“Aggressive” Sheriff Allegedly Threatens Disney Guest

Aggressive sheriff Disney World marathon
Credit: runDisney

Every year, there are a number of special events that take place at Walt Disney World Resort. Events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and After Hours events are incredibly popular. Then there are the runDisney events, where guests can race through the parks before they even open.

mickey's not so scary halloween party 2023 sold out tickets family cinderella castle magic kingdom disney world halloween costumes

Credit: Disney

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It seems that each year, runDisney events are more popular than the year before. Guests will wait in a queue for hours to try to sign up for the event. Some of them have sold out in less than a day. Each runDisney event has a special theme, like the Wine n’ Dine Half Marathon and the Princess Half Marathon weekend.

Runners Dressed Up

Credit: runDisney

Each January, Walt Disney World has its Marathon weekend. The event consists of a 5K, a 10K, a half-marathon, and a full marathon. Then, there is the Dopey Challenge — where guests run all four races! For those who want to run more than one, there is also the Goofy Challenge, where the guest runs the half-marathon and the marathon.

Many guests look forward to this event and train for it for months. Sadly, one guest says that his experience during his race was soured when he encountered an “aggressive” deputy from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Dopey Costume

Credit: runDisney

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Runner Ryan Lahiff said that he ran the marathon this weekend, and while he had a great time, there was one disturbing issue he had. According to Lahiff, he was chased by the deputy when he stepped off the racecourse to kiss his wife. He further claimed that the deputy threatened to detain his wife, who had not done anything wrong.


Credit: runDisney

Lahiff’s post reads:

Congrats to all the runners this weekend!

Unfortunately a disappointing story to share from today’s marathon – my wife & I are staying at Coronado Springs, she couldn’t make it to the start to cheer me on so we’d scoped out that the course ran right past the hotel, at the right turn from Western Way onto Buena Vista drive. right before the 19 mile marker and the run down to the parking lot of Blizzard Beach. 

We’d checked with the hotel, they said they’d been told families could cheer from the roadside, I checked the event guide, it didn’t say anything about this stretch of the course. But when my wife and a few other families arrived they were confronted by an immediately aggressive county sheriff. 

Firstly, he told them no one could spectate in this stretch, even though within sight were about two dozen other spectators. Then he said it was a dangerous position, even though both roads were completely closed to all traffic. 

When I arrived I stepped two feet off the course to kiss my wife before being shouted at by the sheriff, who ran over threatening to immediately have me removed from the event. When I told him (mostly politely) that he had no reason to do that, he chased me down the course to record my bib number then went back and threatened to “detain” my wife. My wife said the sheriff had already berated another supporter who tried to give her boyfriend/husband dry socks, again the sheriff claimed they could be handing over contraband & that today’s marathon is a qualifier for the Boston & Chicago marathons and any outside assistance would see the runner immediately disqualified. 

Now I’ve run races big & small all over the country and the world, and from my experience the police are ALWAYS amazing – they go out of their way, often in awful weather conditions, to support the runners and their supporters, but today was beyond unnecessary. Needless to say it put me in a pretty foul mood for the last 7 miles of the marathon and I immediately went and spoke to the event staff at the information tent at the finish so they also had my bib number and the info from my side.

Everything this weekend has been amazing, even in testing weather conditions for the event organisers & competitors – situations like this aren’t what I associate with runDisney events, hopefully the sheriff is found and “educated” on some of his false information…

RunDisney marathon

Credit: Facebook

Another woman in the group said that she had encountered the same deputy, and had also had a very unpleasant experience with him. Haley Bombard said that she was trying to find a spot so she could see her mom when she ran by. She said that the deputy threatened to have her removed. Thankfully, she managed to find another spot.

According to the runDisney website, spectators are not allowed to stand in the road or on overpasses to watch the event. But it does not say that they cannot stand along the course. However, the site does not list Coronado Springs as a place where guests can go to watch the race.

Disney World marathon viewing

Credit: runDisney

The site also says that spectators cannot hand out food or beverages to runners. But it does not say that spectators cannot hand out dry socks to runners.

Officials from Disney, runDisney, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office have not commented on the accusations levied against the “aggressive” deputy.

Have you ever seen a police officer act overly aggressive in a Disney Park? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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