'It's a little warmer than usual': 3,000 runners brave the heat for Sonoma half-marathon

This weekend, 3,000 runners took to the streets of Sonoma and Napa to participate in the 19th annual Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon and Rosé 5K. 

The sold-out event featured two days of races with the Rosé 5k taking place on Saturday, July 15, and the half-marathon running from Napa to Sonoma on Sunday. The competitions came as California experienced extreme heat.

"We’ve told runners, ‘don't over-exert yourself,’ said race organizer Dan Cruz. "Runners should listen to their body and slow down if they are feeling warm. We’ve got hydration stations all along the race route." 

Named one of the most scenic half-marathons in the country by Forbes, Sunday’s 13.1-mile event started under a hot-air balloon at Cuvaison Winery, just off Highway 121. Runners raced by vistas of the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area and a number of rustic farms and estates along the route. The final mile took participants straight down Broadway, past Sonoma’s historical landmarks.

The first runner to cross the finish line was 20-year-old Nolan Hosbein from Petaluma. He told KTVU the heat was no joke.

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"It was a pretty tough race," he said. "It was hard in the middle, but it felt really great to cross the finish line."

Coming in second was Grant Grafentin from Bend, Oregon.

"I’ve been monitoring the California for the past 10 days," he said. "It’s a little warmer out here than it is usually, but hydration is key. I mean, honestly, it’s the hydration the night before and the morning of. That way it gets you to be in the right spot for the race."

Sunday’s half-marathon ended with the post-race wine festival featuring tastings from both Napa and Sonoma Valley wineries.