NAPA, Calif. — A sold-out field of 2,600 entrants from 16 countries, 45 U.S. states, and Washington, D.C. will gather in California’s Napa Valley for the 35th Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon on Sunday, March 3, 2013. The Napa Valley Marathon (NVM) asks each entrant to describe on their entry form their reasons for entering the race. The responses, of course, are varied. Many, however, touch upon the themes of how the challenge of a 26.2-mile race spurs marathoners to undertake charitable deeds that assist others who face adversity, or overcome personal adversities themselves.
Running USA, the non-profit organization created in 1999 to serve the running industry, observed in its 2012 “State of the Sport Report” that “Running and Charity are becoming so synonymous that you almost cannot mention one without the other. While the exact number of charity runners in the United States is not available, there is no doubt that part of the increase in road race entrants over the past decade has been driven by charitable running.”
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. Numerous NVM participants, however, choose to go beyond NVM’s annual philanthropy by dedicating their race to others, often raising donations that fund the charities of their choice.
“As the largest sporting event in Napa County, our marathon comes at the right time of year,” NVM Co-Event Director David Hillcommented. “It’s a quiet time in Napa Valley and for tourism. The marathon’s economic impact of four million dollars over four or five days is a lot of money during the winter, or ‘Cabernet,’ season.”
“We certainly welcome runners who participate while raising money and support for additional worthwhile causes (outside of Napa Valley),” NVM Co-Event Director Rich Benyo added. “Running a marathon for a favorite charity, or for a beloved person, or group of people in need gives you more focus. It’s almost like you’re running the race with a friend out there encouraging you. We all perform better when we extend ourselves for someone else.”
Last year, Forbes Travel Guide rated NVM among the top ten marathons in the world “worth traveling for.” Runner’s World magazine selected NVM as one of the top ten U.S. marathons for first-time marathon participants in its January, 2011 issue. American Express’ Departures magazine declared the NVM as #7 in their “ten travel-worthy races that make for truly memorable journeys on the run.”
Historically, a remarkable 30 percent of NVM’s 2,600 entrants are first-time marathoners. NVM’s fast, point-to-point, USA Track & Field certified (for accurate distance) marathon course through the scenic Napa Valley has attracted numerous devotees.
For more information about the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, please visit the marathon’s web site at www.napavalleymarathon.org Find profiles of a handful of the participants who will run in the March 3 event in the Running USA member news section.
Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.