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Posted: March 2, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: Gilmore And Coordt Win Titles At Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon

U.S. Soldier in Kuwait Finishes Race "Remotely"

NAPA, Calif. - March 1, 2009 - Peter Gilmore, 31, of San Mateo, Calif. and Mary Coordt, 39, of Elk Grove, Calif. took home victories at today's 31st Annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon (NVM). Both runners registered clear-cut wins, well ahead of their competition. Gilmore's winning time was 2 hours, 23 minutes, and 5 seconds, the second fastest men's time at this race in the past 15 years. Coordt topped all women with a finishing time of 2:48:54 and claimed her third victory at NVM. She also won here in 1997 and 2005.

Despite rainy, but otherwise temperate conditions, a remarkable 1,822 runners out of 1,895 starters finished the 26.2-mile race that runs the length of the beautiful Napa Valley. It was the all-time highest finisher count for the race for the second year in a row. The event is limited to 2,300 registrants, which is largely determined by the number of available hotel rooms in the world-renowned Napa Valley wine producing and tasting region.

Gilmore is a world-class runner who owns a swift personal best in the marathon of 2:12:45, but this year's NVM marks his first marathon victory ever. Andy Martin, 34, of Bend, Ore. led the men's race for almost 16 miles, as Gilmore followed, but he could not match Gilmore's strong second half of the race over the rolling, point-to-point course.

"It took me a while for my body to loosen up because I didn't get a chance to warm up at all before the race," Gilmore said. "My goal for this race was to run a good training run, to go out at 5:30 or 5:40 (per mile) pace and then speed up. That's just what I did. I ran miles 21 through 25 pretty hard, which was part of the plan."

Gilmore is preparing for a competitive, prize money marathon this coming spring, but he hasn't finalized plans for a specific race yet. He finished 8th at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, but an untimely chest cold forced him to drop out of the 2008 Trials race midway, thwarting his Olympic aspirations.

"It turned out about how I expected," said Martin who won three marathons last year, but whose 2:20:04 personal record is almost eight minutes slower than Gilmore's. "Peter ran a strong race. I tried to keep the pace honest for as long as I could."

Martin finished second in 2:27:23, over four minutes behind the winner. Former University of California-Berkeley All American James Nielsen, 29, of Palo Alto, Calif. was third in 2:31:45.

Coordt equally dominated the women's race following a strong fourth place finish at last year's NVM in which she ran a time of 2:46:30, a personal record that qualified Coordt for her third U.S. Women's Olympic Marathon Trials. This year, Coordt took the lead from the starting gun and never relinquished it. Her nearest rivals were Jenni Johnson, 29, of Tustin, Calif. who finished second in 2:56:08 and third placer Monica Ochs, 39, of Anacortes, Wash. in 3:03:46.

"I ran with some men for as long as I could, but I was alone from 18 miles to the finish," said Coordt, who will turn 40 in June. "The weather actually wasn't that bad, but I didn't feel perfect. Yet I'm very happy to get my third win here."

Christine Iwahashi (West Sacramento, Calif.) is the only other three- time women's winner ('86, '87, '90) of NVM.

"I think Mary (Coordt) is awesome," said Iwahashi, 53, who is Coordt's teammate on the Sacramento-based Buffalo Chips running club. "This is a very special race for both of us. It's neat to see Mary's consistency here, and in running in general."

Iwahashi topped the women's 50-54 division at this year's race in 3:41:33.

Each overall winner (Gilmore and Coordt) took home titles as 2009 Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) national marathon champions. The event served as RRCA's National Marathon Championship event. Both winners won five cases of premium wine donated by the Napa Valley Silverado Trail Wineries Association. Each winner also carried home a specially produced, etched bottle of Napa Valley wine.

Johannes Rudolph, 43, of Boulder, Colo. finished fourth overall in 2:33:41 and captured the men's masters (40 years of age and older) victory. Cinthya Vielma, 42, of San Jose, Calif. won the women's masters title in 3:06:15.

Although Major Tim Burgess, 37, a soldier based in Kuwait, couldn't be on this year's starting line, he ran the Napa Valley Marathon "remotely" on his U.S. Army base at Camp Virginia this morning. Burgess, who lives in Healdsburg, Calif. was accompanied by another soldier, Captain Sam Kang, for 15 miles. He ran the remainder of the 26.2-mile distance alone except for two supporting Medics. Burgess finished his solo jaunt in 4:26:15, and he will be placed in the official NVM results.

"I felt great for the first 11 miles before I felt any soreness," Burgess reported via e-mail. "Then, just after mile 17, I started to slow. After mile 21 I kind of shuffled along. The last two miles were pretty tough. But I'm proud that my finishing time is almost five minutes faster than what I ran last year at the Napa Valley Marathon."

Burgess is the first "remote" overseas participant to finish NVM.

"We're very proud of the accomplishments of all of this year's Napa Valley Marathon finishers, including Major Burgess' valiant run," said Co-Race Director Rich Benyo. "Finishing a marathon is a unique personal achievement, and we salute these runners' commitments."

Full race results for the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, plus a personal commentary and photos of Major Burgess' remote NVM, are available on the event's web site at

All proceeds from the Napa Valley Marathon (a non-profit organization) are donated to local charities in the Napa Valley.

The Napa Valley Marathon appreciates generous sponsor support from Kaiser Permanente, Calistoga Mineral Water Company, Gatorade, ASICS America Corporation, Silverado Trail Wineries Association, Marathon & Beyond, Road Runners Club of America, USA Track & Field, MarathonFoto, Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa, GU, CBS 5, Comcast, Napa Valley Register, KVYN/99.3 The Vine, KVON 1440 AM, the Napa Running Company, KCBS 740 AM, Silverado Brewing Company, DJ's Growing Place, and Wine Country Inn/Napa Valley.

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