For runDisney participants, it only takes a half-marathon at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the same calendar year to qualify for a “Coast to Coast” medal. For Texas runner Don Muchow’s “Coast to Coast”(or “Mouse to Mouse”) challenge, he became the first person to ever run from Disneyland in California all the way to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.
Muchow, who began his journey on February 1, 2020 had planned to spend about 90 days running, but a global pandemic stopped him in his tracks…twice. Undeterred, Muchow resumed running once he and his wife Leslie determined it was safe enough to do so. That said, running over 2,700 miles isn’t the large gathering activity experts have warned everyone to avoid. In fact, his run was mostly a solo journey with his wife always nearby in a van packed with all the supplies a coast to coast runner should need. Still Muchow, who has Type 1 diabetes, didn’t want to put anyone else at risk and hit pause once in March 2020 and again after a short restart in October as COVID-19 cases started to rise into the winter months.
Muchow restarted his run in early March 2021, and arrived at Walt Disney World yesterday, April 5th. BlogMickey.com was at Magic Kingdom to capture the historical run and follow Don down Main Street USA before he jumped on it’s a small world and enjoyed a well-deserved Mickey Bar.
Muchow’s final stretch took him past the TRON Lightcycle Run construction site and past Space Mountain.
Now on Walt Disney World property and around other guests, Don donned a face covering and went through a temperature check as is required of all guests.
With the proverbial red carpet rolled out in front of him on a red-colored walkway between Disney’s Contemporary Resort and the Magic Kingdom main entrance, Disney surprised Don with a hero’s welcome as he finally made it to the main entrance of Magic Kingdom.
As Don rounded the final corner with a monorail passing by and offering honks of congratulations, a gathering of Cast Members and interested guests waited to congratulate him on finally arriving in Walt Disney World.
Here’s a video of the final stretch of Don Muchow’s historic run, courtesy of WishUponARun.com.
Magic Kingdom Vice President Melissa Valiquette even offered her congratulations to Don and his wife before welcoming them into Magic Kingdom for a walk down Main Street USA, through Cinderella Castle, and onto a ride they say is a must do for them on every visit – it’s a small world.
So, how does one run from Disneyland to Magic Kingdom? Logistically, Don has a play-by-play printout of each and every step that he keeps in a ziplock bag in his running belt of tools. The entire operation is impressive, but there is something else that is essential to completing anything in life – motivation.
As a Type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed just a year after Walt Disney World opened, Don’s doctor’s orders were clear – don’t exercise. For 42 years, Don followed his doctor’s advice, but began to experience vision complications in 2003. His medical problems helped kickstart his journey to becoming more healthy, but his real motivation for a coast-to-coast run like this was inspiring other diabetics like him.
We were lucky enough to spend some time with Don as he briefly enjoyed Magic Kingdom yesterday afternoon. While it was fun to watch him enjoy his favorite attractions and even take a bite out of the classic Mickey Bar, it wasn’t until we saw him interact with a Security Cast Member who had a daughter facing diabetes that we saw Don catch a second wind.
In just the few minutes that we saw Don interact with the Cast Member, he told his life story and how he managed to not only run from one side of the country to the other, but how he manages his day-to-day life living with Type 1 diabetes. At first glance, you’ll notice the bright orange, high-visibility clothing that is meant to protect him on his long runs, but look closer and you’ll notice a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor that is linked to his wife’s phone. Even the Mickey Bar that Don enjoyed while taking a quick break in Fantasyland had to be allocated for and monitored.
But Don’s message is one of inspiration, not inconvenience. At the end of the day, he was not only the first person to ever run between Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but he did so while managing his Type 1 diabetes.
Congratulations Don! For more info, visit Don’s website.