Texas Man Didn’t Let Diabetes Stop Him From Becoming the First Person to Run From Disneyland to Disney World
“I’m very happy with the results because when people are inspired, then I've paid it forward.”
Texan Don Muchow recently made history when he decided to run from Disneyland to Disney World. Running 2,761 miles over 88 days Muchow became the first person to run from the California theme park to its Orlando companion property.
It should be no surprise that Muchow is an ultra marathoner and Iron Man enthusiast, in his free time from a job as a marketing director in Dallas, Texas. But even running 50 mile or 100 mile races can't quite prepare a person to run from California to Florida. Yet Muchow did just that and he did it for a good cause—proving that he is not held back by his Type 1 diabetes and hoping to inspire others as well.
Muchow has lived with Type 1 diabetes since 1972, according to his website, but didn't really start exercising until 2004. After "feeling like the boogeyman of diabetes complications" was "creeping up on" him, he signed up for his first 5K. "[That] was a pivotal moment for me," Muchow told Good Morning America. He fell in love with running after that first race and made it part of his life.
He never dreamed that he would become the first person to run from Disneyland to Disney World, though. That idea came from the son of a friend also living with Type 1 diabetes and "it instantly clicked" for him. "Disney's slogan, 'If you can dream it, you can do it,' goes double for everyone like me, with serious lifelong medical conditions," Muchow told Good Morning America.
Tackling such a long run, particularly with a lifelong medical condition, took a lot of planning, but even the best-laid plans didn't include a pandemic. According to the Dallas affiliate of CBS News, in March 2020, Muchow had to put his run on hold and couldn't start again until September. He then hit the road again, running all the way to the Texas/Arkansas border before the run was put on hold again due to spikes in the virus in October. The final leg of his journey kicked off on March 2, 2021, and this time made it all the way to Disney World. On April 5, he finished his "mouse to mouse" adventure.
"If this run is an example of just one person making a difference to raise awareness, then it served its purpose," he told GMA. "I'm very happy with the results because when people are inspired, then I've paid it forward."