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Posted: February 26, 2016:  

Athletics: 2016 Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon - 38th Annual Eventís Pre-Race Marathon College Keeps Getting Better

NAPA, Calif. - February 25, 2016 - Each year, the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon offers a keynote panel discussion at its annual Marathon College, held the day before the race. The eventís Marathon College was originally conceived to educate the general public about marathon running, including its rich history, and as an opportunity to meet the celebrities, personalities, and movers and shakers who have made marathoning the popular mass participation sport that it is today.

This yearís Napa Valley Marathon College takes place on Saturday, March 5th, the day before about 3,000 dedicated marathon runners take the roads in the scenic Napa Valley wine country for the 38th Annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon (NVM). A highlight of the 2016 NVM Marathon College will be a 90-minute panel discussion, "Honoring Journalists and Historians of the Marathon," featuring special guests Joe Henderson, Frank Shorter, Jacqueline Hansen, Amby Burfoot, Jon Dunham, Toni Reavis, and Jan Colarusso Seeley. Short bios about these panelists follow below.

The Marathon College is scheduled for Saturday, March 5th from 10 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m. at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa in Napa, Calif. The "Honoring Journalists and Historians of the Marathon" panel discussion takes place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. NVM weekend also includes a Sports and Fitness Expo on Friday, March 4th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 5th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Marriott. Both the Marathon College and Sports and Fitness Expo are free for the general public.

Joe Henderson (panel moderator) was a columnist and editor at Runnerís World magazine for more than 30 years, and more recently wrote for Marathon & Beyond. He has published more than 30 books and is a veteran of more than 700 races, from sprints to ultras. His recent columns appear at Joe has been a guest of the Napa Valley Marathon every year since the early Ď90s. He and co-race director Rich Benyo teamed up to write The Running Encyclopedia (Human Kinetics, 2000).

Frank Shorter won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, a victory that is generally credited as the race that ignited the U.S. running boom. He also won the silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, behind an East German who was subsequently found to be using perfor¨mance-enhancing drugs. Today, Shorter is active in efforts to eliminate the use of perfor¨mance-enhancing drugs in all sports. He is currently writing a memoir, along with author John Brandt, to be released before the 2016 Olympics.

Jacqueline Hansen was the first woman to break 2 hours and 45 minutes in the marathon (in 1974), then the first woman to run sub-2:40 (in 1975) turning in a 2:38:19, a womanís world record at the time. In addition, Hansen was instrumental in successfully lobbying the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add the womenís marathon, and later the 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter races, to the Olympic Games at a time when women had few opportunities to compete in athletics. She has published one book about the history of womenís running, A Long Time Coming: Running Through the Women's Marathon Revolution, and is currently working on a second book.

Amby Burfoot won the 1968 Boston Marathon, and has served as a Runnerís World editor since 1978. In April 2015, he finished the Boston Mara¨thon on the 50th anniversary of his first Boston in 1965. Burfoot, 69, is a member of the Road Runnerís Club of America Hall of Fame, a recipient of the RRCA Journalism Award and the New York Road Runners/George Hirsch Journalism Award. Burfootís new book, First Ladies: The Pioneers of Womenís Distance Running, will be published in early 2016.

Jon Dunham is an accomplished filmmaker and a 25-time marathon finisher. The fusion of both these passions is reflected in his Spirit of the Marathon films. Premiering at the 2007 Chicago International Film Festival, Spirit of the Marathon won the coveted Audience Award and was subsequently released in more than 400 cinemas across the United States, where it grossed over one million dollars in two days. The critically acclaimed film was followed by Spirit of the Marathon II, released in more than 600 cinemas in June 2013. Jon is now in production on Boston, the first film ever to be produced about the legendary Boston Marathon.

Toni Reavis is a professional broadcaster and TV color commentator for big-time running events. Runnerís World called him "the most insightful - and funny - talking head in running." Reavis also helped pioneer coverage of the sport, hosting the Runnerís Digest radio show in Boston in the 1970s, worked as a columnist for the Boston Herald in the 1980s, and then hosted ESPNís Road Race of the Month series throughout the 1990s. Today, Reavis writes his In 2009, he was inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions.

Jan Colarusso Seeley is the co-race director of the 20,000-runner Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, held the last weekend of April in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. For 17 years she was the publisher and co-owner of Marathon & Be¨yond magazine, an international magazine for long distance runners. A 1982 Yale graduate, Jan is a former world-class field hockey player, four-year member of the U.S. National Field Hockey Team, and the first alternate to the 1980 U.S. Olympic Field Hockey Team.

"Iím more excited about this yearís panel than any of the previous ones, and there have been some great ones," said Joe Henderson, who has moderated NVM Marathon College panels for numerous years. "Itís a reunion of a group that, in many ways, has been the voice of the sport of long distance running for the past 40 or more years. The panelists represent the rich history of the sport going back to the 1960s when I started writing about it."

During the discussion, each panelist will talk about his or her contributions to making marathoning the rich sport that it is today, and their role in the sport now. Along the way, the audience will get an inside look at the evolution, professionalizing, growth, expanded media opportunities, and general state of the sport.

In its most recent State of the Sport report (July, 2015), Running USA reported that in 2014 there were 18.75 million finishers in U.S. running events, just shy of the record over 19 million finishers recorded in 2013. In 2014, there were 1,100 marathon (26.2 miles) races, among a total of 28,000 running events at all distances, conducted in the U.S. Running USA is a non-profit organization devoted to improving the status and experience of distance running and racing in the U.S.

Below is the full 2016 NVM Marathon College schedule of events on March 5th:

10:00 a.m. - "Last Minute Marathon Tips" with Dr. Eshwar Kapur, a Kaiser Permanente sports medicine physician from South San Francisco, who will cover all possible bases so runners can arrive at the starting line ready to run their best. Kapur specializes in running medicine and has been running for more than 25 years without injury

11:00 a.m. - "Tales of the Road" with Dick Beardsley who is, perhaps, best known for his "Duel in the Sun" with renowned U.S. distance runner Alberto Salazar at the 1982 Boston Marathon.

Noon-1:30 p.m. - "Journalists and Historians of the Marathon" panel discussion.

1:30 p.m. - "Secrets of Running the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon Course" with a half-dozen veterans of the NVM course.


Devon Yanko (formerly Devon Crosby-Helms, age 33, San Anselmo, Calif.) will return to NVM as the defending womenís titlist, seeking her fourth overall win at the event. Yanko won the womenís race in 2007, 2012, and 2015. Her winning time of 2:39:37 in 2012 stands as the womenís all-time race record at NVM. Yanko is a highly ranked ultrarunner on U.S. lists. She won U.S. womenís national titles in 2010 at 50 miles and in 2011 at 100 kilometers. She is a three-time member of U.S. 100K national teams, and has a marathon personal best of 2:38:55.

Mason Myers (46, Carmichael, Calif,) is a favored contender for the overall menís title, having earned the NVM menís masters (age 40 and over) victories in 2014 and 2015. In fact, his all-time marathon personal record of 2:41:26 was recorded at NVM last year.

The NVM menís race record of 2:16:20 was set in 1987 by Dick Beardsley.

The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon rewards male and female open and masters winners with oversized bottles of wine etched with their championship accomplishments. The male and female winners of the race also receive their "weight-in-wine" donated by Clif Family Winery.

The 2016 Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon starts on Sunday, March 6th at 7:00 a.m. sharp in Calistoga on the Silverado Trail near the intersection of Rosedale Road. The 26.2-mile road course runs the length of the beautiful Silverado Trail and finishes at Vintage High School in Napa. The 2016 edition of NVM has again been selected by the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) as its Western Regional Marathon Championship, a designation it has received in seven of the past eight years.

NVM has a entry cap of 3,000 runners for the marathon. Entry slots are still available for the companion Kiwanis 5K Fun Run, which starts (8 a.m.) and finishes at Vintage High School on marathon morning.

For more information about the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, please visit the marathonís web site at

The Napa Valley Marathon appreciates generous sponsor support from Kaiser Permanente/Thrive, Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa, Legendary Napa Valley, ASICS, CLIF Bar, Road Runners Club of America, USA Track & Field, Gatorade G Endurance, MarathonFoto, Marathon & Beyond, Napa Running Company, Running USA, KCBS AM and FM Radio, KPIX5 and KBCW, XFINITY, KVON 1440 AM, KVYN/99.3 The Vine, Wallaby Organic, Napa Smith Brewery, Andretti Winery Napa Valley, and Whole Foods Market.

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