|Karl (white tank) and me (yellow tank) walking to the |
starting line of the 2010 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon.
It’s tough to find a more beautiful race course!
One thing you need to know about me right up front is that I love wine. I’m a member of four wineries in Napa and Sonoma, and I have a wine collection that makes a lot of people’s jaws drop open. Once upon a time, my husband Karl and I lived in the Bay Area of California – a perfect location for any wine enthusiast. We took regular day trips up to Napa and Sonoma at least once a month, and when people ask what I miss about living there, “The wineries” is my standard response.
I first heard about the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon in 2009 when Karl and I moved back to Indiana from the Bay Area and I was looking for a reason to go back to California for a visit. I couldn’t think of a better reason than running a race right in the middle of one of my favorite places on Earth. So we both registered for the race sometime around October of 2009 and flew back to the Bay in July 2010 for the race. We were able to squeeze in a little vacation time, visiting with some of my former Saint Mary’s College students, spending a few nights in Monterey, driving up Highway 1 through Big Sur, visiting wineries in the Carmel Valley, then finally ending the vacation with the race and a few extra nights in Sonoma to visit the wineries there. The entire vacation was wonderful (you can read my review of it here) and Karl and I loved the race so much that we decided to go back in 2011 for a second round.
|Standing along Highway 1 and the Pacific coast |
on our first trip to the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon.
|Our whole crew at a great restaurant in Sonoma |
during our second year attending the race.
Now that I’ve given a lot of back-story on my personal experience with this race, I present you with the top five reasons that you should run it. A few disclaimers before I begin: 1) some of these reasons are mostly applicable to runners who live in South-Central Indiana or regions of the U.S. with a similar climate and terrain. 2) If you don’t like wine at all, it’s still a beautiful area of the country to visit, but keep in mind that wine is a big part of why this race is so great!
Here are my top five, in no particular order:
1) The weather.
|Don’t let our attire fool you…|
we were freezing before the race started!
2) The course.
|Gorgeous views along the course.|
3) The size.
|Runners at the beginning of the race. |
This is as congested as it ever gets along the race course.
4) The post-race wine festival.
|Claire, me, Justin, my mom, and Karl |
enjoying the post-race wine festival.
|My race t-shirt, wine glass, bib number and |
finisher’s medal from the 2011 race.
Other fun aspects of the post-race wine festival include a live band, Clif Bar sample stations (Clif also owns a winery in Napa, which I highly recommend visiting), and very cool medals – nothing cheap or cheesy here! Last year’s medal actually had a wine stopper mounted on the end of it!
5) Location, location, location.
|One of many gorgeous views from Napa Valley.|
|View of San Francisco from across the bay in Berkeley.|
|Finishing the 2011 Napa to Sonoma |
Half Marathon. Bring on the wine!
ANDREA EAGLEMAN is one of Perspective's regular columnists. She is Assistant Professor of Sport Management at IUPUI and conducts research on media portrayals of athletes. She lives in Bloomington, IN and has been running for 17 years. Andrea re-entered the world of racing three years ago and enjoys various distances from the 5K to the marathon, running the Boston Marathon in 2011. Andrea won the Magnificent 7 Road Race Series Overall Female championship in 2009, 2010, and 2011. She enjoys traveling, blogging, reading, photography, and hanging out with her husband, Karl, and her cat, DC.