Jonathan Briskman is set to compete in the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Half Marathon

Jonathan Briskman has a game plan going into the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Half Marathon, a 13.1-mile race that starts at 7 a.m. on the Silverado Trail in St. Helena, near Conn Creek Winery, and follows a point-to-point course to the finish-line area at Vintage High School on Trower Avenue, on Sunday, March 3.

Briskman, a resident of San Francisco, said one of his focuses will be on trying to stay relaxed for the first few miles, making sure that he doesn’t go out too fast, while still looking to keep up a good pace.

“A lot of it is experience, having raced quite a few half marathons now,” Briskman said in a telephone interview last week. “It’s just knowing how it’s supposed to feel for the first few miles, so that you can pace yourself accordingly, so that hopefully you can finish strong or even a little bit faster at the end.”

Briskman, 27, is one of the elite-level entrants, event organizers said, as he has a personal record time of 1 hour, 7 minutes, 12 seconds at the race distance.

The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, a 26.2-mile race now in its 41st year and beginning at 7:30 a.m. in Calistoga, is also sold out, with 2,000 runners. The marathon heads south on the Silverado Trail, to the finish line at Vintage.

“That was kind of a breakthrough race,” he said. “I’m hoping to build on that actually at Napa this year and run even a little bit faster. The set-up is point to point, with very few turns. That makes it pretty quick, as well as it’s a little bit of a net downhill.”

“That’s what I’m shooting for, trying to get as close as I can to about that five-minute pace,” he said. “I’m really excited for it. I’m really excited to try and run a fast time.”

Briskman ran a PR of 2 hours, 20 minutes, 18 seconds and placed 63rd overall at the California International Marathon in December. His previous best was 2:28.

posted Tuesday February 26th