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Posted: July 2, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: Napa-To-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

Popular race helps generate big dollars for charities and local economy

July, 1, 2009 - Sonoma, CA - Now in its 6th year, the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, currently featured in Runners World and Women's Running magazines, is becoming a windfall for local businesses and non-profit partners. The wine-themed race, set to take place on Sunday July 19, 2009, starts at Cuvaison Carneros Estate Winery in Napa and finishes in front of City Hall in downtown Sonoma.

The race which sold out in January, brings 3,000 runners with friends and family from all over the world to Napa and Sonoma counties for various weekend activities culminating with the half marathon on Sunday. An economic impact study in 2008 estimated the event generates $3 million into the Bay Area economy, with most of the dollars being spent for lodging, dining, shopping, tours and other services in Napa and Sonoma.

Event beneficiaries include Hanna Boys Center, Vineyard Workers' Services/La Luz and Sonoma Valley school athletic programs. Hanna Boys Center volunteers will be pitching-in for the sixth year -staff, boys and donors will staff the water stations, serve as course monitors and assist runners at the finish line, among other duties. "Hanna Boys Center has proven to be valuable asset to the event from its inception,” according to Event Director and founder Matt Dockstader. "The Center and the enthusiasm the boys bring have become synonymous with this event."

Destination Races, producer of the race and ensuing Wine and Music Festival, has taken an active role in reducing the environmental impact of the event. By partnering with numerous "green" organizations and Green Mary, the goal is to reduce the amount of landfill waste to less than 5% and to reduce carbon emissions by nearly 50%. Vineyard Worker Services will be assisting Green Mary this year in the recycling and clean-up efforts in Sonoma plaza. Vineyard Worker Services will also help set up the race expo, at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn on Saturday, July 18th from 10am to 6pm.

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the national charity and training partner of the event. Team Challenge is a half marathon training program designed to raise critical dollars for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis research. Last year, $2.1 million in was raised and CCFA expects that number to be above $2.5 million this year. Bob Van Dillen, meteorologist on "Morning Express with Robin Meade," which airs weekdays on CNN, is serving as honorary Chairman of CCFA's Team Challenge and is running in the event. Rolph Benirscke, former all-pro kicker for the San Diego Chargers, also acts as national spokesperson for CCFA's Team Challenge, and will be speaking at the event.

CCFA's Team Challenge trains athletes of all levels to cross the finish line. Athletes train over approximately 16 weeks for a specific half marathon and are provided advice and assistance to reach their fundraising goals. Those that succeed then travel as a team to an exciting location for race weekend. CCFA will be bringing 600 runners and 200 in support staff and volunteers to the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon.

Destination Races is the also producer of the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon and the Wine Country Healdsburg Half Marathon. Further information on sister events may be found online at www.destinationraces.com.

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D.

Hanna Boys Center is one of Northern California's most successful residential treatment centers. For more than 50 years, Hanna Boys Center has helped change the lives of thousands of at-risk boys of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds from the greater Bay Area and beyond, through caring, respect, education and faith.,

La Luz/Vi neyard Workers Services is a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing the farm worker community with suitable housing and assistance in meeting their related human needs.


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