Napa to Sonoma Wine Country 1/2 Marathon Race Report!

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As I am writing this race recap, I am enjoying some of the chocolate truffles that I bought from wine country!  I am not a big wine drinker, but after learning about how wine is made and tasting many different wines this weekend, I have a greater appreciation for it.

My City Sports Run Club friend, Anna, has been wanting to run the Napa to Sonoma 1/2 Marathon for two years.  She was bummed when she missed registration last year so when registration came around this year, we made sure to register on time.  Who knew that the website would take forever to load and that it would take over 4+ hours to register for a 1/2 marathon?!  I went to eat dinner at one point during registration and when I came back, the page was still loading!!  Luckily, we both got into the race!

The goal for everyone running the race was to finish faster than it took to register for the race.  An easy feat for everyone.  =)

Anna and I also registered for some pre and post race events with the race organizers so that we did not have to do so much planning.  Here are the highlights of each event!

1) Welcome Reception at Cuvaison Estates
We got to meet the race director, Bart Yasso, and mingle with other runners from around the country.  Every state was represented in this race except for Alaska!

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Two new running friends from Cincinnati on my right, race director (Matt) on my left, and Bart Yasso on Anna's left!
Two new running friends from Cincinnati on my right, race director (Matt) on my left, and Bart Yasso on Anna’s left!

2) Pre-Race Dinner at Artesa Winery
Bart Yasso gave an awesome pre-race speech alongside a slideshow of pictures from some of his running adventures around the world.

Artesa was located on top of a mountain!
Artesa was located on top of a mountain!
The views were amazing!
The views were amazing!
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Photo of Bart (aka Penguin) in the Marathon du Medoc where everyone dresses up and they only serve wine at the “water” stations!
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Photo of Bart trying to control his burro (cross between a horse and a donkey) during a 10K burro race.

3) Post-Race Napa Wine Tour
20 of us toured 3 different wineries in Napa (Bouchaine, Acacia, and Ceja)

1st Stop: Bouchaine Winery!
1st Stop: Bouchaine Winery!
2nd Stop: Acacia Winery!
2nd Stop: Acacia Winery!
3rd stop: Ceja Winery!  This was my favorite stop!
3rd stop: Ceja Winery! This was my favorite stop!  The race medal doubles as a wine coaster!

Yes, we did run a 1/2 marathon somewhere in there!  The course started at Cuvaison Estates (where the welcome reception was) and snaked through wine country to end in Downtown Sonoma.  I did not let the name for the first hill, “Butt Burner Hill”, get to my nerves, but I really should have started out slower than I did.  The course was rolling hills and had lots of turns.  I saw alpacas, cows, and horses along the way!  The alpacas were on sale, but I was not sure of their ability to run so I did not want to have to carry an alpaca on my back to the finish line!  Maybe next time….

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Anna and I at the start!
Anna and I at the start!

I made it to the finish line faster than it took me to register and sans alpaca, but also before 9AM.  The race ends at Sonoma Plaza because it is one of the places where you can drink in a public park legally, but you can only start drinking after 9AM.  They would not even give me my wine glass before 9AM!  So I ran back out on the course to find Anna and run her back in.  Anna had been dealing with some injuries, but she toughed it out and made it to the finish line faster than the time it took us to register.  That was the only goal!

Anna and I at the finish waiting in line for wine!
Anna and I at the finish waiting in line for wine!

I had a blast running this race and it was refreshing to run a race where everyone (including race organizers) was so friendly, there was no stress about the security at the race in post Boston times (they gave out white trash bags instead of clear bags for people to use to check their bags), and I ended up with new friends from around the country by the end of the weekend (yes, we connected on Facebook so we are friends.  Haha)!

Would I come back again?  Totally!  I suggested to the race director that he should go back to mail in registration so he can avoid online registration nightmares.  He laughed, but I was serious!

As always, here are some race statistics!

My Finishing Time: 1:44:24

71st Female Finisher

Overall Place: 233rd

Men’s Champion Time: 1:04:10

Women’s Champion Time: 1:18:50

Total Finishers: 2,887

They advertised that the race is 70% female, but they did not have an exact count on the website.

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