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KAISER PERMANENTE NAPA VALLEY MARATHON RACE DIRECTOR RICH BENYO SELECTED “RACE DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR” BY THE PORTLAND MARATHON EVENT DIRECTORS' COMMITTEE

October 15, 2012 - NAPA, CA - Richard Benyo was appointed to the board of directors of the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon in 1986 and became President of the Board and Co-Race Director in the early 1990s when he made the mistake of missing a meeting. Benyo was voted “Race Director of the Year” this month in Portland, by the Portland Marathon Event Director’s Committee, a professional committee of race directors that have convened annually in The Rose City for more than 20 years.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for your efforts by a committee of your peers, but this is an honor shared by our unique marathon board of directors,” Benyo said. “We have a dozen hard-working board members who come to a consensus on what works best to make the race better for the runners. We are also supported by a vast network of more than 1000 local volunteers who make race weekend click. This honors their hard work; on race weekend, I just stand around and watch things happen.”

Among the other successes for the Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, Benyo has overseen with Co-Race Director David Hill, the marathon was named one of the Top Ten Marathons in the World worth traveling for by three international travel websites: Forbes Travel, American Express Departures.com and MSNBC.com/Travel; as well as among the Top Ten Marathons for First Time Marathoners by Michelle Hamilton of Runners World for MSN.com, all in 2012!

In 1998, Benyo created the Marathon College (held on the Saturday of race weekend, run concurrently with the sports and fitness expo at the Marriott and open to the public; this year’s theme: “The History of Women in Marathoning”), applied for and received the RRCA National Championships designation for the race (which Napa held for a dozen years and which they have again acquired this year), and several years ago inaugurated the marathon’s scholarship program benefiting graduating seniors from each of the five Valley high schools, which has been expanded to include American Canyon’s first graduating class next June. Benyo was the executive editor of Runner’s World Magazine and is currently the editor of Marathon & Beyond Magazine. He has written more than 20 books, many of them on running (the latest Timeless Running Wisdom:  Human Kinetics, 2010). For the past 22 years he has lived in Forestville, a 50-mile commute from neighboring Sonoma Co.’s vineyards to NVM board meetings. Benyo’s legacy for marathon running in the Napa Valley continues to grow in stature like the legendary vineyards through which it is run.


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