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Posted: February 25, 2019:  

Athletics: Fast Elite Fields Ready For Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon And Half Marathon

NAPA, Calif.: February 24, 2019 - The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon (NVM) and Half Marathon has assembled formidable elite athlete fields for the 41st annual event scheduled for Sunday, March 3, 2019. The throng of over 4,200 event entrants will be highlighted by two KP Napa Valley Marathon past champions and a host of talented competitors vying for 2019 titles.

Top Half Marathon Contenders

The elite womenís field for the eventís inaugural half marathon race (13.1 miles) is particularly solid. Among the entrants is three-time NVM champion Devon Yanko (age 36, San Anselmo, Calif.). Yanko (nťe Crosby-Helms) set the fast NVM womenís course record of two hours, 39 minutes, and 37 seconds in 2012.

Note: The superb NVM menís course record of 2:16:20 was set in 1987 by U.S. National Distance Running Hall of Fame member Dick Beardsley.

Yanko is, perhaps, best known as an ultramarathon runner, competing in races longer than the traditional 26.2-mile marathon. She has competed five times on the U.S. national 100 kilometer team, including the gold medal winning womenís team at the 2009 100 km World Championships in Belgium. Yanko is running the half marathon event at NVM as a tune-up for the London Marathon on April 28th.

"The Napa Valley Marathon is one of my favorite races," Yanko said. "The course is beautiful and works well for me. I like rolling hills and Iíve always felt like the event showcases some of the best parts of the wine country. Iím really excited by my marathon training right now. Iím going after a personal record time at London so the Napa Valley Half Marathon is a great fast effort to help with my lead-up into that race."

Additional contenders for the female half marathon crown include:

Jenny Kadavy (36, Clayton, Calif.) Kadavy was the 2014 NVM (full marathon) female champion. Her fast winning time of 2:40:47 that year qualified her for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials race. Recently she placed second woman at this yearís Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon on February 3rd in a time of 1:17:52.

Samantha Diaz (27, Jackson, WY). Diaz owns a personal best of 1:17:40 for the half marathon distance and 4:40 for one mile.

Clara Peterson (35, Corte Madera, Calif.). Peterson (nťe Horowitz) was an All-American in track and field and cross country at Duke University where she earned Duke Athlete of the Year honors in 2006. Since then, as a prolific racer on the roads and trails, she has scored wins in a number of Californiaís most competitive racesówhile raising four children with her husband, Jeff. Her personal best half marathon of 1:12:49 was recorded in 2012. More recently, she scored a 1:18:52 womenís victory at the San Francisco Rock Ďní Roll Half Marathon.

The half marathon field on the menís side is chock full of contenders who will vie for victory. Top entrants include:

Lupe Cabada (27, Reno, NV). Cabada is certainly familiar with NVMís course having raced solidly on NVMís full marathon route three times previously. Cabadaís best NVM (full marathon) performance was fourth place in 2017 with a time of 2:37:35. His all-time personal best performance at the half marathon distance is 1:09:17.

Chandler Kemp (29, Palo Alto, Calif.). Kemp scored a 1:09:30 third place at the 2018 Silicon Valley Half Marathon and will be among the menís top contenders in Napa.

Jonathan Briskman (27, San Francisco, Calif). Briskman recorded his personal best half marathon time of 1:07:12 in 2017 and will aim for a solid run in Napa.

Top Full Marathon Contenders

For NVMís full marathon (26.2. mile) race Liza Reichert (31, Los Altos Hills, Calif.) comes in well prepared following a solid victory at last monthís Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon. Reichertís winning time of 1:16:41 set a personal record. In 2015, Reichert set her marathon personal best of 2:42:24 at the very competitive California International Marathon in Sacramento, placing 14th female. Her time qualified her for the 2016 U.S. Womenís Olympic Marathon Trials race. Reichertís primary goal for NVM is to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Womenís Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, Ga.

"This will be my first attempt at the marathon distance since giving birth to my daughter, Madeline, about a year ago," Reichert said. "I had my best cross country season to date this past fall, and set a 5K personal best of 16:32 on the roads. I havenít raced a marathon since the 2016 Olympic Trials, but my training has been going well, and Iím optimistic that I can go sub 2:45:00 at Napa."

Outside of running, Reichert works as a clinical researcher in the field of neonatology (newborn medicine) at Stanford University and Lucile Packard Childrenís Hospital.

Sarah Hallas (39, Cotati, Calif.) is returning to NVM following runner-up performances in 2005 and more recently in 2018. Hallasí time of 2:51:01 at NVM last year marks her personal best at the 26.2-mile marathon distance.

"Iím really excited to return to Napa for my 34th marathon and race the beautiful and fast course again," Hallas said. "Iíve been able to get in more training miles than ever in preparation for the race and canít wait to see how it goes. Iím looking forward to some fast competition since several ladies are hoping to grab the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials ĎBí qualifying standard. Iím hoping theyíll push me to a new personal record and a top five finish. Local races are always my favorite and Napa never disappoints."

Among the menís top entrants for NVMís full marathon keep an eye on Zack Sims (25, Atlanta, Ga.) who will be making his debut at the 26.2-mile distance. Sims, a graduate of the University of Georgia, owns personal bests of 3:47 for 1,500 meters, 14:07 for 5,000 meters, and 29:56 for 10,000 meters.

Additional Race Weekend Events:

The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathonís annual Health and Fitness Expo is scheduled for Saturday, March 2nd from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa. The expo will also feature booths and information presented by NVM sponsors and running, wine, and food related vendors. Seminars and free beer and wine tasting are also scheduled. The Health and Fitness Expo is free for the general public. The full Health and Fitness Expo schedule, plus information about featured guest speakers, can be found on the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon website.

The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon has kept to its traditions over all the years. Itís always on the first Sunday in March. The 26.2-mile full marathon race starts at 7:30 a.m. from Rosedale Road and the Silverado Trail in Calistoga. The USA Track & Field certified point-to-point course takes runners south, through St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville and to the finish line, located in the front parking lot area of Vintage High School in Napa. The 13.1 mile half marathon race, new this year, starts at 7:00 a.m. on the Silverado Trail at Conn Creek Winery and also finishes at Vintage High School. The companion Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa 5K (3.1 miles) race starts at 7:30 a.m. at Vintage High School where it also finishes. NVM has been supported by 1,200 volunteers each year.

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/Thrive, New Balance, Road Runners Club of America, USA Track & Field, Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa, Legendary Napa Valley, KPIX CBS5 and KBCW, XFINITY, KVYN/99.3 The Vine, KVON 1440 AM, KCBS AM and FM Radio, Napa Smith Brewery, Conn Creek Winery, Athletic Feat, Nuun Hydration,, Clif Family Winery, Raleyís Nob Hill, Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa.

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