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The annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon has kept to its traditions over 40 years. It’s always on the first Sunday in March. The 26.2-mile full marathon race starts at 7:30 a.m. from Rosedale Road and the Silverado Trail in Calistoga. The USA Track & Field certified point-to-point course takes runners south, through St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville and to the finish line, located in the front parking lot area of Vintage High School in Napa.
The 13.1 mile half marathon race, new this year, starts at 7:00 a.m. on the Silverado Trail at Conn Creek Winery and also finishes at Vintage High School.
The companion Greater Kiwanis Club of Napa 5K (3.1 miles) race starts at 7:30 a.m. at Vintage High School where it also finishes.
Michelle La Sala, the founder of Blistering Pace Race Management, is the event’s new race director.
La Sala takes over for Rich Benyo and Dave Hill, who retired after 16 years as co-race directors following the 40th annual race last year. Benyo and Hill have each been involved with the race for 30 years.
”It shouldn’t be a surprise that people love to come and run in the Napa Valley,” says La Sala. “It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.”
On January 9, 2018 Forbes Travel Guide rated NVM among the top 13 marathons in the world “worth traveling for,” an honor it has bestowed on NVM three times in the past four years. On January 28, 2016 The Economic Timesranked NVM at the top of its list of the “world’s best marathon locations to inspire you to lace up and get training.”
Runner’s World magazine selected NVM as one of the top ten U.S. marathons for first-time marathon participants in its January, 2011 issue. My Best Runs/World’s Best Road Races ranks NVM as one of the world’s best 100 races (regardless of distance).
There are so many amazing stories surrounding the Napa Valley marathon and here is one of them:
Steve Radigan (67, Fremont., Calif.) is the only runner that has completed all 40 to date. His phenomenal streak started in 1979, the first year of the event. He owns an amazing total of 156 marathons on his running resume. What keeps this runner returning to NVM every year?
“I love the course, the organization, the size of the field, and how the race has treated me over the years,” Radigan said. “And, it’s much nicer to run on a quiet, gently rolling, uncrowded country road with no traffic than any urbansetting. The fact that it’s a point-to-point course makes quitting less tempting. There’s no shortcuts to the finish line.”
Radigan’s first NVM was his third marathon ever. He was 27 years old and had been running for about three years. Although he liked what running had done for his fitness it was becoming clear that he was never going to be an elite runner.
After his third NVM marathon he remembers: “As I was nearing the finish of that year’s race I thought how much I liked the NVM course compared to others and it would be a good goal for me totry to run it every year until I was 50,” Radigan said.
In 1982 Radigan crossed the NVM finish line in 2 hours, 49 minutes, and 9 seconds, dipping under the qualifying time he needed for Boston by 51 seconds.
“Other races have come and gone,” said Radigan. “But I’ve been fortunate that NVM has continued and allowed me to come back year after year.”(02/18/2019) ⚡AMP
As one of California's top tourist destinations, Napa Valley has been home to this race for decades. When it comes to scenic, it just doesn't get better than Napa in the spring. The narrow valley is covered in grape vines that stretch high up the hillsides on either side. The colors are crisp green, blue and yellow at that time...more...