Overall Rating
Overall Rating (132 Reviews)
4.7
(132 Ratings) 🏆 (132 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
4.7
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
4.3
The Napa Valley Marathon and Half Marathon is dedicated to fostering and promoting quality road racing in an inspiring setting. Known as the “biggest little marathon in the West,” the Marathon has earned a reputation for outstanding runner support, attention to detail, and a beautiful point-to-point course. The Napa Valley … MORE
Local Weather (Mar 05):
2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
 
H (°F) 57 62 61 53 63
L (°F) 34 38 49 48 32
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Recent reviews

    suman FIRST-TIMER '22

    For amateur runners like me - Its mostly downhill, but you don't feel it as its one straight road which keeps going :) - Pick a pacer which works for … MORE

    For amateur runners like me
    – Its mostly downhill, but you don’t feel it as its one straight road which keeps going 🙂
    – Pick a pacer which works for you, just follow
    – Its supposed to be scenery race – but time when this race happens, there was not much to see
    – Race bus starts early, so keep warm cloths which you can checkin before start – I made a mistake and was freezing for 1+ hr

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    This is a beautiful course, and everything was well-organized. Biggest gripe was that shuttles started loading early (5:15am-ish) and got to the start around 5:45/6am for a 7am start. Luckily … MORE

    This is a beautiful course, and everything was well-organized.

    Biggest gripe was that shuttles started loading early (5:15am-ish) and got to the start around 5:45/6am for a 7am start. Luckily you could wait on the bus as long as you wanted, but I would have preferred the chance to save a bit of sleep. 🙂

    There was a single corral for the half-marathon, which I thought could mean everyone was bunched up, but it was no problem at all. For the first part of the race the road is effectively 4 lanes wide so there was plenty of space.

    I really enjoyed the race – it was definitely a great experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    sfakhran77 FIRST-TIMER '22

    Expo was awesome. Course was good, scenic if somewhat boring and lonely. 12 aid stations, would have liked 2-3 more, but not that big a deal. Everyone was friendly. Finish … MORE

    Expo was awesome. Course was good, scenic if somewhat boring and lonely. 12 aid stations, would have liked 2-3 more, but not that big a deal. Everyone was friendly.

    Finish area needed TLC. Only drink available was water, only food in finish area was a banana. After running 26.2 I needed a bit
    more. A sports drink, chocolate milk, bagel or power bar. Something, anything really.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    The scenery was great. Loved the course. Aid stations were great. I would definitely do it again. The coordination was a little off. The shuttle buses only ran from 5:30-6am. … MORE

    The scenery was great. Loved the course. Aid stations were great. I would definitely do it again.

    The coordination was a little off. The shuttle buses only ran from 5:30-6am. I got to the parking lot a little after 6am and was told there were no more shuttles. There were many runners who also found out last minute that shuttles were not coming and had to make last minute drop off plans. I wish there was more information about when busses would stop running.

    Also – when I finished the half marathon (2 hrs, 11 min) they ran out of power bars. All they had were bananas and water, which was a little disappointing since I was ready to fuel.

    Overall, I thought it was great and would do it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    KatWest FIRST-TIMER '22

    Beautiful, well organized race. You run through the rolling hills and wineries on each side of the road crowned by the view of mountains. Great aid stations and bathrooms along … MORE

    Beautiful, well organized race. You run through the rolling hills and wineries on each side of the road crowned by the view of mountains. Great aid stations and bathrooms along the route. Well designed medal with adorable wine charm. Great time of the year to run in this area, starts cold but midway through it got sunny and quite warm. I was worried what to wear and ended up with leggings and T-shirt combo plus a sweatshirt that I ditched after 4 miles. In retrospect I would have been better off with tank top and shorts and maybe a blanket at the start to keep warm. Course is relatively easy, mostly flat with some gentle rolling hills, nothing major and that comes from a person that does not run in hilly area on the regular. Scenery was simply stunning, can’t stress it enough how beautiful it was. What I wasn’t crazy about was the finish, you run through the town in the last mile or so into the high school parking lot. I actually got slightly confused whether I finished or not as you make a turn and then another turn in the last few meters. I love to sprint that last few yards and I just couldn’t picture the finish line clearly which is always a massive motivator for me. The other thing is that you don’t get that many spectators so if you rely on crowds energy that is not the race. It wasn’t an issue for me as I like more quiet, wide course that’s not overcrowded with runners. Me and my friend splurged for the package podium and in retrospect that wasn’t really necessary, you get cool extra swag but not really much support. We weren’t informed what time the bus takes off to take us back to the hotel and we nearly missed it. Also we didn’t plan for proper breakfast since it was supposed to be included in the package and we ended up with only pastry and coffee pre race. That is not something you should give out to any runner in any circumstances. Banana, toast, peanut butter would have been so much better. My friend had a muffin and I chose a scone which was a total mistake as I got GI issues into one hour after eating it. I definitely learned my lesson and will stick only to products I know from now on. I still finished under 4 hrs even with necessary bathroom stops along the way, so at least my ego wasn’t too damaged 😉
    Strongly recommend staying at Calistoga Motor Lodge as the start of the race is in their backyard. Can’t beat that convenience.
    All in all, a wonderful race and am planning to do it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    jphermens REPEAT RUNNER '22

    The course is super fun with great pacers. I've tried to stick with a pace group each time and even though I have yet to hit my goal (my own … MORE

    The course is super fun with great pacers. I’ve tried to stick with a pace group each time and even though I have yet to hit my goal (my own fault), I’ve enjoyed running with them each time. The course is favorable to going fast and has great late winter California weather, but the subtle rollers always seem to sneak up on me in the late miles. The race production from packet pickup, bib delivery, start line buses, finish area course and SWAG is unparalleled in the bay area.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    jmwden FIRST-TIMER '22

    A great race experience all-around. Course consists of stunning scenery and rolling hills for the first 20 miles. The surroundings are peaceful, quiet, and tranquil- which really allows you to … MORE

    A great race experience all-around. Course consists of stunning scenery and rolling hills for the first 20 miles. The surroundings are peaceful, quiet, and tranquil- which really allows you to relax and enjoy the run. Aid stations were well-staffed with friendly volunteers willing to take care of the runners. The contrast of the peaceful rural settings with aid stations and several intersections with spectators along the way really made for an enjoyable experience. Race logistics were pretty seamless, communication was consistent (especially in the two weeks prior to the race), and the organizers/spectators/runners were all friendly. This race has a wonderful laid back vibe and that tone is really set at packet pick up. Free beers, wine, and happy people. At the reasonable entry fee point, this is a really wonderful choice for an early March race. Weather was impeccable in 2022.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Growing up in napa did not even prepare me for the cold just before the race. I suggest gloves and a sweater for sure! Other than that it was well … MORE

    Growing up in napa did not even prepare me for the cold just before the race. I suggest gloves and a sweater for sure! Other than that it was well worth it 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    morgenlanning FIRST-TIMER '22

    Awesome aid stations, Great support all along the way, Great runners, After race event was fun and festive, Free PT sessions (much needed and appreciated), Great medical staff. MORE

    Awesome aid stations, Great support all along the way, Great runners, After race event was fun and festive, Free PT sessions (much needed and appreciated), Great medical staff.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    hyakusho FIRST-TIMER '22

    Well produced race with gentle course and lovely scenery. Be sure to wear sunglasses as you're basically running into the (rising) sun for most of the run. The pasta dinner … MORE

    Well produced race with gentle course and lovely scenery. Be sure to wear sunglasses as you’re basically running into the (rising) sun for most of the run. The pasta dinner the evening before is probably not worth your $35 (better options in town for albeit a bit more), but the race production was top notch.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    raquel1rocky FIRST-TIMER '22

    Well organized, beautiful scenery. Excellent execution on shuttles, water stations, gear pick up etc. Good vibes, fun race. Nice swag too. MORE

    Well organized, beautiful scenery. Excellent execution on shuttles, water stations, gear pick up etc. Good vibes, fun race. Nice swag too.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    ktoribio1927 FIRST-TIMER '20

    This race was my first marathon, and I’m so glad I chose this one. The expo, starting and finish lines are all well set up. The scenery is beautiful! The … MORE

    This race was my first marathon, and I’m so glad I chose this one. The expo, starting and finish lines are all well set up. The scenery is beautiful! The weather was perfect didn’t get the sun until mile 21 and even then it wasn’t hot. The course itself was not difficult and I am looking forward to running this race again!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    bandi.abby FIRST-TIMER '20

    I would recommend this race to anyone! It was my fifth marathon but I think it’s a fun course for new and experienced runners. The pre race swag and complimentary … MORE

    I would recommend this race to anyone! It was my fifth marathon but I think it’s a fun course for new and experienced runners. The pre race swag and complimentary drinks at surrounding wineries post race, make it worth the money you pay to sign up. The rolling hills on the course are hardly noticed with the beautiful scenery. All of those working the course- from start to finish- are helpful and kind. It was an amazing race to be a part of, and I ended up getting a PR!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Course : 9/10 + Net downhill + Rolling - get to use different muscle groups + Spectacular scenery + The sound of silence - almost a meditative experience - Minor … MORE

    Course : 9/10
    + Net downhill
    + Rolling – get to use different muscle groups
    + Spectacular scenery
    + The sound of silence – almost a meditative experience
    – Minor camber of road especially in first half
    – Some minor hills

    Weather : 10/10
    + low 40s at start, warming up to low 50s by finish

    Expo : 9/10
    + Hassle free and quick number pick-up
    – Smaller size than the big races

    Swag : 9/10
    + Good medal (half and full get the same medal)
    + Great duffer bag
    + Quality race T-shirt
    + 1 Free digital photo download

    Spectators : 6/10
    + There are some people cheering in the second half
    +- It is you and the road chalking out your destiny.
    – None of the millions packing the majors.

    Water Stops: 10/10
    + Very frequent at about every 2 miles, 12 in all
    + Nuun for electrolyte replacement

    Finish food : 7/10
    + Average fare and sufficient.

    Organization : 10/10
    + Everything was just spot on – pre-race communication, expo, shuttles, race, post-race. No complains!
    + Option to stay warm in the shuttle buses at the start.

    Value : 8/10
    +- At around $173 (with fees) for a late entry it’s pretty decent value.

    Overall: 9/10
    + Easily reachable from the San Francisco area airports
    + Affordable hotels
    + Great destination marathon
    + Solid PR + BQ option
    + One of the best late winter race options
    + Does not sell out till near the very end so you can sign-up last minute
    + Now has a half marathon race, which gives your run group options
    + An accurate course – markers were spot on and no additional distance added at the end.
    – There may be faster races such as CIM.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    meganstoutz2 FIRST-TIMER '20

    I loved this race! I had such a good time spending most of the race with the 3:20 pacer, who was encouraging and even paced. I finished with a huge … MORE

    I loved this race! I had such a good time spending most of the race with the 3:20 pacer, who was encouraging and even paced. I finished with a huge PR, achieved my goal to qualify for Boston Marathon, and had a ton of fun in beautiful scenery. Not the absolute best swag and experience I’ve ever had (cold outside at the start line and not enough bathrooms) but I have very few complaints given how happy I am with my results.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    rcjacobson REPEAT RUNNER '20

    Things have changed since I ran this race the first time in 2016. I'm not entirely complaining because some of the changes had to happen, and some of the perks … MORE

    Things have changed since I ran this race the first time in 2016. I’m not entirely complaining because some of the changes had to happen, and some of the perks that used to exist I never took advantage of the first time. But the following things made the event seem like it lost a bit of its former luster:

    1) When I ran it four years ago, it was the Napa Valley MARATHON. Now it is the Napa Valley Marathon and Half Marathon. I happen to love a good half marathon, and I’m sure it made good business sense for the organizers to incorporate the half marathon distance into the event, and the starting time and place for the Half were well planned to avoid congestion on the course. But something about the event now feels less purely devoted to marathoners. We even all got the same shirt and medal.
    2) Headphones/earbuds are allowed. Previously, they could get you DQ’d. This one probably had to happen, but I liked the no headphones policy. It forced people to actually engage in the race and not just zone out to their tunes.
    3) There are pacers. Again, maybe this one had to happen, but when I ran it before, there were no pacers allowed, which meant you had to do the work yourself. I thought that was pretty old school bad-ass.
    4) There’s no longer an option to place personalized drinks at the aid stations. This is a perk I never took advantage of, and probably wouldn’t have this time around, but I thought it was cool that Napa used to allow any runner, not just the elites, to place personalized drinks at the aid stations of their choosing.
    5) No showers at the end. Again, I didn’t opt for this the first time and probably wouldn’t have this time. I really just wanted to get back to the hotel. But I thought it was cool that runners could shower in the Vintage High gym if they chose.

    All of the above were fairly minor annoyances, so on to my two biggest complaints:

    1) The bus schedule got us to the starting line 45 minutes prior to the race start. Not enough time to use the porta potties more than once. The marathon start-time has been moved back from 7:00 to 7:30, which is fine, but my memory of the previous bus schedule was that we arrived at the starting line in Calistoga at least an hour prior. Which brings me to my biggest complaint,
    2) Not enough porta potties at the starting line. I do not remember this being a problem 4 years ago. This year, I disembarked from the bus as soon as it arrived and spent the next 30 minutes in line for the potty. That didn’t leave a whole lot of time for warm-up, gear check, and general mental preparation. I’m guessing there were maybe 100 outhouses for over 2000 runners. Perhaps the organizers are trying to force more people into paying for the VIP tent.

    All that said, you cannot beat the scenery on this course, it has surprisingly good spectator support considering the limited access points, and the volunteers who roam the course on bicycle are amazing cheerleaders. This race definitely has strong community support. You feel like you’re welcome there from the moment you arrive at the small, but runner-friendly, expo to the time you are recuperating with hot soup and bread after the finish. While I didn’t run my personal best, I was proud that I finally managed an even split in a marathon, and the nature of this course is conducive to even- or negative-splits. I would still recommend this race to any first-time or repeat marathoner.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    trainwithv REPEAT RUNNER '20

    Can't beat the scenery. Rolling down hills through vineyards. The busses are good and the weather this year was perfect. I think the only thing I would prefer is if … MORE

    Can’t beat the scenery. Rolling down hills through vineyards. The busses are good and the weather this year was perfect. I think the only thing I would prefer is if the 1/2 people started later so some of them were finishing with us marathoners, just makes a fun finish line area if we are all finishing closer in times, otherwise the 4-6 hour marathoners are kind of left out of the finish line fun.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    letiwe FIRST-TIMER '20

    The scenery was great! Well organized race and I loved the medals. I think the water stations were adequate as well! The weather was great! MORE

    The scenery was great! Well organized race and I loved the medals. I think the water stations were adequate as well! The weather was great!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    jeannecorey64 REPEAT RUNNER '20

    I love this marathon! I live in CT and keep coming back to CA to run. This was my 3rd consecutive year. The marathon weekend is a blast. The shake … MORE

    I love this marathon! I live in CT and keep coming back to CA to run. This was my 3rd consecutive year. The marathon weekend is a blast. The shake out run was fun! What a great turnout plus there was a raffle with wine as the prizes! The expo is small but jammed pack with cool vendors. I love that we get a sturdy backpack to be used. We are bused to the start and can stay on the bus to stay warm until the start. The course has some rolling hills. The course is breathtaking with beautiful wineries on both sides of the road. I felt like there was more downhill that climbs. The finish is at the high school. I
    Packed dry clothes in my gear bag so
    I was warm for our post recovery food. What a great experience.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    [email protected] REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Beautiful, gently rolling, perfect running weather, excellent race production, swag, volunteers, easy shuttle to start, plenty of parking at pick-up area, all in wine country. MORE

    Beautiful, gently rolling, perfect running weather, excellent race production, swag, volunteers, easy shuttle to start, plenty of parking at pick-up area, all in wine country.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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