Overall Rating
Overall Rating (121 Reviews)
4.7
(121 Ratings)(121 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
4.7
PRODUCTION
4.7
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
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Recent reviews

    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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    runjanerun REPEAT RUNNER '19

    One of my faves! Gentle hills, outstanding race organization, and now with a half marathon. Plenty of aid stations, volunteers, easy bus shuttle to start, beautiful medal, etc. Note: time … MORE

    One of my faves! Gentle hills, outstanding race organization, and now with a half marathon. Plenty of aid stations, volunteers, easy bus shuttle to start, beautiful medal, etc. Note: time limit for the full is 6 hrs exactly.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    jdmill95 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Despite the drizzle, the race day temperature was just about perfect. The water station volunteers were wonderful. The bag pickup after the race went smoothly. MORE

    Despite the drizzle, the race day temperature was just about perfect. The water station volunteers were wonderful. The bag pickup after the race went smoothly.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    NVMarathon Mar 16, 2019 at 5:04pm

    Thank you for your review!

    Thank you for your review!

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    lucymiller7 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Perfect course and perfect weather. Overcast and cool but dry until the last few miles, when the rain sprinkled just when I needed it most. Someone was always handing me … MORE

    Perfect course and perfect weather. Overcast and cool but dry until the last few miles, when the rain sprinkled just when I needed it most. Someone was always handing me water and I finished the race well-hydrated. The post-race meal was perfect and the only thing I could have possibly stomached at the time. Even the photos that came through are great. Highly recommended for first time marathoners.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    NVMarathon Mar 16, 2019 at 5:03pm

    Thank you for your review! We're glad you enjoyed our race.

    Thank you for your review! We're glad you enjoyed our race.

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    sarahealdrich FIRST-TIMER '19

    It was my first marathon, and the weather conditions were perfect! Cool and overcast throughout, and sprinkled a little but wasn't raining a lot. It was hillier than I expected, … MORE

    It was my first marathon, and the weather conditions were perfect! Cool and overcast throughout, and sprinkled a little but wasn’t raining a lot. It was hillier than I expected, the hills last throughout so if you can train with hills that’s ideal. Beautiful scenery and the volunteers were great – I loved it!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    NVMarathon Mar 16, 2019 at 5:04pm

    Glad you loved the scenery, it's one of the best parts about our race. Thank you for your review!

    Glad you loved the scenery, it's one of the best parts about our race. Thank you for your review!

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    k-runner319 FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race is great for 1st time marathoners. The course has some rolling hills but nothing crazy. They have water / nuun stops every 2 miles which is very welcomed. … MORE

    This race is great for 1st time marathoners. The course has some rolling hills but nothing crazy. They have water / nuun stops every 2 miles which is very welcomed. The scenery was beautiful of the vineyards and wineries!

    They did a great job with all of the details. For example: they let us stay on the bus to keep warm before the race. The bathroom lines were not too long (only ~5 minute wait). The bag drop was made easy because 1) they gave us bags at the expo with our numbers on it and 2) made it very easy to drop off (via bus windows) / pick up (already had my bag ready as I approached!). They had people at the finish line to help you in case you had any medical issues.

    It was great that their partners were wineries – which made it fun to explore after the marathon.

    Only recommendation: label the buses or make an announcement before departing to the start line to ensure that the marathoners vs. half-marathoners are on the right bus!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    NVMarathon Mar 16, 2019 at 5:06pm

    Thank you for your review and your recommendation. Glad you had a good race!

    Thank you for your review and your recommendation. Glad you had a good race!

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    daniela.owen REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This race is well-organized, with plenty of water stations and bathrooms along the route. It's a small marathon, so the field is open, and you can start running from the … MORE

    This race is well-organized, with plenty of water stations and bathrooms along the route. It’s a small marathon, so the field is open, and you can start running from the start line. It’s a stunning course, and fans can meet you several times along the way and at the finish, which was a real highlight for me. Such a special gem of a marathon. And you are in Napa for post-race wine tasting. So pretty much, can’t get better than this!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    NuvitS REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Napa Marathon is one of the better organized races I run. Each year I run different marathons just to do something different but always come back to Napa. MORE

    Napa Marathon is one of the better organized races I run. Each year I run different marathons just to do something different but always come back to Napa.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    tp1379 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Settled into a good pace and cruised along for an excellent Sunday run. None of the crazy zigzags in the course to fill out the distance like other big-city marathons … MORE

    Settled into a good pace and cruised along for an excellent Sunday run. None of the crazy zigzags in the course to fill out the distance like other big-city marathons I’ve done. Not a big race expo, but who cares when there is wine to be sampled?

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    lnsciacqua FIRST-TIMER '19

    Loved the welcome committee at the finish line. I was running alone and it was nice to have someone greet me, congratulate me and let me know where I could … MORE

    Loved the welcome committee at the finish line. I was running alone and it was nice to have someone greet me, congratulate me and let me know where I could find things (snacks, water, food, swag collection etc). Running shirt is horrible. Ugly and letters coming off at pick up. Duffle bag is a very cool idea, however the style is not practical and most likely will never be used again.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    1

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    markjenmonical REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Best aspect: scenery, wine country food and, obviously, wine. Great destination marathon. Very hilly- better prepare for that. Not easy for spectators to get around, lots of long quiet spaces. … MORE

    Best aspect: scenery, wine country food and, obviously, wine. Great destination marathon.
    Very hilly- better prepare for that.
    Not easy for spectators to get around, lots of long quiet spaces.
    No free wine at the end, at least not if you finish at the very end- that was disappointing. But, it’s not like it’s hard to find.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Jossy Rodriguez
    jossy_218 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Beautiful vineyard from start to finish! Weather... 50/50 chance of rain. Course was harder than I thought! Road is not flat, it’s slanted so it’s harder to run. Overall I … MORE

    Beautiful vineyard from start to finish! Weather… 50/50 chance of rain. Course was harder than I thought! Road is not flat, it’s slanted so it’s harder to run. Overall I still finished strong. The swag this 2019 race is not as great compared to previous years to be honest.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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  2. Napa Valley Marathon and Half Marathon