Frank Corrigan learned all about the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon from Chris Mocko.
They are teammates with New Balance Silicon Valley and traveled together in December to Lexington, Ky., for the USA Track and Field Club Cross Country Championships at Masterson Station Park. It was during that trip that Mocko spoke so highly of the Napa Valley Marathon, a 26.2-mile race from Calistoga to Napa along the Silverado Trail.
Mocko won last year’s race, breaking the finish line tape at Vintage High School in 2 hours, 24 minutes, and 38 seconds. Mocko shared his experiences of winning the NVM with Corrigan.
“He said, ‘If you want a marathon in early March, you should come run with us in Napa Valley,’” Corrigan said Tuesday. “I looked at the website and I thought it was a great looking race and decided I might as well go out there with those guys and try it.
“Running for a team, it gives you a little more support and a little more encouragement to get out there and do it.”
Mocko’s familiarity of the course, and his training on the hills of San Francisco, gave him the edge for victory. The temperature at the early-morning start was 39 degrees, making for ideal conditions.
Corrigan, who makes his home in the Contra Costa County town of Port Costa, has only run two marathons in his lifetime. The first was in 2010 at the California International Marathon, when he placed 17th in a personal record time of 2:24:50. He was 27th at the ING New York City Marathon in 2011, clocking 2:25:33.
He is one of the elite runners in a sold-out field of 2,600 for the March 3 Napa Valley Marathon, which follows a rolling point to point course starting at 7 a.m. from Rosedale Road and the Silverado Trail in Calistoga. The course and race are certified and sanctioned by USA Track and Field. The race is a qualifier for the 2014 Boston Marathon.
This year’s marathon will serve as the Road Runners Club of America National Marathon Championship Race. Men’s and women’s overall winners will receive their weight in wine from the sponsoring Silverado Trail Wineries Association and each finisher in the race gets a medal. Kaiser Permanente is the presenting sponsor.
“(Mocko) started out by saying it’s a great course and the race directors run the race really nicely,” said Corrigan. “As far as race logistics, there will still be guys running low 2:20s, it will still be quick. You go out at CIM or you go out at New York City, there’s just so many people, you’re not sure what’s going on for the first five miles and it can get a little overcrowded and overwhelming.
“To me, it seemed like it was a great marathon where a 2:20 guy can be right in the mix of winning it.”
Corrigan finished 124th at the USA Track and Field Club Cross Country Championships, a 10K race. He works as a project manager for financial services software and has taught economics in college.
Corrigan finished 11th at third annual Bay Area Cross Challenge, hosted by the Bay Area Track Club, at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco last month.
His goal for next month’s NVM is a time in the 2:22 range. A time that fast could give Corrigan, 28, the title.
“I would like to win a marathon,” he said. “That’s definitely one of the reasons I like being in this. The race is kind of that size where I can be in the mix to win, which would really be nice.”
Corrigan ran in college at Iona and was on the Gaels’ cross country team that finished fourth at the NCAA Division I Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., in 2005. Corrigan, who graduated in 2006 with a degree in economics, ran the mile and 3,000-meter steeplechase in track. He is from Long Island, N.Y., and attended Northport High School.
Corrigan is pleased with the training he has put in so far as preparation for the 35th annual MVM. He goes for a long run each Sunday as a way to adjust to a certain pace of over two hours.
“If I can do that a few consecutive weeks in a row, I always feel like I’m ready to go out and race.”
This year’s NVM theme is honoring women in marathoning. The “Emergence of Women in Marathoning” will be the keynote presentation for the marathon college on March 2 at the Napa Valley Marriott. A special presentation on the subject of women pioneers in the sport will highlight the day-long marathon college.
Joan Benoit-Samuelson will be among the panel of female pioneers that also includes Jacqueline Hansen, Nina Kuscsik and Lorraine Moller.
All proceeds from the NVM (a non-profit organization) are donated to local charities in the Napa Valley.
Further information is available at www.napa
valleymarathon.org or by calling 255-2609.