FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Winitz
Southwell, Moeller Capture Napa Valley Marathon Titles
NAPA, Calif. - (March 7, 2004) - For some dedicated long distance runners,
winning their weight in premium wine produced in California's famed Napa
Valley is worth the effort of capturing a win in a 26.2-mile race. That was
certainly the case - or in this instance, wine cases - for Nik Southwell
and Erin Moeller who won, respectively, the men's and women's divisions of
the 26th Annual Napa Valley Marathon on Sunday.
Southwell, 29, of Victoria, BC, Canada topped the sold-out field of 2,200
participants in a time of 2 hours, 28 minutes, and 56 seconds. Moeller, 26,
of Cedar Rapids, Iowa captured the women's victory in 2:51:07. Southwell
won five cases of wine donated by the Napa Valley's Silverado Trail
Wineries Association and Moeller earned four cases. Each also carried home
a specially produced, etched bottle of Napa Valley wine as the 2004 Road
Runners Club of America (RRCA) national champions. The event served as
RRCA's National Marathon Championship event.
Southwell took advantage of the brilliant, mild and windless conditions to
forge over a quarter-mile lead by halfway. The long-time professional
triathlete, however, was competing in his first solo marathon.
"I'm still learning," said Southwell. "I didn't know what to expect. I
cramped in my hamstrings pretty bad on the undulating course, and had to
stop and stretch them at about 23 miles. I just had to grit my teeth and
Southwell held on for a 26-second victory over Pieter Vermeesch (Stanford,
CA) who finished second in 2:29:22. Greg Menegat (San Francisco, CA) placed
third in 2:30:20.
In the women's race, Moeller ran a 6:04 first mile on the rolling and
scenic course from Calistoga to Napa - fast enough to temper the
aspirations among her competitors. She ran a convincing wire-to-wire
victory. Suzy Beste (Mountain View, CA) garnered second in 2:57:57. Sonya
Drottar (Santa Cruz, CA) recorded 2:58:29 for third.
"I felt pretty good the entire way although my training hasn't been ideal,"
said Moeller, who ran a personal best despite suffering broken ribs in a
car accident just a month before the race.
47-year-old Dick Beardsley (Detroit Lakes, MN) topped the masters men's age
group in 2:43:58. The Minnesota native set the Napa Valley Marathon men's
course record of 2:16:20 in 1987 - a record that still stands.
"I'm just ecstatic about how it went," said Beardsley who still holds the
fourth fastest marathon time among U.S. men. "Things went well until about
23 miles. Then I really had to concentrate. But, it's just a treat to come
out and run such a great event on an ideal day."
Peggy Nelson-Panzer (Aurora, CO), 41, won the women's masters race in
Among senior competitors, multiple age-group record holders John Keston,
Helen Klein and Myra Rhodes stood out. Oregon's Keston, 79, turned in an
outstanding 3:43:50. Klein, 81, of Gold River, CA finished in 4:45:42,
while Sacramento's Rhodes, 71, ran a swift 3:56:17.
Retired U.S. astronaut Rick Searfoss, 47, a veteran of three Space Shuttle
Columbia missions, finished in 3:33:42. Searfoss dedicated his race to the
seven astronauts who lost their lives on last year's Space Shuttle Columbia
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
Calistoga Mineral Water, Gatorade, ASICS America Corporation, Silverado
Trail Wineries Association, Marathon & Beyond, Road Runners Club of
America, USA Track & Field, Marathon Photo, Napa Valley Marriott Hotel &
Spa, St. Helena Hospital, CBS 5 and UPN Bay Area, GU and Wines Central.
26th Napa Valley Marathon
Napa, CA, Sunday, March 7, 2004
1) Nik Southwell, CAN, 2:28:56
2) Pieter Vermeesch, CA, 2:29:22
3) Greg Menegat, CA, 2:30:20
MASTERS MEN (40+)
1) Dick Beardsley, 47, MN, 2:43:58
1) Erin Moeller, IA, 2:51:07
2) Suzy Beste, CA, 2:57:57
3) Sonya Drottar, CA, 2:58:29
MASTERS WOMEN (40+)
1) Peggy Nelson-Panzer, 41, CO, 3:12:07
Full race results are available on the event's website at:
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