Just 500 of the fastest marathoners – Runner Describes Disney’s “First Invitational Marathon”


Like nearly all large marathons over the past year, The 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon went virtual. Some runners that had hotel reservations made the trip anyhow and ran their virtual races on Disney property to earn their medals.

One runner boasted of a race for ‘just 500 of the fastest marathoners” – a field limited to those that have a completed marathon of under 4:00:00 within the past year.

“what a race. just too many things to say but this one was for runners, no spectators, no character photo spots, no entertainment. Just 500 of the fastest marathoners”

the only cheering came from cast members as you ran through the parks. very tight security and a constant reminder that there were elimination points during the race. my final 3:51:09 time was a testament to a great pace strategy and an intimate knowledge of every mile of the course.

there were many pace casualties, mostly by young runners who tried to keep up with the lead group. once I passed the boardwalk and entered epcot I knew i was going to finish under time so I stopped for a second at japan because its a seven year tradition to say my thanks that I can still compete.

The detail of this event that was reserved for 500 top runners was shared by a Florida man, James Nishinaka. Nishinaka is a regular participant at The Walt Disney World Marathon and The Space Coast Marathon.

the finish line was full of runners cheering on the final person to cross the line. the perks for being in this race are out of this world. two park hopper passes. a pair of special disney new balance shoes. a jacket and pin and an entry to one disney future race.

But the biggest reward was a surprise to all:

the surprise that we found out at the finish was those that finished got automatic berths into the next boston marathon. im not sure if disney will ever do this again and at this point im not sure ill be running sub 4 marathons. it was really hard and at times i wanted to stop but its just not in me to quit once i start something. it was a very good race.

Either you are now angry that Boston was giving automatic entries to finishers of a closed, top secret Disney race, or more likely, you realized early on that there was no such race and it was all a lie. The medal he posted was for the Virtual Marathon and the photo was from a previous Disney Marathon.

James has run The Walt Disney World Marathon many times. His times would not have gained him entry to this fictional race.. He finished the 2020 Walt Disney Marathon in a time of 6:27:24. The prior two years he finished in over 6 hours.

This was not his first lie. It is just a peak into his character.

Space Coast Marathon

James did finish in under 4 hours, but he ran the half marathon (2:46:25).

James claimed an average pace of 6:36 minutes per mile for the 10k Epic Character Race. He finished in 1:02:12 – a 10:00 minute per mile pace.

Despite the official looking jacket, James did not compete in the 2019 National Senior Games. He is not listed in the full results book. Also, despite the Olympic team patch, while there are qualification standards which must be met to compete, participants are not considered members of the United States Olympic Team. He was listed as a registrant for the High Jump for a previous year’s Florida Senior Games, but was listed as DNS (Did Not Start). He was registered for the 2020 Florida Senior Games (Qualification Standards were waived).

In 2016 he posted that he was training for The High jump with an Australian Record Holder:

Why does all of this matter? His bogus race claims are not nearly the worst of Jame’s history of lies and fraud.

Nishinaka Defrauded Elderly Couple of Their Retirement Savings: Allegedly Threatened to Kill Them

In 1990, Nishinaka pled guilty to defrauding an elderly couple of $41,000. The disturbing details are available at the link below.


In or around April 1987, Nishinaka falsely told the Wheelers that he was a stockbroker at Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc. (“Shearson”) and gave them a false business card substantiating his claim. The Wheelers gave Nishinaka $41,000 to invest to build up their savings for retirement. Instead of investing the Wheelers’ money, however, Nishinaka spent it for his personal use. According to Mrs. Wheeler, after Nishinaka told her that he had spent all their money, he threatened to kill her and her husband because Nishinaka believed that they were the source of his problem.

There is another similar complaint listed on an online review site, but it does not appear that any legal action was pursued.

This is just another instance where someone that goes to great lengths to cheat or lie about seemingly inconsequential race results is willing to cross the line into illegal activity. It was discovered that Kelly Agnew had embezzled from his employer after Marathon Investigation publicized his cheating. Jo Benson, aka Emily Clark was found to have falsified her credentials as a therapist after her cheating came to light. As Amanda Wowk was cheating in a Triathlon she was facing sentencing related to harassment and impersonating a police officer.

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  1. At first, I thought this was some guy just making light of the situation with some pretty obvious jokes, like the “everyone qualifies for Boston”, and I’m thinking why is Derek reporting on something that no one will think is true.

    Then I got to the bottom. Yikes!

  2. Was his post longer than what was shared above about his pace? He could have meant 6:36 per KM, right? Not that a 10 minute mile translates perfectly to a 6:36 per KM, but it is pretty close about a 6:13 per KM.

  3. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt about one thing – there is nothing in his post about the 10k Epic Character Race that is incorrect or unreasonable. With a time of 1:02:12 he actually went at 6:13 pace but he did say he started at the back so add on the time to get to the start line and 6:36 would be in the ball park.

    Of course, that assumes that he is giving his pace in minutes per kilometre, which would be inconsistent with his use of imperial measurements everywhere else but maybe – just maybe – reasonable for a 10km race.

    But then, I’m not American and kilometre pace is my natural language; I have no concept of what a fast or slow mile pace might be. Presumably it is the same the other way around – do Americans generally treat races in kilometres any differently to races in miles?

        • For a “change of pace,” switch your Garmin over to min/km. And you can stress over whether you’re running “too fast” or “too slow” in metric.

        • I am American, but I switched over to using metric for my running. With my training or lack there of, I run about 7 minute kilometers, and not even sure of my pace per mile anymore. I switched because my first marathon was in Australia, miles never synced up and I wanted to become more familiar with metric.

    • Americans would always calculate pace as pace per mile – given his characterization of the race I think iit is clear that he was claiming that as his per mile pace.

      • I switched from using imperial distance to metric after my first marathon which was in Australia, but when I give my pace, I would denote it as min/km so it would be clear which units I was using.

  4. Shades of Chandra Bozelko…. She was actually jailed for fraud and her father was an attorney who was disciplined for misappropriation of client funds which he blamed on her!!!!!

  5. How any serious runner would actually think any of this is true. 500 of the fastest runners is equated to people who have run a sub-4:00 marathon?

    Of course, the real tell is early in the article, where it says “Florida man.”

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