If you’re a runner heading to Napa for wine tasting, there are several ways to get your exercise in during your trip. You can be part of informal group runs in the city of Napa, or sign up for a 5K, 10K, or Half-Marathon depending on what you’re in the mood for and/or what part of the Napa Valley you feel like running through.
Whenever you visit, you should be sure to check out Napa Running Company in downtown Napa at 942 Main Street, just south of 1st street (707-255-6688). The only running specialty store in Napa, they have a full selection of apparel for men and women as well as accessories (timers, pedometers, etc.). If it’s time for new shoes, they carry brands such as Asics, Brooks, Mizuno, Nike, and Saucony.
If you don’t need to go shopping, that’s fine. Everyone is welcome to meet in front of the store for group runs on Thursday afternoons (at 6 p.m.) and on Saturday mornings (8:30 a.m.) with Vinerunners, a Napa Valley group dedicated to friendship and the love of athletic pursuit. Meet up, take off, and have fun. While there is no parking in front of the store, there are several public parking lots nearby.
If you’re looking for something a little more organized, here are some 5K and 10K races coming up in Napa Valley in the first half of 2012 that are still taking signups (The Napa Valley Marathon, Napa Valley Trail Marathon and Half-Marathon, and Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon are all sold out):
March 12, 2012 – Yes, this is the day of the Napa Valley Marathon (sold out in December) but on the same day the Greater Kiwanis Club of Napa is holding a 5K Fun Run that is still taking applicants. This course runs through central Napa, around the Vintage High School, is fairly level with just some rolling hills at the start. All of the proceeds here go to support Kiwanis charities. Go here for more information.
March 31, 2012 – Start at a winery, end at a winery. Perfect, right? The Carneros Vineyard Run takes place at Artesa Vineyards and Winery and benefits the Carneros Volunteer Fire Department. After the run there is a pancake breakfast, raffle and wine taste at the Winery. At the Carneros Vineyard Run you can sign up for either a 10K or 5K Run/Walk through the gently rolling hills of the Los Carneros wine region. Go here for more information.
April 22, 2012 – This is the first year for the Napa Valley Silverado Half Marathon and 5K, and only 1000 entrants are allowed. At the north end of Napa Valley, this event starts in Calistoga, goes down the Silverado Trail, and then reverses back to return to Calistoga. The course here is flat, fast, and there are only two minor hills. Go here for more information.
April 28, 2012 – Started in 2011, this is the second year for the Napafit Run For Education to help support the Napa Valley Education Foundation. Runners and walkers of all ages are invited to participate in this 5K/10K Fun Run and Walk along the Napa River Trail which begins at the Napa Valley College campus and ends in downtown Napa. Strollers are allowed, and shuttle service from downtown to the starting line will be provided before the race only. After the event, Downtown Joe’s will be offering a breakfast for participants ($10 for adults, $5 for children) including scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, fruit, and juice. A portion of the breakfast purchase will be donated back to the NVEF. Go here for more information.
June 16, 2012 – Act like a salmon and run upstream “against” the runners behind you at the 2012 Napa Valley 5K/10K Salmon Run which starts and ends at the Veterans Home in Yountville. Proceeds from this day of fun, exercise and Napa Valley scenery benefit the programs of the Napa Resource Conservation District, including fisheries monitoring, habitat surveys, and community education. Both the 5K and 10K courses have some rolling hills except for the first and last 3/4 of a mile, which is a moderate incline. Go here for more information.