Mission Accomplished: Brazil’s Samuel Souza Do Nascimento Conquers the Galaxy at the 2nd Annual Star Wars Half Marathon — The Dark Side at Walt Disney World Resort


Lakeland’s Sydney Devore is top women’s finisher; Over 17,000 Florida runners were among 45,500 participants in the second-largest runDisney half marathon weekend

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (April 23, 2017) — Samuel Souza Do Nascimento of Limeira, Brazil, took the Dark Side by storm, winning all three race-weekend events, including the 2nd annual Star Wars Half Marathon — The Dark Side at Walt Disney World Resort; the second largest runDisney half marathon race weekend.

Nascimento, 28, channeled the Force to run the half marathon through Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1:07:14, smashing last year’s race record of 1:13:39. Tyler Andrews of Arlington, Va. was second (1:09:40) and Sam Montclair of Durham, N.C. was third (1:13:07).

“The thing that impressed me about this race is the overall energy of the run,” said Nascimento. “Other races I have run in the past, there have been one or two people on the sideline cheering and here there is a whole different energy to it, which helped me perform at an entirely different level.”

Earlier in the race weekend, Nascimento won the Stars Wars 5K, and Star Wars 10K before taking the half marathon on Sunday. When asked about winning the weekend’s three racing events, Nascimento simply replied, “Mission accomplished.”

Sydney Devore, 25, of Lakeland, Fla. was the first female finisher of the 13.1-mile race, setting the race record with a winning time of 1:20:15. The second-place female finisher was Jacki Wachtel of New Port Richey, Fla. (1:22:29) and third-place finisher was Georganne Watson of Gainesville, Fla. (1:25:44).

“This was a bucket list race for me, and I PR’d (set a personal record) by five minutes so I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out,” stated Devore. “It’s a dream come true, really.”

The 2nd annual Star Wars Half Marathon — The Dark Side boasted a weekend of galactic family-friendly events, including the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo and the runDisney Kids Races, in addition to the Star Wars 5K, Star Wars 10K and half marathon. The weekend also included the 19.3-mile Star Wars Dark Side challenge, completing both the Star Wars 10K and half marathon in back-to-back days.

The Star Wars Half Marathon — The Dark Side is the fourth race in runDisney’s nine-race series that encompasses Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris. Next month, runners can take flight with Tinker Bell and her friends during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry, taking place May 11-14.

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Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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