FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KAISER PERMANENTE NAPA VALLEY MARATHON RIDES UPWARD TREND IN MARATHONING
NAPA, Calif. - February 12, 2010 - When 286 runners crossed the finish line
at the inaugural Napa Valley Marathon (NVM) in 1979, none of them imagined
that they were pioneers in a sport that would grow to almost half a million
finishers annually in U.S. marathons alone. In fact, when a sold-out crowd
of 2,300 participants from 43 U.S. states and 12 countries line up for the
32nd Annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon on Sunday, March 7,
2010, each runner's personal story will provide a telling tale about the
popularity of marathoning today.
In 2009, there were 408 marathon races, and 468,000 marathon finishes in
the U.S. according to a report that is about to be published by
MarathonGuide.com. The finisher count represents an all-time high, an
increase of 9.9 percent from 2008, and the largest year-to-year growth in
finisher numbers during the last decade. Two other sources that compile
data about road racing -- the Association of Road Racing Statisticians
(ARRS) and Running USA -- report similar statistics.
In comparison, there were only 75 U.S. marathons and 5,970 marathon
finishers in 1970 according to ARRS. So, marathon participation has
increased almost 80-fold over the last two decades. Why do distance runners
and fitness devotees from every walk of life continue to travel to, and
participate in, marathons despite a pallid economy?
"Marathons are tied to a positive sense of community and family endeavors,"
said Ryan Lamppa, the Media Director of Running USA, a prominent non-profit
organization that serves the running industry.
"People have put marathon running at the top of their priority lists
because running makes you feel good, it's fun, provides great exercise, and
it helps you blow off stress. Running gives you something that you can
control, as opposed to the stock market and maybe even your job.
Runners decide when they're going to run and how far they'll run."
The Napa Valley Marathon was only the 139th largest marathon worldwide in
2009 in terms of totals finishers, but its finisher count of 1,822 was the
highest in the 31-year history of the race. The popular event reaches its
2,300 limit for entrants every year. The current limit was set by race
officials in 2005. At that time, entry limits for the race were largely
determined by the number of available hotel rooms in the world-renowned
Napa Valley wine producing and tasting region. Last year, the ING New York
City Marathon recorded 43,633 finishers and the distinction as the world's
largest marathon. Ten marathons in the world had 20,000 or more finishers.
These numbers support significant economic impact figures associated with
the sport of marathon running, and road racing in general. An economic
assessment conducted by Napa Valley Marathon Co-Race Director David Hill in
2004 estimated the local economic impact of the NVM between $593,000 and
$1,465,000 annually in direct spending.
The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon asks each marathon registrant to
submit a short "interesting story" about their motivations for running the
26.2-mile race. A selection of these stories appears below.
Cynthia (Cindy) Bras, 49, of Concord, CA has multiple sclerosis, but it
doesn't prevent her from setting challenges for herself, such as tackling
her first marathon at NVM to celebrate her upcoming 50th birthday in July.
In fact, inspired by her determination, Bras' husband, Gregory, 51, and her
son, Justin, 22, will join her by running their debut marathon at NVM.
Jonathan Poei (29, Vacaville, CA,), a co-worker and friend of Bras, will
also run with the Bras crew.
"I've learned that I love running," said Bras, who rises at 4 a.m. to run
before her demanding work days as a civilian resource manager for the U.S.
Army. "Exercising improves my energy level to get me through the day, and
it also relieves pain associated with MS. My neurologist is just thrilled
Anita Lewis, 66, of St. Helena, CA started running over 30 years ago. The
Napa Valley Marathon will be her second marathon ever. She is the oldest
women entered in the race to date. Lewis trains with her running companion,
a Giant Schnauzer, on the roads in and around her 161-acre ranch.
"My goal is to finish the marathon and not finish last," she said.
Annemarie Walsh, 18, of Napa is tackling this year's NVM to fulfill her
Senior Project at Napa High School. Walsh is a distance runner on the high
school's track team. To fulfill her requirement, Walsh has researched and
composed a thesis about marathons and the benefits of exercise, and has
trained for the race under her mentor, Greg Stueland, 59, of Napa.
Stueland, a part-time employee at the Napa Running Company, is an
experienced marathoner who will also run in the race.
Tristan Miller, 33, of Melbourne, Australia lost his job at a high profile
internet company, so he set out on a run around the world. Miller is
attempting to complete 52 marathons in 52 weeks in more than 44 countries.
The Napa Valley Marathon will be his 11th marathon in 11 consecutive weeks
during 2010. During his marathon journey, Miller will try and raise over
$100,000 AUD ($88,500 USD) for UNICEF through donations. For more
information, visit http://runlikecrazy.com.
Rodrigue Paradis, 55, a NVM entrant from Quebec, Canada, has registered
almost 40 marathon finishes all over the world.
"For me, running marathons is the best excuse to travel with my wife, my
faithful cheer leader," Paradis said. "As soon as a marathon is finished,
I'm looking for the next one."
Emmet McCarthy, 40, of Gilroy, CA and his sister, Colleen Thigpen, 43, of
Oakland, CA will run in the Napa Valley Marathon in honor of their brother,
Joseph Patrick McCarthy, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1987.
In 2000, they ran their first NVM accompanied by three other family members
and wore T-shirts that read JPMC-HCW (Heaven Couldn't Wait). The McCarthy
siblings all started running at an early age, following the footsteps of
their father, a retired distance runner.
Josh Roseman, 42, a jazz trombonist who splits his time between Brooklyn,
NY and the south San Francisco Bay Area when he's not on tour, began
exercising last May to lose excess weight. By December, he felt he was in
good enough shape to tackle a marathon.. On December 31, he entered the
NVM. making a resolution to challenge himself. He will run the race with
his father, Dan Roseman, 67, a Newton, MA-based dentist who is an
experienced marathoner, cyclist, and rower.
Roseman said that his music and running complement each other. "The basic
principles in music and running are very similar," he said.
Linda Garrett, 37, of Mt. View, CA grew up in South Africa where she
watched her father compete in the Comrades Marathon, the world's oldest and
largest ultramarathon (approximately 56 miles) ten times. Both her father
and mother were also longtime volunteers on the race's organizing
committee. Garrett will run her first marathon at NVM with expectations of
qualifying for the 2011 Comrades Marathon and crossing the Comrades finish
line in her hometown of Pietermatitzburg. Garrett's parents, visiting from
South Africa, will cheer on their daughter at Napa.
Pablo Aguilera, 24, of Redwood City, CA is running NVM with a goal of
breaking the Guinness World Record for running a marathon while dribbling a
basketball. The current record is 3 hours, 48 minutes, and 23 seconds.
The Stanford University grad and social studies teacher at Woodside High
School has initiated a campaign called "Upward Bounce." The campaign raises
awareness of the high costs of the college application process, and raises
funds for Stanford College Prep, an organization that helps low-income high
school students on the San Francisco Mid-Peninsula prepare for and pursue a
For Michael Deetz, 49, of San Bernardino, CA, NVM will be his 18th
marathon. Deetz is a cancer survivor who, in 1991 was diagnosed with stage
IV (advanced) Hodgkin's lymphoma. Subsequently, he underwent chemotherapy
and radiation therapy to fight three separate bouts with the disease, and
received a bone marrow transplant. Through his running, and his speaking
engagements, Deetz has raised over $8,000 for cancer-related charities.
"My perspective on life has been changed," said Deetz. "I realize that some
days are better than others, but there really is no such thing as a bad
Ten years ago, Jody Lashinski, 47, of Sebastopol, CA, a veteran runner, had
open-heart surgery to repair an Atrial septal defect (ASD, sometimes called
a "hole" in the heart). She also had recurrent pericarditis, an
inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the heart. Lashinski has been
healthy for the past five years and her cardiologist has given her the
go-ahead to resume marathon running. She has trained for, and entered, NVM
with a friend, Sarah Ghazzagh, 33, of Santa Rosa, CA who will be running
her first marathon.
"Running has been a saving grace for me," Lashinski said. "It has allowed
me to get through many things and do many things."
NVM entrant Charles Yoakum, 44, of San Anselmo, CA, a runner since
adolescence, started working in running stores when he was a teenager. He
has managed the Napa Running Company in Napa and currently owns the Marin
Running Company in San Anselmo. Yoakum manages daily training runs despite
commitments to his business, and to a family that includes two young
daughters. He hasn't tired of road racing.
"I believe that no matter what age you are, when you pin on the number, you
have a responsibility to run well and test yourself," said Yoakum.
"Part of the joy of racing is to see what you can do on that day."
Steven Yee, 50, of Renton, WA will lead a group of about 25 runners to NVM.
All have an addiction to marathon running and membership in the Marathon
Maniacs, an Internet-based running club with over 2,200 runners located in
all 50 states and a dozen countries. Yee, the President of the club, last
ran NVM in 2005 during a streak composed of 52 marathons that year. Napa is
one of his favorite races because he enjoys the beautiful Napa wine growing
The 2010 Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon starts on Sunday, March 7
at 7:00 a.m. sharp in Calistoga on the Silverado Trail near the
intersection of Rosedale Road. The marathon's fast, USA Track & Field
certified (for accurate distance) road course runs the length of the
beautiful Silverado Trail and finishes at Vintage High School in Napa.
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.
Every Napa Valley Marathon participant assists important local causes.
All proceeds from the Napa Valley Marathon (a non-profit organization) are
donated to local charities and schools in the Napa Valley region. For more
information about the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, please visit
the marathon's web site at www.napavalleymarathon.org.