FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Winitz
Win-It!z Sports Public Relations
Tel: (650) 948-0618
SUNDELL, CROSBY-HELMS VICTORIOUS AT
KAISER PERMANENTE NAPA VALLEY MARATHON
NAPA, Calif. - March 4, 2007 - Steve Sundell, 24, of Redwood City, Calif.
and Devon Crosby-Helms, 24, of San Francisco recorded overall wins at
today's 29th Annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon. Both runners
took home their first-ever victories at the marathon distance. The race,
which is one of the oldest and most scenic marathons in the country,
attracted about 1,800 participants. Competitors enjoyed ideal, slightly
overcast and mild racing conditions along the scenic 26.2-mile race
course from Calistoga to Napa that tours the Napa Valley's wine growing
Sundell had quite an outing in his very first foray at the marathon
distance. The recent All-American in cross country and track at Columbia
University recorded a winning time of 2 hours, 21 minutes, and 3 seconds,
the fastest men's mark at Napa since 1988. Crosby-Helm's convincing
women's victory in 2:52:49 came on what she called a "training run" for
the U.S. 100-Kilometer National Championship, and only a month after she
won the Jed Smith 50K race in Sacramento.
The men's race included several interesting twists. As one of three
officially designated rabbits, or pacers, in the race, Sundell surprised
everyone, even himself, by crossing the finish line first at Napa's
Vintage High School. Sundell was originally recruited, along with pacers
Tommy Greenless and Artie Gilkes to pace his training partners Tom
McGlynn (Burlingame, Calif.) and Mike Wallace (Menlo Park, Calif.) to
sub-2:22:00 finishing times, marks that would earn them entries into the
2008 U.S. Men's Olympic Marathon Trials race in New York City on November
"I was asked to run 16 miles [with McGlynn and Wallace] on Trials
qualifying pace," Sundell said. "But, I knew there was a big hill at mile
19. I figured if I feel good, I'm going to help them."
By 17 miles an original pack of five composed of the three pacers and
McGlynn and Wallace broke down to Sundell and McGlynn sharing the lead,
on 2:21 finishing pace. When McGlynn fell off the pace a bit by 24 miles
with a cramp in his calf, Sundell's fortunate fate was cast.
"My legs were getting a little tired," admitted Sundell, whose longest
previous race was the San Francisco Half Marathon, which he won last
year. "But I kept going and looking back because my goal was to get Tom
or Mike a qualifying time. I accomplished my goal."
McGlynn finished second in 2:21:24, 36 seconds under USA Track & Field's
"B" qualifying cutoff for entry into the Trials race. Wallace, who
suffered hamstring cramps mid-race, finished third in 2:30:38, missing a
"I think I was more excited to see Tom qualify than it was for me," said
Sundell, who works as a fund raising specialist at Stanford University.
"I would have hated for me to get the qualifying time if Tom or Mike
Said McGlynn, who also qualified for the Marathon Trials in 2000 and
2004: "I don't have any aspirations of making the Olympic team at the
Trials in New York. I'll just be one of the guys pushing at the back,
trying to help the top guys run better. The Trials are my Olympic Games."
Although women's winner Crosby-Helms failed to reach her outside goal of
gaining a sub-2:47:00 time for a spot at the U.S. Women's Olympic
Marathon Trials, she was happy with her 2:52:49 time, which she said was
a fifth consecutive personal record in five marathon finishes.
"Since I'm training for the 100K, I didn't really keep track of mile
markers," said Crosby-Helms, who began running two years ago following a
lustrous stint as one of the nation's top prep basketball players at
Seattle's Roosevelt High School.
Crosby-Helms took the lead almost from the starting gun and never
relinquished it. Two-time Napa Valley Marathon winner Mary Coordt, 37, of
Elk Grove, Calif. was second in 2:56:44. Shelly Hack, 34, of Kirkland,
Washington was third in 2:56:33.
Each overall winner took home titles as 2007 Road Runners Club of America
(RRCA) national marathon champions. The event served as RRCA's National
Marathon Championship event. Both Sundell and Crosby-Helms won five cases
of premium wine donated by the Napa Valley Silverado Trail Wineries
Association. Each winner also carried home a specially produced, etched
bottle of Napa Valley wine.
Dick Beardsley, 50, of Detroit Lakes, Minn. finished 10th man overall in
2:45:11, earning the men's masters (40 years and over) victory.
Beardsley, a fixture at NVM in recent years as a featured guest and
speaker, holds the NVM men's course record of 2:16:20 (1987).
"This race has been very good to me over the years," said Beardsley, who
is the fourth fastest U.S. man at the marathon distance all-time. "And,
it worked out really well for me this year. It was just a perfect day to
run. Finishing in the top 10 at the RRCA National Marathon Championship
made it special."
Stephanie Hodge, 41, of Long Island City, NY won the women's masters
crown in 3:03:41.
Among senior competitors, standout Helen Klein, 84, of Rancho Cordova, CA
finished in 5:20:49, topping the currently listed U.S. record for
84-year-old women of 6:02:03. 82-year old multiple U.S. age group record
holder John Keston (McMinnville, Ore.) finished in 4:15:21.
"I'm pleased with my time because I really haven't trained for a marathon
in two years," said Keston. "I've just been running off base mileage. My
longest training run was 10 miles."
This year's perfect running conditions allowed the NVM's 1,236 finishers
to fully appreciate the unparalleled Napa Valley.
"This is one of my favorites," said Kent Buehrer, 44, of Maumee, Ohio,
who finished in 3:43:41, his 59th marathon. "It's a similar course to
Boston. The rolling hills, and the [overall net elevation loss], are an
attraction to me. And this year the scenery was spectacular with no fog."
"It worked out really well this year, especially because of the trials
qualifying story," said Co-Race Director Rich Benyo. "We don't offer
prize money, but the times were excellent, we had rabbits, and a rabbit
It's a story that doesn't play out often. Coincidentally, on March 6,
1994, 13 years ago to the day-Paul Pilkington was hired to rabbit the
elite group at the Los Angeles Marathon, and won. Rabbits just seem to
run wild in springtime.
Full race results for the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon are
available on the event's web site at www.napavalleymarathon.org.
All proceeds from the Napa Valley Marathon (a non-profit organization)
are donated to local charities in the Napa Valley.