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Napa-to-Sonoma Half Marathon reaches the Plaza Sunday morning

The Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon, one of the most prestigious and scenic races in the country, returns to town this Sunday, July 15, for its 15th anniversary. The 13-mile-plus footrace begins at Cuvaison Estate Winery in Napa, then takes back roads and vineyard trails to come down East Napa Street to the finish line at the Sonoma Plaza.

Nearly 4,000 athletes from 48 states and 15 countries will visit the region to experience the allure of wine country and the fast course that runs through the Carneros wine appellation. Destination Races and Motiv Sports produce the flagship event as part of their popular Wine Country Half Marathon Series, with six events in North America.

The half marathon race has been sold out since December but has allowed local runners to sign up late through a “locals only” promotion with retailers in Napa and Sonoma. A shorter GunBun 5k, from Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma to the Sonoma Plaza, starts at 8:15 a.m.

Known as one of the most scenic races in the country, the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon starts at 7 a.m., and the fastest runners should arrive at the Plaza by about 8:15. That gives them plenty of time to cool down before the Wine & Music Festival begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends at noon.

The lively post-race festival features over 20 exhibitor booths, tastings from 40 of Napa and Sonoma Valley’s finest wineries, food trucks, a Lagunitas Beer Garden, charity village, event merchandise store, and the new Rejuvenation Lounge for runners.

The Buck Thrifty band will play on the Grinstead Amphitheatre stage both before and after the awards ceremony, where the prizes are presented. The top three runners in each age category will be rewarded with bottles of wine, and the top three overall share $2,000 in prize money, and receive large format bottles of wine and an engraved Fortessa bottle coaster.

During the ceremony, Destination Races will also be inducting its first two runners into the Napa-to-Sonoma Hall of Fame, to be named at the event.

The inductees are both residents of Sonoma Valley and have had prolific running careers.

“I feel so blessed to have been able to put the building blocks together for this event 15 years ago,” said Destination Races founder Matt Dockstader. “We’ve forged so many great partnerships and friendships over the years, and together we’ve all created this one-of-kind event that is known worldwide now.”

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