Bauer selected the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon (KP-NVM) as his debut at the marathon distance after watching his wife compete in last year’s race and qualify for this year’s Boston Marathon. Previously, he had competed in half marathons and other shorter distances, including track and cross country as a collegian, and in triathlons. Early in the race he ran conservatively in a pack of four men which passed through the 5K point in 16:37. By halfway, eventual third placer Grayson Hough (age 26, Davis, Calif.) had a one-minute lead, hitting the 13.1-mile split on the rolling, 26.2-mile point-to-point course that starts in Calistoga and finishes in Napa in about 1:11:03.
Towards the end of the race it became a two-man contest as Bauer and Justin Hall (31, Palo Alto, Calif.) battled for the victory with Hall eventually taking the runner-up spot in 2:24:08, just four seconds behind the winner. Hough was third in 2:28:03.
“Never having run a full marathon, I ran a couple of 23-mile training runs in preparation for this race,” Bauer recounted about his preparations for his KP-NVM win. “Past mile 20 I just said ‘OK, here we go. Let’s do it.’ I tightened up a little bit and started cramping in my hamstrings and quads at mile 21 or 22. I eventually just tried to settle myself down, concentrate on my stride, loosen up and try to get to the finish.”
Aaron Gassner (41, Durham, Ore.) secured the Masters (age 40 and over) win in 2:46:44, finishing eighth overall.
In the women’s race, three-time KP-NVM female champion Devon Yanko was favored to walk away with her fourth win, particularly since she owns the women’s KP-NVM course record of 2:39:37 which she set in 2012. Yanko led this year’s contest after 4 miles, and recorded a split time of 1:24:27 at halfway. Around 14 miles, however, she dropped out of the race, leaving the door open for debut marathoner and eventual winner Casey Crosson, and others.
“At that point I was just in shock,” said Crosson who found herself in first place. “I didn’t expect it to last very long. My goal was just to finish without walking. I expected to get passed pretty quickly and I decided to just keep chugging along.”
Crosson, a college freshman at Vanderbilt whose hometown is Los Angeles, trains alone. Her longest race to date was 5K, but she put in a 20-mile training run before lining up at KP-NVM.
“I just said ‘whatever is going to happen in the last six miles today is just going to happen.’ I’m glad I didn’t completely hit the wall,” she said.
Sarah Hallas (38, Cotati, Calif.) finished second in 2:51:01, 11 seconds behind Crosson. It was Hallas’ 32nd marathon. Kristen Zaitz (37, Brookfield, Colo.), who is a three-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier with a marathon personal record of 2:32:38, finished third in 2:55:12.
Dan Quatrochi (41, Boulder, Colo.) was the women’s Masters victor in 3:06:56.
The Napa Valley Marathon’s scenic point-to-point, USA Track and Field certified course (for accurate distance) through the Napa Valley wine growing country hasn’t changed in the event’s 40-year history.
In the accompanying Greater Kiwanis Club of Napa 5K Run, Kevin Fagan (age 51, Berkeley, Calif.) topped the men in 17:25 and Madison Denny (age 14, Fairfield, Calif.) led the women in 19:07. Featured guest Joan Benoit-Samuelson (age 60, Freeport, Maine), the gold medalist in the first women’s Olympic Games marathon held in Los Angeles race in 1984, finished in third place in 20:24.
All proceeds from the Napa Valley Marathon (a non-profit organization) are donated to local charities in the Napa Valley.
Full race results for the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon will be available on the event’s web site at www.napavalleymarathon.org.
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For more information about the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, please visit the marathon’s web site at www.napavalleymarathon.org.
The Napa Valley Marathon appreciates generous sponsor support from Kaiser Permanente/Thrive, Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa, Legendary Napa Valley, Road Runners Club of America, Whole Foods Market, Gatorade Endurance, MarathonFoto, Napa Running Company, Running USA, USA Track & Field, KCBS AM and FM Radio, KPIX CBS5, KBCW 44 Cable 12, XFINITY, KVON 1440 AM, KVYN/99.3 The Vine, Wallaby Organic, Napa Smith Brewery, California Half and Full Marathon Series, and NakedWines.com.