Michelle La Sala


Cool late-spring conditions greeted a sell-out field at the 42nd Annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, Half Marathon and Kiwanis Club of Greater Napa 5K.  With over 5000 runners registered between three race distances, 2020 marked the largest NVM field ever.  Runners in the Marathon and Half Marathon enjoyed a slight tailwind at times along the scenic point-to-point routes, passing over thirty wineries and finishing at Napa’s Vintage High School.

Race weekend kicked off with Saturday’s Race Expo at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa.  Saturday featured a full schedule of events, including a group shake out run, cooking demonstration with Chef John McConnell of Clif Family Winery, and free beer, wine and Kombucha tastings.  Invited guests Catt Sadler, Olympian Emma Coburn, and Elizabeth De Louise Gant were featured in this year’s Women’s Leadership Panel, which focused on the keys to success.

The 2020 race featured runners from 21 countries and 47 states plus Washington, D.C.  A late influx of close to two hundred domestic and international runners came to the Napa Valley after the cancellation of the Tokyo Marathon, which was scheduled to take place on the same day but was held only for the elite field and wheelchair athletes.  These additional athletes pushed an official race sell out of all race distances.

“We want to grow this race responsibly and carefully in an effort to continue to give runners the reliable experience they have come to know and expect from the Napa Valley Marathon,” remarked Michelle La Sala, Race Director and President of Blistering Pace Race Management.  “2020 pushed us to accept a record number of entrants and we are comfortable sticking to those numbers for the foreseeable future.  BPRM along with the NVM board of directors want to continue to deliver a sound race both operationally and experientially.”

Jim Cotter, President of the Board of Directors, remarked he was “very pleased that the addition of the half marathon has made the race accessible to far more distance runners.  The additional numbers allow the board to distribute more funds to youth scholarships, schools and Napa County’s non-profit agencies.”  As a 501c3, the mission of the Napa Valley Marathon is to support and give back to the local community in numerous ways including financially.

The 43rd Annual Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon and Half Marathon will take place on Sunday, March 7, 2021.  Registration for 2021 will open on June 1.  For more information, please visit


About Blistering Pace Race Management: Founded in 2016, BPRM works in a variety of race management capacities, ranging from staffing to full operational oversight. Clients include the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon (10K & 5K), the Napa Valley Marathon and Half Marathon, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and the TCS New York City Marathon. For more information, visit