney World in Florida. It is the marquee race in Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend, which also includes a 5K, kids’ races, an expo and other events. The race celebrated its fifth anniversary this year with record participation numbers; more than 36,000 runners participated in races throughout the weekend.

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend is one of two women-focused events in the runDisney series, which includes seven race weekends throughout the year. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., is the other women’s event put on by runDisney.

Read more about Rachel Booth and how she juggles training, motherhood, and work here.

Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runner’s lifestyle web show about running. She has completed six marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. She’s also run four runDisney races herself. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.comFacebook and Twitter@KBruning.

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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine, RunnersWorld.com, Active.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.


A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on RunKarlaRun.com, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

Contact Karla Bruning


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