Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are attractive to families, and each offers a different experience. People who have been to both don’t usually run from one to the other, though. And I mean really “run.” Iron man athlete Don Muchow, 59, was welcomed into Disney World in Florida with cheers on Tuesday after a grueling run spanning roughly 2,800 miles.
The Texas man kicked off his journey near Disneyland in California last year as a way to raise awareness for Type 1 Diabetes. He’s lived with the disease for decades.
“I was diagnosed in 1972. Back then, there were no glucose meters and doctors knew the risks of low blood sugar. My doctor told me not to exercise and I followed those instructions for 42 years,” Muchow said. He decided to start running following a flurry of medical problems associated with the illness.
“Many of us, you know, want to be active, we want to be healthy, want to avoid complications but there are complications to avoiding complications, and I wanted to help people who were living with the disease see that there are safe ways to do even epic things,” he said.
He started with a 5k race, then a 10k, working his way to a marathon. From there, he kept going: a 50k race, a quadruple marathon. He shifted his focus to Iron Man triathlons — extreme races that include biking, swimming and running — then ran across Iowa and Texas.
Last year, he decided he wanted to challenge himself even further with a transcontinental run, from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. The Disney element wasn’t on his radar until a conversation with a friend.
“He said, ‘Well, so I assume you’re running from Disneyland to Disney World?’ And I hadn’t actually thought about it that way.” He’s believed to be the first person to complete the journey.