Overall Rating
Overall Rating (159 Reviews)
4.6
(159 Ratings)  (159 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.8
SCENERY
4.7
PRODUCTION
4.5
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 Historical Weather (Mar 02):
  2024 2023 2022 2021 2020
 
H (°F)  50  59  69  65  75
L (°F)  42  33  45  33  47
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Recent reviews

    sarahcusack FIRST-TIMER '24

    Expo: the expo was small but smooth and efficient- no lines for shirt/drop bag pickup or merch. The race shirt was a tech long sleeve- good quality. The drop bag … MORE

    Expo: the expo was small but smooth and efficient- no lines for shirt/drop bag pickup or merch. The race shirt was a tech long sleeve- good quality. The drop bag was a high quality real backpack, not the string bags you’re usually given. Excellent backpack that I’ll actually use!

    Course: This course is beautiful and fast! The scenery is incredible, you run through the vineyards for the majority of the race. The course is a net downhill and the “rolling hills” are quite gentle and manageable. The last 6 miles are flat/very slightly downhill which is great for tired legs. Only 2,000 people ran the marathon so there was plenty of room to spread out on the course without feeling congested. There are aid stations every 2 miles with port a potties, water, nuun, and later on Gu, oranges, and bananas at a couple aid stations. Highly recommend for a PR.

    Pacers: Unfortunately, this was by far the worst part of the race for me. I started the race with the 4:20 pace group and immediately, the lead pacer was running 30-45 seconds/ mile faster than we should have been going. We came through the halfway point 5 whole minutes ahead of where we should have been, at which point I fell back along with most of the other runners who were running with that pace team. The pacer kept apologizing for running too fast and saying “I’m so bad at pacing” but also never slowed down. It really ruined the back half of the race for me as I had spent way too much energy upfront. Fortunately I still beat 4:20 but I feel like the pacers should have been vetted better and actually committed to run their assigned pace.

    Transportation: shuttles are provided from the partner hotels to the start line. This was great, the shuttles left right on time and they let us stay on the bus for as long as we wanted to stay out of the rain/cold. However, shuttles on the way back were extremely delayed and I ended up getting an uber back to the hotel after the race. Many others did the same after waiting 30+ minutes for the shuttles.

    Other: this is a smaller race without many points for spectators, so crowd support feels pretty minimal especially if you’re used to bigger races. The finish medals were big and very nice. The warm soup/ bread at the finish were delicious especially as it began raining mid day and it was pretty cold.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    jblen536 REPEAT RUNNER '23

    My seventh time running Napa. Always a beautiful run with great support. As I'm getting older (70) I've become the turtle, but going slowmo gives me ample time to take … MORE

    My seventh time running Napa. Always a beautiful run with great support. As I’m getting older (70) I’ve become the turtle, but going slowmo gives me ample time to take in the scenery and antics of other runners and onlookers.
    You can’t go wrong running this race whether you’re a ‘hare’ or a ‘turtle.’ And it’s always a blessing to have your own fan club, including your grandson to lead you across the finish line!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    sacrunner916 FIRST-TIMER '23

    This was my first time running the Napa marathon, and I'll likely run it for many years to come since it's a scenic course and less than an hour from … MORE

    This was my first time running the Napa marathon, and I’ll likely run it for many years to come since it’s a scenic course and less than an hour from Sacramento. That said, the 7:30am start time for the marathon is a head-scratcher, and I do hope they develop more efficient post-race transportation, as I waited 30+ minutes for a shuttle to arrive and depart back to downtown.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    icarussyndrom87 FIRST-TIMER '23

    As far as the race goes, this was a great one. You cant beat the scenery, running along the Napa Valley vineyards as the sun is just starting to rise … MORE

    As far as the race goes, this was a great one. You cant beat the scenery, running along the Napa Valley vineyards as the sun is just starting to rise over the hills. Being in March it was still nice and cool and when the sun would hit and I could feel the warm touch on my face I couldn’t help but think “man there is nothing better than this”

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    bosenli REPEAT RUNNER '23

    Weather was colder than I expected, as well as some rain forecasted. But it was a beautiful day with changing weather but mostly nicer than forecasted. Love the bag and … MORE

    Weather was colder than I expected, as well as some rain forecasted. But it was a beautiful day with changing weather but mostly nicer than forecasted. Love the bag and shirt design. The course is wide and straight. Not hyped about the bus and restrooms settings. People lined up for the restroom even when the race was about to begin. They definitely need more.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    toddsandel REPEAT RUNNER '23

    I think the race committee needs to solve the bus clog post-race as runners are exhausted, cold and eager to get home. The bus systems was not well organized. Took … MORE

    I think the race committee needs to solve the bus clog post-race as runners are exhausted, cold and eager to get home. The bus systems was not well organized. Took us over 45 min of waiting. Also- please add more ports potties at start line. Bus arrived with 25 min to go and the potty line was 24 minutes long. No warm up.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    Johnohara FIRST-TIMER '23

    This was my first marathon, and what a beautiful and breathtaking introduction! From transportation, to fuel stations, to wonderful people along the way, to the rolling hills winding through mile … MORE

    This was my first marathon, and what a beautiful and breathtaking introduction! From transportation, to fuel stations, to wonderful people along the way, to the rolling hills winding through mile after mile of lush green hills, it was a masterpiece of a run. I was so inspired, I felt carried by the beauty of the course as I ran personal best 10K and half marathon runs on the way to the finish line.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    mckennaensley FIRST-TIMER '23

    This was my first marathon and it was a DREAM experience. I chose it because I heard it was a beautiful course and goodness, the views really made the race. … MORE

    This was my first marathon and it was a DREAM experience. I chose it because I heard it was a beautiful course and goodness, the views really made the race. Every part of the day was absolutely great. The infectious buzz on the shuttle bus over, all the happy runners at the start! The volunteers at the fuel stations were so supportive- it was hard to do anything but smile. I fully recommend this race to EVERYONE and I can’t wait to come back next year!
    I went to bed after running my first 26.2 wanting to run the Napa Valley Marathon again the very next day haha!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Ashfatt FIRST-TIMER '23

    This was my 6th marathon - I've done CIM and SF Marathon so that's what I'm comparing it to. As others have said, the scenery is beautiful but it was … MORE

    This was my 6th marathon – I’ve done CIM and SF Marathon so that’s what I’m comparing it to. As others have said, the scenery is beautiful but it was quite rural and there were long stretches w little/no spectator support. Although I didn’t find the terrain too challenging, I thought this did make the race mentally tougher than others that I’ve run. I stayed at a partner hotel and getting to the start line was really easy. Highly recommend that option if you get nervous about race morning logistics like me. Expo was kind of small but I don’t run races for the expo. Biggest issues were not enough port-o-potties at start (I waited for 20 mins and only had about 5 minutes to get to the start line and find my pace group) and my pace group leaders (3:30) weren’t carrying a sign to identify themselves so it was easy to lose track of them. I would definitely be interested in doing the half marathon next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    psbk FIRST-TIMER '23

    This was my first marathon ever so didn't know quite what to expect, but had chosen Napa due to all the reviews that said it was "great for first timers" … MORE

    This was my first marathon ever so didn’t know quite what to expect, but had chosen Napa due to all the reviews that said it was “great for first timers” and had “gently rolling hills.” Haha, I beg to differ. 🙂

    The hills might not have been severely steep incline, but they were consistent and relentless for the first half and really, to mile 20 (which was at the end of an almost two mile long uphill). The fact that the downhill stretches were longer than the uphill really put the quads to the test, which is something to keep in mind!

    I was shooting for 3:30 and the excellent pacers kept us right on schedule, but at about mile 17 I started to fall behind them a bit and sensed that I didn’t have that time in me for the day. I kept them in view and was still in good position to break 3:35 for BQ to mile 24, but each mile was slower than the last, andthe wall finally crashed down on me for the final three miles. I staggered in, pushing myself to at least keep running for that final brutal stretch — and overall feel great to have finished with a solid time and learned a LOT along the way. My greeter at the finish line was awesome, because I was definitely a bit wobbly and she kept me upright and guided me safely to post race food and water.

    In retrospect, I would advise people that despite the “net downhill” rating, they prepare by doing lots of hill training, with an emphasis on uneven surfaces, because much of the roadway slants off to the side (for drainage) and you are seldom running on a truly level surface.

    All that said, I had a great time and was grateful that the weather turned out to be as cooperative as could have been hoped given the predictions of rain.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    digitalnomad13 FIRST-TIMER '23

    I had high expectations for this marathon based on reviews and how beautiful Napa is, but was left disappointed by the production. The expo was very tiny in comparison to … MORE

    I had high expectations for this marathon based on reviews and how beautiful Napa is, but was left disappointed by the production.

    The expo was very tiny in comparison to other races and did not have many booths to purchase items and explore. Stayed there for 15 minutes max because there wasn’t much to see. Swag was fine, a dry fit long sleeve and a drawstring backpack. Nothing too special.

    Extremely difficult to access the start line unless you were staying at one of their associated hotels in Napa and planned to take the bus. The porta-potty lines were 30 people deep before the start of the race. You could check the backpack that they provided you and pick it up after the race which was a nice perk.

    The race itself was beautiful, the roads were kept cleared with the help of police presence. Not much access for spectators to come see so there were hardly any crowds or cheering along the race path. Tracking was also off so I was missed by my family at one of the few places that were accessible for people to come watch. Hydration stations were frequent and well equipped. Pacers were great and the course itself was relatively simple. The hills were very gradual and the course felt practically flat.

    The finish line was EXTREMELY disappointing for those who finished later in the race. All spectators gone, tables and booths pretty much packed up. Soup that was provided for the runners was cold and there was no other food available. Poorly labeled signage as to where to go for post-race PT and bag pickup. No wine!!! 🙁 I’ve ran in smaller halfs before and have never had such a lackluster finish line. Saying it was a bummer is a massive understatement.

    Overall— it’s a mixed bag. Coming from someone who flew in to race this, I probably would’ve gone somewhere else in hindsight. If it’s local or you plan on finishing in a good time (sub 5), I’d say go for it. It’s an easy, beautiful course, just poorly executed.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    akash303 FIRST-TIMER '23

    A great running experience on a picturesque trail, no non-sense well-organized event, good swag and food. The neighboring towns have a ton of activities to do. We leveraged Destination Marathons' … MORE

    A great running experience on a picturesque trail, no non-sense well-organized event, good swag and food. The neighboring towns have a ton of activities to do. We leveraged Destination Marathons’ services, which was an amazing experience in its own. Highly recommended event for anyone, especially first-timers.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
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    vikas.ait FIRST-TIMER '23

    The race course was amazing ans very well managed. Loved how on time the overall event was. The swag was great. It could have been a bit more manager for … MORE

    The race course was amazing ans very well managed. Loved how on time the overall event was. The swag was great. It could have been a bit more manager for marathon runners who were starting from way back. Will come back again next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    katloberg REPEAT RUNNER '23

    Lots of curves on the course, so make sure you run the tangents well else you’ll end up much longer than 26.2. Last 5 miles is a very gentile downhill … MORE

    Lots of curves on the course, so make sure you run the tangents well else you’ll end up much longer than 26.2. Last 5 miles is a very gentile downhill into the finish line. Entire courses is graded slightly so make sure your stabilizer muscles are strong by running on uneven surfaces during training.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    valsyourpal FIRST-TIMER '23

    This is an amazing event, from the expo to the run to the post run soup/refreshments. Race weekend kicks off with a great expo, amazing wine and some great swag … MORE

    This is an amazing event, from the expo to the run to the post run soup/refreshments. Race weekend kicks off with a great expo, amazing wine and some great swag purchase options. The course is a nice, easy & beautiful route. The medals & technical shirts are a great win to take home after the race. Will definitely be back!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    A net downhill course with some undulating, terrain that makes it feel hilly, unpredictable, weather, and great views. The staff were so friendly and the support was amazing. MORE

    A net downhill course with some undulating, terrain that makes it feel hilly, unpredictable, weather, and great views. The staff were so friendly and the support was amazing.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    robrien0215 FIRST-TIMER '23

    Ever since I started the goal of running a half in every state, I always knew Napa would be my California race. I got a great deal on airfare so … MORE

    Ever since I started the goal of running a half in every state, I always knew Napa would be my California race.
    I got a great deal on airfare so stars aligned and made this a reality.
    At first, I was pretty unsure of this race. Arriving at packet pick up, there was no parking. Finally getting into the expo, there was really no clear direction where to go. You first got your bib then what…I had to find the bag and shirt. There was a wine tasting which is great, however, that left a lot of people standing around that you had to navigate through. They did have some vendors and other races there. I did leave quickly as it was quite chaotic without a natural flow or kind of anyone telling you the stations to stop at.
    Race morning, opted to park at Justin Siena high school and take the shuttle to the start line. I stayed in Fairfield (about 20 mins away) versus staying in ultra expensive Napa. The parking lot was dark and littered with runners. It was super dark as it was rainy so had to be ultra careful. Again, a bit disorganized and chaotic.
    Got on the shuttle which wanted to drop runners off 90 minutes before the race started. It was cold and downpouring. Thankfully, my bus driver was the only one to allow runners to stay on the bus.
    When I finally got off the shuttle (10 minutes to start), waited in line for the port a potties starting the race late. There was not nearly enough for the amount of runners.
    Once I got going, the course is absolutely stunning! It was amazing to run by so many vineyards that I recognized the names of. There was periods of sunshine but mostly rain and even hailed a good chunk of the race.
    At the finish line, unfortunately, a man had gone into cardiac arrest so we were quickly rushed out of the finisher chute.
    The race is not flat-more rolling hills. Miles 6-9 felt like a gentle incline. It is an easy course to run. I ran the entire thing and normally I am one to walk through the aid stations. There were aid stations about every 3 miles with water and noom. They also had foil blankets to keep you warm as we were all wet from the rain/hail.
    The medal is very cute, the bag they give you is heavy duty canvas-probably the best I have ever received. The shirt is also cute with a long sleeved women’s style.
    There was soup and some small snacks at the finish line.
    Again, the shuttle situation was chaotic and it started to hail again. When you got back to the high school, chaotic again as now the school was having an event so parents and kids everywhere and people searching for parking spots.
    Overall, if they can smooth out the expo and parking situation, this race would be close to perfection. The scenery makes up for every bit of chaos. Such a great pick for California!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    cc1emon REPEAT RUNNER '23

    I ran the full marathon as my first marathon in 2022. I love it so much and I came back with 6 others to do the half. Multiple partner hotels … MORE

    I ran the full marathon as my first marathon in 2022. I love it so much and I came back with 6 others to do the half. Multiple partner hotels to suit your budget, all with shuttles to/from start/finish. The course is flat, fast with beautiful wild flowers and vineyard along the way. Plenty of aid stations with water, electrolytes, and fruits; also more than one first aid stations. Bib pickup was smooth with complementary wine (although I’d prefer wine after the race) and free swags like gloves and sunblock. Post race food include the usual bottled water, banana & bars, but also hot soup & dinner rolls. There were a few give away tents with de-alcoholized beer, sparkling water and kombucha. I didn’t try it but saw several physical therapy stations post race. Highly recommended, will run again!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    haley.prout REPEAT RUNNER '23

    Mostly flat/downhill course, beautiful scenery, excellent race production (well organized busing to the start, great gear check protocols, easy bib pick-up), nice swag (nice tshirts and bags). Only downsides: the … MORE

    Mostly flat/downhill course, beautiful scenery, excellent race production (well organized busing to the start, great gear check protocols, easy bib pick-up), nice swag (nice tshirts and bags). Only downsides: the course was a little quiet (no real crowds), the expo was also a little light, and post race food was light. Overall smaller than I expected – no start waves – which was actually great for logistics! Would highly recommend!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    caligirl95120 REPEAT RUNNER '23

    This race is beautiful and mostly flat and runs a pretty straight line south into Napa. The weather was a little dicey, much colder than usual for Northern California (visible … MORE

    This race is beautiful and mostly flat and runs a pretty straight line south into Napa. The weather was a little dicey, much colder than usual for Northern California (visible snow from the start line!), and it rained and hailed for part of the race but overall comfortable weather conditions.

    The 2 hour pacer did not show up until 2 minutes before gun time and there was only one whereas there were 2-3 other pacers for other pace times.

    The expo is well laid out and not overwhelming, with easy parking, and the race sold prior years gear for cheaper than anything I’ve seen at a race expo before.

    Minimal crowds on course but a fun robust finish area with hot soup and plenty of space to sit down and warm up, plus regular shuttles back to downtown Napa and the partner hotels.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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  1. Races
  2. Napa Valley Marathon and Half Marathon