Melissa Hernandez of Oxnard wins her first half marathon ever; More than 30,000 runners take part in women-focused weekend of events centered on health, fitness and active lifestyles - ANAHEIM, Calif. (January 19, 2014) — With the help of a little pixie dust, Melissa Hernandez won her first-ever half marathon Sunday, flying away from the field to win the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.
Hernandez, a 29-year-old from Oxnard, Calif, ran among the leaders early in the 13.1-mile race. But nearly halfway through the event, Hernandez left the remaining challengers behind, floating across the finish line amid cheers, confetti and classic Disney characters.
Hernandez zipped around the course in 1 hour, 25 minutes, 40 seconds, nearly two minutes ahead of second-place finisher Alyssa White of Durham, NC (1:27:28). Hernandez’s winning time was the third-fastest in the race’s three-year history. Kellie Nickerson of Albuquerque, NM, who won the inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon in 2012, came in third (1:28:58).
“I had finished second in a few half marathons, but I had never won one,’’ said Hernandez, who was running in her first Tinker Bell Half Marathon. “And I had never run in a race this big before either, so this was really nice to win my first one here.’’
Hernandez beat out more than 15,000 runners who ran the race through Disneyland Resort and past several city of Anaheim landmarks. The third annual event featured music, entertainment, Disney characters and costumed runners, including many wearing fairy wings and pixie dust. Finishers received a commemorative Tinker Bell “wings’’ medal.
The weekend of events, all geared toward health, fitness and active lifestyles for women, featured a variety of events, including the Never Land Family Fun Run 5K on Friday, the new Disneyland 10K, the runDisney Kids Races and a Pasta Party on Saturday, and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Sunday. There was also a three-day health and fitness expo featuring the latest running merchandise, products, apparel and guest speakers – all tailored for women.
Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend, hosted by Disneyland Resort in partnership with the City of Anaheim, is one of two women-focused event weekends in the runDisney series. The other is Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which takes place at Walt Disney World Resort in late Feb. Both event weekends are among the largest women-specific events in the country.
Runners can register for any runDisney race weekend at www.rundisney.com