The wine country race is set for this Sunday, March 6th
NAPA, CA – This Sunday, March 6th, wine country will play host to the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon & Half Marathon as it welcomes its strongest elite field in the race’s 43-year history. The iconic race reached an early sell out this year across all three offered distances: marathon, half marathon, and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa 5K. Organizers are eager to return to in-person racing for the first time since 2020 to the tune of roughly 5,000 runners.
“Between reaching an early sell out and welcoming our most impressive field of elite athletes in our organization’s history, I can’t think of a better way to return to racing here in the Napa Valley,” said Race Director Michelle La Sala. “All signs point to perfect racing conditions, and we can’t wait to see what transpires out on course.”
All eyes will be on the elites this weekend as competitors square up to set records and crush qualifying times in both the marathon and half marathon. In the marathon, Colorado’s Mason Frank, who has a marathon personal record of 2:17:29, will be racing to beat the men’s marathon course record of 2:16:20. Meanwhile, in the women’s marathon race, Ann Centner of Florida is targeting an Olympic qualifying time of 2:35, which would mark a new personal best and crush the current women’s course record of 2:39:36. Joining Centner’s quest for an Olympic qualifying time are several elite males, who must secure times of 2:18 or faster to reach their goal.
The competition is just as fierce in the half marathon as 2019 marathon champion Liza Reichert returns to try her hand at the shorter distance. If Reichert, a California native, takes the top podium spot, she will become the first athlete in the organization’s history to win both the marathon and the half marathon. Another Bay Area local, Amanuel Mesel, was scheduled to race the NYC Half this weekend but decided to stay local and race 13.1 miles in wine country instead. Mesel’s achievements include having raced in the London and Rio Olympics, and clocking 60 minutes in the half marathon distance four times.
Of note, Jackson Friesth of the men’s half marathon elite field is carrying on a family tradition by competing in wine country. Friesth’s father took the top podium spot over 30 years ago at the 1988 Napa Valley Marathon and qualified for the Olympic Trials with his winning performance.
The marathon course takes off from Calistoga on the Silverado Trail at 7:30am on Sunday, preceded by the half marathon start near Conn Creek Winery at 7am. The Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa 5K is an out-and-back course from the marathon and half marathon finish line at Vintage High School in Downtown Napa. Spectators are welcome at various points along the scenic course, and at the finish line. For a list of safe spectating locations and parking options, click here.
For additional information about the 43rd annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon & Half Marathon, visit napavalleymarathon.org.
About the Napa Valley Marathon, Inc.
Napa Valley Marathon, Inc. is a non-profit organization that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars back into the local community over its 43-year tenure. NVM, Inc. currently has two event weekends under its nonprofit umbrella, the Napa Valley Marathon & Half Marathon, held in early March, and the WineShine Half Marathon & 3.9-Miler, held in mid-July. Proceeds from both events will go into supporting charitable endeavors in the Napa Valley in the form of educational scholarships and donations to service, cause, and environmentally based groups.