Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon
Matt Flaherty, 28, of Bloomington, Ind., and Jenny Kadavy, 31, of Concord, Calif., were the men’s and women’s winners at the scenic Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon in Napa, Calif., Sun., March 2.
Running 2:26:15, Matt Flaherty finished more than two minutes ahead of Chris Mocko, 27, of San Francisco, Calif., who was second in 2:28:36. Ryan Donovan, 31, of Fort Collins, Colo., finished third in 2:31:10.
Jenny Kadavy ran 2:40:47 to win the women’s race by more than 10 minutes! Meredith Placer, 27, of Tucson, Ariz., finished second in 2:52:26 and Devon Yanko, 31, of San Anselmo, Calif., was third in 2:52:54.
Matt Flaherty of Bloomington, Ind. and Jenny Kadavy of Concord, Calif. garnered big wins in competitive fields at today’s 36th Annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon. Flaherty, 28, an accomplished runner who was crowned the 2013 U.S. 50 Mile Road Champion, improved upon his fourth place finish at last year’s Napa Valley Marathon (NVM) while recording a winning time of 2 hours, 26 minutes and 15 seconds. Kadavy notched the women’s victory in 2:40:47 on a day that presented near-ideal weather conditions for distance running: overcast, little wind, with temperatures hovering around 48 degrees at the start. Light showers sprinkled the later finishers, but didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of about 2,700 marathon entrants.
In the men’s race Flaherty was content to pace himself behind two-time NVM champion Chris Mocko (San Francisco, Calif.) and Ryan Donovan (Fort Collins, Colo.) in the early stages of the race, a strategy that eventually paid off for him on the scenic, gently rolling, point-to-point course from Calistoga to Napa. “I tried to keep my head up the entire race and keep an eye on him. Around mile 21 I saw him stop and stretch, so I knew he had some issues. I think I saw him stop and stretch three times from miles 21 to 25 and that definitely helped me cut the gap. He kept going strong, but that let me know I had a better chance than I thought.” Flaherty commented.
“Napa is one of my favorite marathons, I love point-to-point courses. It’s well run, a good size, and a really fun race,” said Flaherty, who is sponsored by Salomon, a mountain sports apparel company.
Unlike the men’s contest, the women’s race was a one-woman show as Jenny Kadavy (nee’ Wilson), 31, fronted the competition from wire to wire and was unchallenged. “I just wanted to go out at a consistent pace, and not too hard,” said Kadavy (Asics Aggies Running Club) who bumped up her training to a modest 55 miles per week last December to prepare for NVM. “I think I kept that pace well. Nobody was challenging me, so I just ran my myself. I just wanted to do 2:42 at least and get in that range.”
As one of California's top tourist destinations, Napa Valley has been home to its marathon and other races for 33 years. When it comes to scenic, it just doesn't get better than Napa in the spring. The narrow valley is covered in grapes vines that stretch high up the hillsides on either side. The colors are crisp green, blue and yellow this time of year. The more than 300 architecturally unique wineries look like castles, mansions, sprawling villas and sunken flying saucers. Subject to periodic rain showers or crystal clear mornings, the race is a favorite, always a sellout and operates with a seasoned cast of running officials so all goes as smooth as their finest Cabernet.
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