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Alemayehu Shatters Course Record

Tesfaye Alemayehu

Tesfaye Alemayehu

SONOMA, Calif. – (July 15, 2012) – Tesfaye Alemayehu of Antioch, CA and Ethiopia grabbed the lead of the 9th Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on Butt-Burner Hill and never looked back on Sunday morning. In winning the race for the third consecutive year, Alemayehe, 28, bested his own course record (1:03:58 set in 2010) by more than a minute with a blistering 1 hour, 2 minute, 38 second run. The Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon winner Christian Hesch of Hollywood, CA repeated his 2011 result by finishing second in 1:07:13, while Kota Reichert of Alameda, CA took third (1:07:26).

“I am very glad. It was a good run,” beamed Alemayehu moments after crossing the line. “I expected to beat my record, but I didn’t think I could run that fast a time. I really expected to be over 63 minutes but the weather was very good for running.”

Julia Stamps Mallon of Santa Rosa, 33, who also won in 2009, clocked a winning time of 1:18:13, more than 2 minutes ahead of runner-up Lisbet Sunshine, age 48, of San Francisco, and Cedar Smith from Eureka, CA. Sunshine and Smith crossed within seconds of each other.

The 13.1-mile race started amongst the vineyards of Napa’s Cuvaison Winery, wound through the scenic Carneros region, before turning up Broadway Avenue and ending on Sonoma’s historic plaza at City Hall. A wine festival, live music, an awards ceremony and many other activities followed the race for runners and spectators.

Halfway around the world, United States soldiers stationed in Afghanistan staged a “shadow” race to mirror the Napa-to-Sonoma race. Task Force Mad Dog soldiers ran a 13.1-mile half-marathon simultaneously, with soldiers from several states participating. Men’s honors went to Anania Lukwata 1:06:06, while Captain Bridget Robshaw led the women with a 1:50:28. The American flag that flew over the base in Afghanistan was brought to Sonoma to fly above the finish line before an estimated 10,000 runners, supporters and fans at the Sonoma Plaza, many of whom signed a finish banner to be shipped to the soldiers.

A portion of the proceeds from the Napa-to-Sonoma Half Marathon goes to local charities such as Hanna Boys Center, Community Action Napa Valley, Native Sons of the Golden West, Sonoma Unified School District and others.

The Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, Presented by Subaru, is part of a 5-race wine country marathon series produced by Destination Races. Others in the series are the Oregon, Healdsburg Santa Barbara, and Virginia Wine Country Half Marathons. For more information on the series, visit:

9th Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon
Napa-to-Sonoma, CA, Sunday, July 15, 2012

1) Tesfaye Alemyehu (ETH), 1:02:38*, $1000# plus 3L bottle of wine & Riedel Decanter Trophy
2) Christian Hesch (USA / CA), 1:07:13, $300 plus magnum of wine
3) Kota Reichert (USA / CA), 1:07:26, $200 plus magnum of wine
*course record (previous record, 1:03:58, Tesfaye Alemyehu (ETH), 2010)
#includes $500 for course record

1) Julia Stamps Mallon (CA), 1:18:13, $500 plus 3L bottle of wine & Riedel Decanter Trophy
2) Lisbet Sunshine, 48, CA, 1:20:21, $300 plus magnum of wine
3) Cedar Smith (CA), 1:20:28, $200 plus magnum of wine