There are more than 200 miles of streets in Napa. And by the time Shari Costanzo is done, she will have covered all of them, and then some.
Costanzo, a local runner and elementary school teacher, is in the middle of a quest to run every street in Napa.
“It’s fun,” said Costanzo. “I like to take on challenges; things I know that are going to be hard to do.”
When a friend passed on the idea after reading about another runner running every street in his or her city, “I said, ‘I’m doing it.’”
Costanzo is already running – a lot. For the past five years, she’s made it her mission to run “the year.”
In other words, in 2017 she ran 2,017 miles and in 2018, she ran 2,018. This year, she’s on track for 2,019 miles.
She also runs marathons. In fact, twice Costanzo has been the fastest female from Napa to cross the finish line at the Napa Valley Marathon.
“I wanted to show my students and daughters” to try hard things and do your best, Costanzo said.
Costanzo also happens to be in the middle of her own personal running streak – for 439 days and counting, Costanzo has run at least one mile per day. This 44-year-old mother of two typically runs about 40 miles a week, more if she’s marathon training.
However, because she is running so much, “I was ready for a new challenge,” Costanzo said of her run-every-street-in-town project.
“I thought this was a good way to switch up my routes and see places I usually don’t get to see.”
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Costanzo said she thought she’d seen most of Napa, but she realized there’s a lot she hasn’t.
“As I run each street and court and side street,” she’s discovering fun surprises like community gardens, little free libraries and small parks. “I love seeing all that stuff,” she said. “The community gardens are my favorite.”
Running every street “is a great way to connect with people,” she said.
Costanzo, whose family is friends with the Alaina Housley family of Napa, also wears rubber “Alainasvoice.org” bracelets while she runs. In November 2018, Housley was killed in a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks.
During her runs, Costanzo hands out the Alaina’s Voice wristbands to people she meets along the way to remember Alaina and promote kindness, she said. Sometimes she also leaves packets of seeds in the mailboxes of her friends or people she knows along a particular route.
Costanzo started her “run this city” goal in April. Her first run began on Orchard Avenue in North Napa. From there, she’s working her way south. She rarely runs alone, said Costanzo. Other runner friends usually join her, she said. Sometimes she even “saves” a certain neighborhood to run with friends who live in that area.
Each run ends up being about 10 miles, said Costanzo. She explained that Napa has about 200 miles of streets but because she’s running in and out of courts and dead end streets, she thinks she’ll end up running more like 500 miles total by the time she’s done. That should be around December, Costanzo estimated.
In between runs, Costanzo has her hands full. This year, the Napan teaches a combination kindergarten-1st grade class at Vichy Elementary School. She joked that sometimes her students call her the marathon running teacher or the fastest woman in Napa. Costanzo is also the co-coach of the Vintage High School cross country team.
She plans to end her quest by running down George Street (near Napa High School) because one of her grandfathers was named George. Her final stop should be by city hall, because her other grandfather was once on the Napa city council. His name, Robert Dalton, is listed on a plaque at city hall, she noted.
To keep track of her miles, Costanzo bought a large printed Napa city street map and has begun marking where’s she’s been with a pen. She also runs with two GPS watches (in case one watch fails) that track her routes. Marking off the streets on the map after she runs is particularly satisfying. “I can’t wait till it’s all colored.”
Costanzo said since she began her “run every street” goal, another friend has also decided to do the same.
“When people get excited about running, it does make me feel good,” she said. “It’s always a good day to run.”