If too-beautiful-to-be-true scenery, full-bodied wine and farm-fresh food are your thing—i.e., if you’re a runner with a pulse—you’ll be intoxicated by the earthly delights of this Northern California race.
What pairs better with a 26.2-mile run than breathtaking scenery and world-class cabernet? As long as you leave the latter for the post-race party, it’s a recipe for a fabulous weekend—and one that the Napa Valley Marathon (napavalleymarathon.org) offers runners every March. A patchwork of emerald green fields and dormant vineyards dotted gold with mustard flowers lines rural roads along the beautiful point-to-point course. In an area known for luxurious accommodations, this marathon gifts each participant a nish-line massage and a duffel bag stuffed with swag.
The marathon course is paved and flat, so if you’re looking for a change of pace, visit Skyline Wilderness Park (skylinepark.org). As the name suggests, this state park offers steep climbs on pat-dirt trails. Prefer to stay off hills entirely? The Napa River Trail (napachamber.com) near Kennedy Park provides a at, mellow running route that snakes along the water.
Forgot your favorite sports bra? Don’t fret. Head to the Napa Running Company (naparunningcompany.com) to enjoy superior service in a lovely little shop. Aside from shoes, apparel and accessories, this mainstay of downtown hosts bi-weekly group runs. If you’re in the market for a tasty memento, head to Oxbow Public Market (oxbowpublicmarket.com), where local merchants sell artisanal charcuterie, blended olive oils, freshly baked cupcakes and more.
When you travel for a race, comfort is key. Since you can’t be in your own home, why not sleep in someone else’s? Owned by a local chef, The Inn on First (theinnonfirst.com) offers delectable daily breakfast along with cozy rooms, perfect for a romantic weekend with your favorite running partner. The Beazley House (beazleyhouse.com), the first bed and breakfast in Napa, keeps tradition intact with fresh linens and lush gardens.
Refuel post-race—or settle your stomach after a day of wine tasting—at Kitchen Door (kitchendoornapa.com). Glowing wood res roast crispy flatbreads piled high with the freshest meats and veggies. Plus, the communal table is perfect for racers traveling solo. If you’re in the market for a classic wine country experience, take a drive to nearby Yountville and dine at Ad Hoc Restaurant (adhocrestaurant.com), a prix fixe-style restaurant from acclaimed chef Thomas Keller. ■