FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Winitz
NAPA VALLEY MARATHON EXPECTS "ULTRA" TURNOUT
NAPA, Calif. - February 22, 2006 - Since its first running in 1979, the
Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon has largely built its popularity
and award-winning reputation on one unwavering tenet, and on a single,
pure, and simple fact. 2,300 entrants will line up for the 28th Annual
Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon on Sunday, March 5, 2006 fully
expecting the event to once again deliver on its reputation as the "best
little road race in the west," a distinction that the marathon's
organizers don't take for granted, but insist upon.
Plus, the sellout crowd of marathoners, many of them first timers in the
race, will savor a certain, defining trait of the event that requires no
orchestration: The 26.2-mile race course traverses one of the world's
most spectacularly majestic wine growing regions in the world.
These two acclaims -- organizational detail and unparalleled scenery --
have prompted Runner's World magazine to select the Napa Valley Marathon
as one of the top 20 marathons in America and Competitor magazine to name
the race the best rural marathon in the nation.
"I'm excited about Napa," says Alex Tilson, an elite entrant and a first
timer at Napa. "I heard that it's a beautiful course that's fast and
blessed with historically good weather."
Tilson, 35, of Burlingame, Calif., owns a marathon best of 2 hours, 21
minutes, and 18 seconds -- making him a top contender in the men's race.
His claim to fame, however, comes as an ultramarathon competitor. In
2002, Tilson set a U.S. record for 50 kilometers (31 miles) on the roads.
His 50km time of 2:51:48 eclipsed the previous official road record,
which had stood for over 20 years, by more than eight minutes.
Ultra standout Brian Purcell, 49, of Sebastopol, Calif. will compete in
the Napa Valley Marathon for the third time. Purcell is an eight-time
veteran and 1988 champion of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.
Entrants Rae Clark (54, Auburn, Calif.), Sean Crom (50, Reno, Nev.), and
Helen Klein (83, Rancho Cordova, Calif.) all have received annual
Ultrarunner of the Year awards from USA Track & Field.
Rich Benyo, who co-directs the Napa Valley Marathon and edits Marathon &
Beyond magazine, believes that some ultrarunners are drawn to the Napa
race because it shares similarities with ultras. Not in distance, but in
its "mellow, sort of retro-like way marathons used to be," Benyo says.
Notable ultramarathon athletes who have won at Napa include multiple
Western States 100 champion Ann Trason (1988 and 1999) and Kathy
D'Onofrio Wood (1985). Gard Leighton, who co-directs the KPNVM with Benyo
and David Hill, has run in over 200 ultramarathons and holds national
Duncan Larkin, 33, of Exton, Penn. is also expected to contend for the
men's overall win. Larkin finished sixth in last year's race, but since
then has improved his personal best to 2:32:32.
In the women's race, 36-year-old Mary Coordt of Elk Grove, Calif. will
defend her 2005 title. Coordt easily topped last year's women's field in
2:51:50. Coordt also won the Napa Valley Marathon in 1997. If Coordt is
successful, she will join two other athletes who have won the race three
times: David Chairez (1984, '86, '89) and Christine Iwahashi (1986, '87,
Among veteran participants, 65-year-old Herb Phillips will reach for
another superb performance at the Napa Valley Marathon. Phillips, who
resides in Burnaby (British Columbia), Canada, is a frequent competitor
at the race, and has run more than 50 sub-three-hour marathons since
turning 50. In 2004, Phillips ran a 2:47:28 marathon, an unofficial
world's best for 63-year-old men. After turning 65 last year, he
celebrated by scoring a 2:52:43 at last October's Royal Victoria Marathon.
Many interesting and inspiring stories come from all ranks of this year's
marathon field. For example, Scott Beasley, 35, of Travis Air Force Base,
trained for last year's KPNVM while stationed in Thailand providing
tsunami relief. Working 12 hour days, he did his running in a five-story
Kevin Corbett, 36, of Danville, Calif. will run his first-ever marathon
at Napa to celebrate his one-year anniversary of successfully beating
Kathryn Bozzini, 46, of Lafayette, Calif., a mother of eight children,
ages 9 to 20, will make Napa her 19th marathon.
Darryl Beardall, 69, of Santa Rosa, Calif. enters the KPNVM having
completed over 200 marathons with a personal best of 2:28. Beardall, who
began running in the 1950s, counts two victories in the rugged Dipsea
trail race over Mt. Tamalpais among his 300 race wins and 300,000
Ann Thrupp, 48, of El Cerrito, Calif. helped pioneer women's distance
running at Stanford University, where she was a three-time All-American
from 1975-1980. Now, she is aiming for a 3 hour, 40 minute finish at this
year's Napa Valley Marathon.
Dr. Kirk Pappas, 44, of Santa Rosa, Calif., specializes in physical
medicine and rehabilitation at the Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical
Center. He has completed 26 marathons.
"I'm very honored to be in my sixth Napa Valley Marathon this year," says
Pappas, who treats people with muscular skeletal problems. "I'm equally
proud that it's the first sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. Being able to
improve what you have is why I run."
Karen Queally, 53, of Millbrae, Calif., who works as an assistant
administrator at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center, was
diagnosed with breast cancer early last year. She had to cancel her plans
to run in the 2005 KPNVM. A year later, after successful treatment, and
running strong again, she is looking forward to lining up for this year's
The 2006 edition of the KPNVM has again been selected by the Road Runners
Club of America as its National Marathon Championship -- a designation it
has received since 1998. Runners may also choose the companion Kiwanis 5K
Run, which starts and finishes at Vintage High School on marathon morning.
Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon weekend includes a Sports and
Fitness Expo, Saturday, March 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Napa Valley
Marriott Hotel & Spa. Also on slate is the marathon's popular Marathon
College, an innovative speaker/seminar program that includes a "faculty"
composed of respected running authorities and celebrity runners.
The faculty for the 2006 Marathon College includes Joe Henderson (author
of 25 books on running and columnist for Marathon & Beyond), Dick
Beardsley (Napa Valley Marathon course record-holder, 4th fastest
American marathoner of all time, and author of Staying The Course), Helen
Klein (world and American age-group record-holder at distances from the
5K to 100 miles), John Keston (world and American age-group record-holder
at distances from the mile to the marathon), Roger Robinson (former
world's best masters runner and author), Kathrine Switzer (women's
running pioneer), Amby Burfoot (executive editor of Runner's World), Bee
McLeod (president of the Road Runners Club of America), and Mary Coordt
(defending Napa Valley Marathon champion and sports nutrition expert).
The marathon starts on Sunday, March 5 at 7:00 a.m. sharp in Calistoga on
the Silverado Trail near the intersection of Rosedale Road. The race
finishes at Vintage High School in Napa. Top runners are expected to
reach the finish between 9:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Runners will receive
official times up until 12:30 p.m. when the course closes.
EVENT ENTRY: Entry is limited to the first 2,300 registrants. Runners can
register for the marathon online or download an entry form at
www.napavalleymarathon.org. Alternatively, contact the race via e-mail at
, or telephone: (707) 255-2609. The registration fee for
the race is $100. There is no race-day registration.
* * * * * *
The Napa Valley Marathon appreciates generous sponsor support from Kaiser
Permanente/Thrive, Calistoga Mineral Water Company, Gatorade, ASICS
America Corporation, Silverado Trail Wineries Association, Marathon &
Beyond, Road Runners Club of America, USA Track & Field, MarathonFoto,
Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa, GU, CBS 5 and UPN Bay Area, KVYN/99.3
The Vine, KVON 1440 AM, the Napa Running Company, and KCBS 740 AM.
The Kaiser Permanente Thrive campaign demonstrates Kaiser Permanente's
founding philosophy of members getting and staying healthy throughout
their lives, by taking an active role in caring for themselves in
partnership with their health care provider. Exercise, healthy eating
habits, and good health choices are important components of the Thrive
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