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RRCA National Marathon Championship Preview
MOCKO, YANKO WILL DEFEND TITLES AT NAPA VALLEY MARATHON
NAPA, Calif. — February 18, 2013 — Last year’s Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon champions Chris Mocko and Devon Yanko (née Crosby-Helms) will return to the 35th annual race to defend their titles on Sunday, March 3, 2013 the event announced today. A strong field of invited runners will head the sold-out crowd of 2,600 marathon participants who will cover the fast and scenic 26.2-mile course through the Napa Valley wine country. Only one man and one woman, however, will take home the coveted first place prize: their weight in distinguished Napa Valley wine.
In fact, both Mocko (San Francisco, Calif.) and Yanko (San Anselmo, Calif.) will attempt to ascend the winner’s podium for the third time at the Napa Valley Marathon (NVM). Mocko won the men’s race the past two years (2011 and 2012). To date, no athlete, man or woman, has won the 34-year-old race three consecutive times. The record for the most wins at NVM is held by Mary Coordt (Elk Grove, Calif.). Coordt captured the women’s crown four non-consecutive times (1997, 2005, 2009, 2010).
Yanko emerged as last year’s women’s champion after capturing the victory in 2007. In fact, Yanko’s 2012 winning time of 2 hours, 39 minutes, and 37 seconds set a women’s course record on NVM’s USA Track & Field certified (for accurate distance) course. The men’s course record of 2:16:20 was set in 1987 by (U.S.) National Distance Running Hall of Fame member Dick Beardsley.
The past year has been a busy and productive one for the 30-year-old Yanko. Following last year’s win, the accomplished marathoner and ultramarathoner (distances beyond 26.2 miles) took high honors at two of the most competitive ultramarathons in the world—placing third female at last year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans 56K followed by a fifth place at the Comrades 89K. Both events take place in South Africa. Last September, she married her boyfriend and fellow ultramarathoner, Nathan Yanko. The Yankos, who are both professional chefs, then raised more than $30,000 to open a cafe and bakery, M.H. Bread and Butter in San Anselmo, Calif.
“Opening (the cafe/bakery) takes up pretty much all of our time, right now,” Devon Yanko said just two-and-a-half weeks before race day. “About my expectations and goals (for the race), all I can say is I hope I’m able to be there to defend my title.”
Yanko has run more than 15 marathons and 30 ultramarathons since 2006. Her personal record for the marathon is 2:38:55 which she recorded at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials race in Houston, Tex.
Mocko, 27, comes into this year’s race with training and racing mileage to spare. On a whim, he entered the Coastal Trail Runs 24-Hour race, his first ultra, and spent New Year’s Eve running its approximately one mile loop course at San Francisco’s Crissey Field 120 times. He covered 127.3 miles for the win, a race record. Previously, Mocko had never covered more than 40 miles in a single run.
“My recovery from that effort has been a bit longer than for a typical marathon and I still haven’t returned to my pre-24-hour race form,” Mocko admitted. “But, the Napa Valley Marathon is the event that I look forward to the most. I have two weeks to bump up my mileage, spin my legs in a couple of workouts, and get ready for some great competition. I don’t expect a personal best, but would love to give myself a chance at the (first place) wine prize.”
Mocko recorded his marathon personal record of 2:23:40 at the 2011 San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.
1984 Olympic marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson will compete, but not in the marathon. She is entered in the companion Greater Kiwanis Club of Napa 5K on marathon morning. Benoit Samuelson turned 55 last year, and now competes in the women’s 55-59 age group. She will aim her sights on the current U.S. 5K record for age 55-59 women which is 18:32 set by Shirley Matson at the Carlsbad 5000 in 1997.
Benoit Samuelson will also be on hand for a special NVM panel presentation honoring “Women in Marathoning.” Additional panelists include female running icons/pioneers Jacqueline Hansen (1973 women’s Boston Marathon champion), Lorraine Moller (1992 Olympic Games marathon bronze medalist), and Nina Kuscsik (1972 women’s Boston Marathon champion). The panel presentation will be part of NVM’s annual Marathon College, which includes varied presentations by a faculty composed of respected running authorities and celebrity runners. The Marathon College is scheduled for Saturday, March 2nd from 10 a.m. to approximately 3 p.m. at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa. Marathon weekend includes a Sports and Fitness Expo on Friday, March 1st from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 2nd from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Marriott. Both the Marathon College and Sports and Fitness Expo are free for the general public.
The 2013 edition of NVM has been selected by the Road Runners Club of America as its National Marathon Championship.
The 2013 Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon starts on Sunday, March 3 at 7:00 a.m. sharp in Calistoga on the Silverado Trail near the intersection of Rosedale Road. The 26.2-mile road course runs the length of the beautiful Silverado Trail and finishes at Vintage High School in Napa.
Entry slots are still available for the companion Kiwanis 5K Fun Run, which starts (8 a.m.) and finishes at Vintage High School on marathon morning.
Every Napa Valley Marathon participant assists important local causes. All proceeds from the Napa Valley Marathon (a non-profit organization) are donated to local charities and schools in the Napa Valley region. In addition, an independent economic impact analysis commissioned by the marathon in 2012 estimated that the local economic impact of NVM is approximately $3 million annually in direct spending.
For more information about the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, please visit the marathon’s web site at www.napavalleymarathon.org
The Napa Valley Marathon appreciates generous sponsor support from Kaiser Permanente/Thrive, Gatorade, ASICS, Silverado Trail Wineries Association, Marathon & Beyond, Visit Napa Valley, Napa County California, Road Runners Club of America, USA Track & Field, MarathonFoto, Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa, GU, CBS 5 and The CW, XFINITY, Napa Valley Register, KVYN/99.3 The Vine, KVON 1440 AM, Napa Running Company, KCBS 740 AM/106.9 FM, Arrowhead Water, Wallaby Organic, Running USA, Hurley’s Restaurant, Southgate Mini Storage, Napa Smith Brewery.