Ethiopian Alemayahu defends Napa-to-Sonoma Half Marathon title
Kirui shatters women's record, Litzenberg top Valley finisher
Caroline Kirui, a 20-year-old runner from Kenya, shattered the woman’s course record as the top woman finisher at Sunday's Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon.
If you thought you were watching a replay of last year’s finish of the annual Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, well, you were half right, because you did see the same winner, but it was this year’s eighth edition of the popular midsummer event, which took place Sunday.
It was again a day dominated by world-class African runners as Ethiopia's Tesfaye Sendeku Alemayahu successfully defended his Wine Country Half Marathon title by edging Christian Hesch of Hollywood, and former Napa-to-Sonoma half-marathon champion Sergio Reyes of Palmdale.
Alemayahu, who last year broke the course record by nearly a minute with a time of 1 hour, 3.58 seconds, won this year’s race in 1:04:37, followed by Hesch’s second-place 1:04:52:3 and Reyes’ third-place 1:04:53:3.
The top Wine Country Half Marathon women’s finisher was Caroline Kirui, a 20-year-old runner from Kenya currently living in Auburn, who shattered the women's course record by more than two minutes in a dazzling time of 1:15:45, with Julia Stamps Mallon being the second top woman finisher in 1:18:27. Mallon was a state-champion high school runner from Santa Rosa and an All-American at Stanford.
The Valley's top finisher was, again, Glen Ellen's John Litzenberg, who was a repeat overall 12th-place finisher and winner of his 40-to-44-year-old age group with a time of 1:15.16.
Organized by Destination Races of Sonoma, and part of the United States Half Marathon Race Series, the Wine Country Half Marathon course begins at Cuvaison Carneros Estate winery in Napa, with the scenic 13.1-mile certified course winding its way into the Valley and ending in front of the Sonoma City Hall on the Plaza.