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Feb. 26, 2011 PRESS RELEASE: Napa Valley Marathon Elite Field Announced Leave a Comment
PRESS RELEASE: Napa Valley Marathon Elite Field Announced
Provided by Napa Valley Marathon

NAPA, Calif. - February 26, 2011 - The Kaiser Permanente Napa ValleyMarathon announced its elite field today. A strong group of top runnerswill join a sold-out crowd of 2,400 participants for the 33rd annualrace on Sunday, March 6, 2011. Although the race does not offer prizemoney, its fast and scenic course that spans the length of the worldrenowned Napa Valley wine country draws runners of all abilities fromnear and far.

This year, marathon participants from ten countries and 44 U.S. stateswill line up with aspirations of crossing a brand new, spacious finishline in the parking lot in front of Napa's Vintage High School. The newfinish allows more space for spectators, runners, and finish linelogistical support and amenities.

In addition several notable U.S. marathoners will be on hand as VIPsincluding Olympians Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and MagdalenaLewy Boulet who will participate on a training run -- plus DickBeardsley, America's all-time fifth fastest marathoner.

The Napa Valley Marathon's 26.2-mile race course, which is certified(for distance) by USA Track & Field, offers a unique, runner-friendly,and awe-inspiring marathon experience. The point-to-point 26.2-mileroute runs the length of the famed Napa Valley wine-growing region.Runners are treated to panoramic views of the valley, flowering fruittrees, and dormant vineyards carpeted with golden mustard flowers.

On this speedy course, a group of about half a dozen women and severalmen will attempt to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team TrialsMarathon, which will take place in Houston, Tex. on January 14, 2012.The Trials race will select the three men and three women for the U.S.Olympic marathon squad that will compete in London.

"Napa provides a good course for athletes looking for a Marathon Trialsqualifying time, especially if there is a pack at the front going forthe same goal," said 1984 Olympic marathon gold medalist Joan BenoitSamuelson. "They just need to be patient because the course has somedownhills in the beginning, it's generally cool in the early morning,and you tend to want to go out fast, Then, it warms up, and the hillscan begin to take their toll."

The standards for entry into the Marathon Trials, set by USA Track &Field, are demanding. Trials aspirants at Napa must finish the 26.2-miledistance in 2 hours and 19 minutes or faster (men) or 2:46:00 or faster(women). The qualifying window for the Trials began on January 1, 2009and will end 30 days before the event. In 2008, just three weeks beforethe qualifying deadline, four women qualified for the '08 Women'sMarathon Trials at the Napa Valley Marathon.

The Napa Valley Marathon's women's course record of 2:39:43 was set byDiana Fitzpatrick in 1992. Dick Beardsley, a two-time Olympic TrialsMarathon qualifier (1980 and 1988), holds the men's course record of2:16:20 set in 1987.

Here are some of the top elite athletes who will vie for titles at thisyear's Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon: TOP WOMENCamille Herron, 29, of West Lafayette, Ind. aims to win the women'sdivision at the 2011 Napa Valley Marathon, and she has the credentialsto do it. Herron ran a personal best marathon of 2:38:23 for eighthplace at the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon which served as USA Track &Field's national marathon championship. She qualified for the 2008Olympic Marathon Trials, and has already met the standard for the 2012Trials in four different races. She is making her first Napa ValleyMarathon appearance. Caroline Cretti, 26, of Berkeley, Calif. also has Marathon Trialsexperience. The Williams College (Massachusetts) 15-time All-Americanfinished the 2008 Marathon Trials in 2:40:12 for 21st place. She was theyoungest athlete among the top-25 finishers. Patty Rogers, 36, of Lakewood, Colo. is a marathon veteran who hopes herNapa effort will yield a second Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier.Rogers finished the 2006 Houston Marathon in 2:45:34 and qualified forthe 2008 Trials where she ran 2:49:18. Additional top contenders in the strong women's field include: -- YiOu Wang (25, Mill Valley, Calif.) who hopes to improve upon herthird-place finish at last year's Napa Valley Marathon -- Katherine Koski (38, Duluth, Minn.), a 2000 and 2004 U.S. OlympicMarathon Trials qualifier with a 2:42 marathon best -- Kami Semick (44, Bend, Ore.), a 2009 and 2010 USA Track & FieldUltrarunner of the Year and 2009 100K World Champion. She also excels atthe marathon distance with a personal record of 2:45:24. Semick ispointing towards the 56-mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa on May29th where she hopes to improve upon last year's fourth place finish. In addition, one of America's top female Olympic marathoners willparticipate in a training effort. Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland,Calif.) is an official starter, but does not plan to finish. Instead,she will do a fast-paced workout at Napa as she prepares for the IAAFWorld Cross Country Championships in late March, the London Marathon inApril, and the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. In 2008, Lewy Bouletplaced second at the Trials and earned a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympicteam that competed in Beijing. She is the fifth fastest U.S. woman everat the marathon distance with a 2:26:22 personal best. TOP MENKevin Pool, 28, of Folsom, Calif. is making his debut at the Napa ValleyMarathon. His best marathon to date was at the 2009 CaliforniaInternational Marathon where he turned in a 2:22:23. At the USA HalfMarathon Championships last month in Houston -- a race that provided apreview of the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials course -- Pool placed 24thin 1:06:30. Pool's aim is to return to Houston and compete in the Trials. Carlos Siqueiros, 30, of Menlo Park, Calif. won the 2007 PortlandMarathon in 2:25:25. He hopes to return to that form at Napa. Siqueiros' training partner, Kota Reichert (27, Menlo Park, Calif.) isalso entered. The full-time physical therapist at Stanford UniversityHospital owns a marathon best of 2:29:29, but hopes to lower that byfive or six minutes on the fast Napa course. Chris Mocko, 25, of Palo Alto, Calif. is aiming for a finish time in thelow 2:20s. The recent track and cross country runner for StanfordUniversity has a 5K personal record of 14:26, and he might surprisehimself in only his second marathon. Mocko's debut marathon lastDecember yielded a finishing time of 2:32:40. The 2011 edition of the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon has againbeen selected by the Road Runners Club of America as its WesternRegional Marathon Championship, a designation it has received since2009. Marathon weekend includes a Sports and Fitness Expo on Friday,March 4th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 5th from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa. Also on slate is themarathon's popular Marathon College on Saturday, March 5th, aninnovative speaker/seminar program that includes a "faculty" composed ofrespected running authorities and celebrity runners. The 2011 Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon starts on Sunday, March6th at 7:00 a.m. sharp in Calistoga on the Silverado Trail near theintersection of Rosedale Road. The road course runs the length of thebeautiful 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.

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