State Farm® and runDisney® Team Up for a Magical Experience!
State Farm runners describe the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend as the opportunity of a lifetime
State Farm employee Vy Webster defied the odds as her name was drawn as one of two dozen State Farm sweepstakes winners out of 1,300 entrants to represent the company at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January. To Vy, running and endurance sports are a true passion, and she finds it therapeutic to be challenged and put in the hard work to come out victorious. But in 2016, Vy faced her biggest obstacle yet - a cancer diagnosis.
“If racing and cancer have taught me anything, it's that your mind and body are incredibly capable of more than you can imagine. Running in the half marathon felt like a truly magical escape from the day-to-day management and stress of my ongoing health issues over the past few years,” said Vy. “It's also an important reminder of the health that I do have to help me run 13.1 miles as well as the great support system I have in my family and State Farm.”
This year will mark the 30th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which for the first time, was presented by State Farm. More than 100,000 runners and spectators were part of the events.
One of those runners was Joshua Zilm, who has been working at State Farm for eight years and has been participating in endurance events for more than a decade. This was his first year competing in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and he completed the grueling Dopey Challenge - four races in four days, including a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon.
“Fitness has been a key part of my life and attending an event like this brings a unique energy that is second to none and a welcome change to my daily solo routine in Illinois,” said Joshua. “People love Disney and people love running! When you mix the two, you create a powerful environment that brings together so many people from all walks of life - it’s nothing short of magical.”
Tracy Schaaf, a State Farm employee and a Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend veteran, has made the trek to Florida every year since 2018. Now she trains and runs in memory of her mother, a retired State Farm Underwriter, who unexpectedly passed away in 2019.
“The runDisney community is amazing. They are like a second family to me. Life has changed a lot since I started running in 2018. I’ve been able to focus on my running goals, while grieving and healing from the loss of my mom,” said Tracy. “Nothing keeps me more motivated than running down Main Street USA and crossing the finish line with a shiny, new medal!”
And even those who are not employees of State Farm represented the company in a big way. A community of runners who’ve nicknamed themselves the “Running Buddies”, were excited to hear that State Farm was the presenting sponsor of this year’s event. One of their members contacted her local State Farm agent, Tom Clarke from East Greenbush, NY, who donated red branded t-shirts. Many of them also wore khaki shorts to complete the full State Farm effect.
“It’s always good to get the brand out there and support a great cause,” said Tom.
While on the surface it appears light-hearted and fun to race at Walt Disney World Resort, many participants run for more significant meaning. Whether it’s physical health, mental health, or community, it is amazing to see these good neighbors come together to accomplish their goals and have a magical time!
For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, life, health, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.