MILLBURY, Mass. — Bill Bachand, of Millbury, wanted to do something special for his 50th birthday, and he decided to do something out of the ordinary. Bachand participated in a three-day event completing 42.5 miles in Disney World’s 20th Anniversary Marathons.
Bachand signed up for the "Goofy Challenge," which is to complete a half-marathon Saturday and a full marathon Sunday -- 39.3 miles in two days. Complete the 5K run Friday and that has been nicknamed the "Dopey" race (an unofficial name).
Bachand, a high school cross-country runner, trained for the event using the Jeff Galloway Walk/Run Program, which takes even novice runners and prepares them in 28 weeks to complete a marathon. His wife, Tina, would bike alongside him as he trained for the event.
On Jan 11, the Bachand family took part in the 5K (3.2 miles) with more than 7500 runners. For Bill and son Bill Jr, who plays football at Springfield College it served as a warm up of things to come. Tina completed the 5K as well.
The next day, the Bachand men completed the half marathon (13.1 miles) with more than 25,000 runners.
Finally, on Jan 13, Bill Bachand completed the full marathon (26.2 miles) to complete the 42.5 mile event with more than 25,000 runners. The marathon courses took runners through the Disney parks with entertainment almost every step of the race.
Disney pulls out all the stops for the runners, starting with fireworks, bands playing, character photo opportunities, wildlife photos, running through Disney parks, fast entrance to Mount Everest Roller Coaster, running through ESPN’s athletic fields, running the race track of Richard Petty’s Driving Experience Speedway and ending with a choir singing at the final stretch.
Last, but certainly not least, family members cheering wildly for runners at the finish line. Reached at their Millbury home, Tina Bachand said the family plans on taking part in the event next year as well.