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Napa Valley Trail Marathon–is it for beginners?

August 5, 2015
Napa Valley Trail Marathon

I decided right after the Christmas season to do my first marathon. I run all the time–I’ve been an  athlete most my life–why haven’t I ever done a Marathon? So, I set up a 10K Training program on my Nike running App and started browsing for Northern California Spring Marathons. The closest one to my location and one of the earliest in the Spring (March 21st) was the Napa Valley Trail Marathon by Enviro Sports at the Both Napa State Park.napa valley trail marathon starting line     There’s the option of doing the Marathon, Half-Marathon and the 10K. I chose the 10K since this was my first–and I am so happy that I did! Here is a great tip if you are going to be doing a Trail Marathon in the future–check the ELEVATION! Just a minor detail that I completely left out of my training–haha! I trained only climbing about 400ft at times and this trail was a whopping 1,000 ft. of elevation–and boy did I feel it on the climb to the top!Napa Valley Trail Marathon Starting Line      I was one of the first people to register for this Marathon, so I was a little surprised when I didn’t get my racing Bib in the mail. I was hoping to get it before hand since I had over an hour drive in the morning. I even emailed Enviro sports about the bib and they said just pick it up on the morning of the race. So, I got their pretty early and was lucky enough to find parking inside of the park ($8). I made my way through the crowd to the bib table and let the person know that I never got my Bib in the mail. She then asked me for a photo ID–I said I didn’t have it on me. Who carries an ID in your running gear-plus I never saw anything on the website about bringing an ID. The associate didn’t say anything in the E-mail either about bringing an ID to get my bib. The lady looked back at me and said “you will have to wait” and she  waited for an associate to talk to about my “situation.” Haha–I loved the long awaited response, the other associate looked back at her and said “so what! give her a bib!” It made me laugh–I did google this later and found out that people do what’s called “Running Bandit” (running a race without paying). I don’t get it–why? just why?
Napa Valley Trail Marathon Starting Line     I want to emphasis that this is not a race for a beginner, the elderly or people with troublesome knee’s and ankles. You will be running by edges of cliffs, on huge rocks and by poison oak. In the beginning of the race the Annoucer said that we would be walking at times on this trail–I thought to myself–yea right!–walking? Nope! I’ve been training! and guess what–when it was time to climb over huge boulders and over and under tree’s that were down in the path I was walking–Haha! Seriously though-people were getting hurt. I passed many people being helped down the trail with ice on their ankles and knee’s or being driven on the Mule back to the entrance.Napa Valley Trail Marathon Starting Line        You can’t beat the scenery of this marathon–I was making mental notes in my head while running about where to go when I came back! It was Stunning! The View at the top was just gorgeous!Napa Valley Trail Marathon Starting Line      The trail was marked off by orange tape and we were advised to follow the tape and not the runner in front of us as this park has many different Trails! After I reached the top I got my second wind and got back to my normal pace to finish the 10K. This was my first Marathon ever–if this is going to be your first Marathon be aware that you need to run through the “chute” as they were screaming it at me towards the finish line. The “chute” is a tiny little path marked off by tape by a tent on the left. When I was running towards the finish line–it was confusing and having a bunch of people yell at you just when you are about to finish your marathon is less then appealing. Hey enviro Sports–while you are making us all stand there in the beginning of the race listening to the announcer–maybe you should just mention that little minor detail. –Just saying.Napa Valley Trail Marathon Starting Line     My Quick Take: This is not a Marathon for Beginner, the elderly or people with weak ankles or knee’s. The elevation is over 1,000 ft and the boulders and tree’s down in the path can make it very difficult for people who have troublesome ankles and knee’s. For the most part Envior Sports was lovely–I can’t judge the whole crew on a couple of strange experiences with some of the associates–and I would sign up with Enviro Sports again.

  Tip-bring a light cover up that is easy to strip off during the race and tie around your waist–i don’t get the whole stripping off layers and leaving them on the trail for people to dodge or the volunteers to pick up. I chose to wear pants incase I brushed up against Poison Oak. This is a marathon that I would do again but I would up the ante on my elevation training!

I paid $60 to enter–if you register before Nov. 30th it’s $40.–for the 10K.

For a Map Click here.

I understand their no headphone policy even more now–you need to hear other runners when going by the steep drop offs!

Have you done this Marathon? Let me know your training tips in the Comments!

Happy Running!



Goldie James

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