Tesfaye Alemayehu and Malindi Elmore were victorious in the 10th anniversary running of the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon. The popular sold-out race on Sunday attracted 3,400 runners from 50 states and 11 foreign countries who enjoyed ideal weather conditions and a festive atmosphere along the rolling, serpentine course.
The scenic 13.1-mile race started at Cuvaison Carneros Winery and finished at historic Sonoma Plaza in front of City Hall. An estimated 10,000 people attended the race and post-race festivities in downtown Sonoma. Produced by Destination Races of Sonoma, Napa-to-Sonoma is the flagship event in the Wine Country Half Marathon Series, (http://destinationraces.com/runn2s).
Alemayuhu of Antioch, CA successfully defended his title, winning the race for the 4th consecutive year with a time of 1:04:10. He ran a steady pace of under 5 minutes per mile, easily outdistancing 2nd place finisher Armen Vartanian of San Mateo, CA 1:07:24 and 3rd place Ivan Medina of Hayward, CA 1:11:18. Malindi Elmore, of Kelowna, British Columbia, won her first Wine Country Half Marathon in a time of 1:18:50. Elmore was an Olympian for Canada in 2004 in the 1,500 meters. “I was really impressed with all aspects of the race, it truly was a different experience from other events I have run. Destination Races really looks after the athletes well,” added Elmore, who was running her first half marathon. “It was a good, solid, tough run especially at the 8 mile mark, but I kept on pushing.”
She defeated Michelle Meyer of San Francisco, CA, 1:21:41 who is celebrating her birthday today. Meyers enthused, “It’s such a beautiful course to run with great support from the volunteers. I can’t think of a better way to kick off a birthday.“ Jaymee Marty, of San Francisco, CA 1:25:29 is a teammate of Meyer’s and is also celebrating her birthday. Elmore also works for Destination Races, as a local coordinator for its upcoming Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon on September 7, 2013.
The post-race Wine & Music Festival, presented by United HealthCare, featured wine tasting, food, beer, bands, and the awards ceremony in Sonoma Plaza. Twenty-five wineries and Lagunitas Brewing Company poured at the festival, while exhibitors offered product samples and demonstrations. Each finisher received a performance running shirt, unique finisher’s medal, and a Riedel wine glass good for the wine festival. The top 3 finishers in each age category received a bottle of wine.
Team Challenge, the endurance training and fundraising program for Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, brought 650 runners and raised $2.4 million at the event. Hanna Boys Center of Sonoma, Save-our-Sports-Sonoma, Native Sons of the Golden West and Community Action of Napa Valley (CAN-V) provided volunteers for the race and served as beneficiaries.
”What a rewarding and fun day it was for everyone involved in this event!” enthused Matt Dockstader, President of Destination Races. “We’ve seen this event grow over the years into a real treasure. It’s truly a team effort that starts here in our community and expands to all our partners and our participants from all over the world.” Top overall masters winners were John Litzenberg of Glen Ellen, CA and Renee Lewis-Mance of Moorestown, NJ. John Litzenberg and Heather Gilardi were the top finishers from Napa or Sonoma County. Forward Motion Race Club won the team competition and Truchard Vineyards won the Winery Team Challenge.
The GunBunFunRun 5K was won by Brian Seo with a time of 21:42 and Cara Prehn in a time of 23:39.
2013 Official Results:
1. Tesfaye Alemayehu 29 Antioch, CA 1:04:10
2. Armen Vartanian 33 San Mateo, CA 1:07:24
3. Ivan Medina 27 Hayward, CA 1:11:18
1. Malindi Elmore 33 Kelowna, BC Canada 1:18:50
2. Michelle Meyer 26 San Francisco, CA 1:21:41
3. Jaymee Marty 46 San Francisco, CA 1:25:29