If you’re fleet of foot and possess a competitive streak, Sonoma County’s lineup of marathon events over the coming months will keep you happy, active and exceedingly fit.
Of note: this year’s many half marathons reflect the nationwide rise in the event’s popularity. At 13.1 miles, half marathons neatly split the distance of a full 26-mile marathon, which makes them appealing as a marathon entry point. Some runners move up to full marathons, but others are happy to remain at the half marathon level.
One of the great things about the marathon and half marathon races below is that most also contain smaller races, such as a 5K event, that are open to both runners and walkers. This allows many more people to join in the fun and high spirits that come with being involved in racing competition.
Here’s a look at Sonoma County’s upcoming marathon and half marathon events for the remainder of 2013:
May 19: Windsor Green Half Marathon. This is the first in a series of three half marathon races (the other two, detailed below, are Water to Wine on August 11 and Healdsburg on October 20). The Windsor half marathon consists of three different distances: a 13.1-mile half marathon begins at 8 a.m. (no walkers allowed); a 6.2-mile event begins at 8:10 a.m. (walkers welcome); and a 3.1-mile event begins at 8:20 a.m. (walkers welcome). All events start and finish at Windsor Town Green. More details.
July 21: Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon. This popular race—selected as a top half marathon finish by Runners World, which described it as a “life experience”—starts at Cuvaison Carneros Winery, winds through the picturesque Carneros wine region on the southern tip of Napa and Sonoma Valleys, and finishes up in historic Sonoma Plaza. Related events include a Pre-Race Expo at Reata Winery, Pre-Race Dinner at Truchard Vineyards, Post-Race Wine & Music Festival at Sonoma Plaza, and winery tours. A 5K GunBunFunRun is also offered. More details.
August 11: Water to Wine Half Marathon. This event is the second in a series of three half marathon races (the other two are Windsor Green on May 19 and Healdsburg on October 20). Water to Wine starts at Lake Sonoma at 7 a.m. and finishes at Alderbrook Winery. It also offers a limited-entry 3-mile fun run that’s open to walkers. The course runs downhill, making it one of the fastest around. More details.
August 25: Santa Rosa Marathon & Half Marathon. There’s something for all running levels in this event since it also includes a 5K run. The full marathon is a double 13.1-mile loop—flat and fast—that starts from Julliard Park and loops around scenic Prince Memorial Greenway, along a creek, over trestle bridges, through vineyards and farmland. The half marathon and 5K run are open to walkers (the 5K race goes through downtown). Also on the agenda: pre-race Expo, optional dinner at the Flamingo Resort & Spa, post-race festivities, and more. More details.
September 15: Petaluma Clo-Cow Half Marathon. Now in its third year, this half marathon runs a beautiful course through bucolic farm country and rolling hills dotted with plenty of cows (and they just might moo encouragingly as you race by). The half marathon begins at 7 a.m. and the 5K run starts ten minutes later, with both races beginning and ending on Petaluma’s Kentucky Street (between B Street and Western Avenue). Finish either race and you’ll receive a Custom Cowbell Finishers Medal.
October 20: Healdsburg Half Marathon. This event is the third and final in a series of three half marathon races (the other two are Windsor Green on May 19 and Water to Wine on August 11). The race starts at City Hall, runs past the town’s district of 100-year-old homes, on to vineyards and wineries, and finishes back in downtown Healdsburg. An “Oktoberfest” tent will be set up at the finish line, with local wineries and brewers pouring samples for athletes (a custom race wineglass is included with the entry fee). More details.
October 26: Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon. With a Halloween/Wine Harvest theme inspiring creative costumes, runners will make their way through Sonoma County’s beautiful Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys. At that time of the year, expect to see vineyards decked out in bright autumnal colors. The race starts at 7:30 a.m. in downtown Geyserville. Related events include a wine and music festival at the finish line, with local wineries and breweries pouring (free for runners, $25 for guests). More information.
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez