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Cool Victors at 2018 Napa Valley Marathon

Casey Crosson - Napa Valley Marathon 2018

NAPA, Calif. — March 4, 2018 — The 40th anniversary of the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon presented perfect conditions for racing 26.2 miles through California’s picturesque Napa Valley.

Bauer and Crosson Victors at 2018 Napa Valley Marathon

Cool temperatures at the start in the mid-30s with little wind greeted over 2,100 entrants eager for fast times. Andrew Bauer, 34, of Martinez, Calif. ran way with the men’s overall victory while Casey Crosson, 19, of Los Angeles, Calif. earned the women’s title. Bauer crossed the finish line at Vintage High School in Napa with a time of 2 hours, 24 minutes, and 4 seconds. Crosson secured her win in 2:50:49.

Both winners earned titles as 2018 Road Runners Club of America National Marathon Champions and were awarded their “weight-in-wine” donated by Nineteen-year-old Crosson will receive her wine when she reaches age 21.

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.

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