There are about 1575 square miles in Sonoma County and if you feel like running through part of it, there are plenty of opportunities in 2012. Serious runners looking for a qualifying run for the Boston Marathon as well as casual runners just looking to improve their time and add to their T-shirt collection should check out the list below to find a place and time that works for them. Then, you can use the drop down menu above (Favorites by Wine Region, Favorites in Sonoma County) to help plan the rest of your wine tasting and dining activities.
March 17: St. Patrick’s Day Run/Walk (5K) - Wear your green at the first annual St. Patrick’s Day Run/Walk to benefit the City of Santa Rosa’s Recreation & Parks Programs and Facilities. Since it’s 3/17/2012, the race will be 3.17 miles long and after the race is an Irish Celebration complete with food, drinks and entertainment.
April 14: Annadel Park Half-Marathon and Kathy’s Race 5K – A challenging 13.1 miles in Annadel Park, highlighting the park’s spectacularly beautiful forested hills and single track trails. The course begins and ends at the swimming lagoon area of Spring lake Regional Park and is a fundraiser in support of Annadel State Park which lies between Santa Rosa and Kenwood. The 5K takes place at Spring Lake Park (next to Annadel) and is a fundraiser for Kathy’s Camp for Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the needs of children of cancer patients.
May 12: Sonoma Valley Footrace and Festival (5K, 10K) – Come enjoy a 5K run/walk or a 10K run, both winding through the beautiful grounds of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, just south of Glen Ellen. The 10K footrace takes you into the hills above Sonoma Developmental Center and the 5K footrace also winds through the grounds of the Center but is on primarily flat ground. After the race, the Festival is free and offers entertainment for all ages, including live music, children’s carnival attractions, a car show, and beer and wine tasting.
May 20: Windsor Green Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K – All three events start and end on the Windsor Town Green. The Half Marathon will have a cut off time of 3:00 hours (a 14:00/mile pace or better). The 5K and 10K are open to both runners and walkers, but will have a cut off time of 2:00 hours.
June 9: Grapes of Rock Half Marathon – The inaugural Grapes of Rock Half Marathon will take place on June 9th, 2012. Runners will traverse the gorgeous Dry Creek Valley wine country and finish at an expansive vineyard estate where a festival of local wine tastings and a major headliner rock concert await. Proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army of Santa Rosa. This is the only information available right now, details should be announced soon. (Unfortunately, this event won’t be coming together in 2012 after all…it was just postponed until 2013)
June 3: Healdsburg Fitch Mountain Footrace 3K/10K – In the Heart of Sonoma County’s Wine Country, both the 10K and 3K courses begin and end at the Historic Downtown Plaza of Healdbsurg. The course meanders through quaint neighborhoods and out around the challenging Fitch Mountain bordering the Russian River. Brought to you by the Kiwanis Club of Healdsburg.
July 4: Kenwood Footrace (10K, 3K) – The Kenwood Footrace holds the distinction as the oldest running 10K footrace in California and 2012 will be the 41st running. In addition, the event also features a USATF Certified 3K race. The 2012 registration process hasn’t kicked in yet, but if you will be in Sonoma Valley for the holiday you may want to check this out.
July 17: Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon and GunBunFunRun (5K) – The Half Marathon is sold out but they are taking sign-ups for a waiting list. On the other hand, there are a few spots remaining for the affiliated 5K. In its second year, the GunBunFunRun will begin at Gundlach Bundschu Winery and follow the last 3 miles of the half-marathon course before finishing in downtown Sonoma at the historic plaza. The event is limited to 300 runners.
August 12: Water to Wine Half Marathon (and 3 mile Alderbrook Fun Run) – The Half Marathon is a point to point event in Sonoma County starting at the Lake Sonoma Visitors Center and finishing at Alderbrook Winery in Healdsburg. A 3-mile fun run will also be offered starting and finishing at Alderbrook Winery in Healdsburg. Half Marathon runners should expect to park at the Visitors Center and take returning shuttles after the run, Fun Runners can park at Alderbook.
August 26: Santa Rosa Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K Fun Run – The marathon is a double 13.1 mile loop that starts in Juilliard Park in downtown Santa Rosa. It is a flat, fast Boston Qualified course that loops the entire scenic Prince Memorial Greenway. The unique off road paved, hard-packed flat course crosses three scenic rustic trestle bridges, horse ranches, sprawling vineyards, cornfields, dairies and a large pond with several bird habitats. The half marathon starts at the same location and completes one loop. The 5K course has not been finalized yet.
October 14: Wine Country Marathon and Healdsburg Half Marathon - Both the Marathon and Half Marathon start and finish in downtown Healdsburg. The first mile runs through the residential area of Healdsburg past 100 year old homes and quaint streets, and just outside town are miles of gently rolling roads with breathtaking views of Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley vineyards and wineries. The Marathon is a qualifying event for the Boston Marathon. The 26.2 mile marathon will have a strict cut off time (under 6:00 hours, a 14:00/mile pace or better) and the 13.1 mile half marathon will have a cut off time of 5:00 hours.
No matter when you come to Sonoma County, if you are looking for some running buddies the Empire Runners Club is the biggest running club in Sonoma County and is for anyone in the area who enjoys running in whatever form.