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Fresno Kid CJ Albertson rallies to take California International Marathon title in Sacramento

CJ Albertson of Fresno came from behind and Kenyan runner Grace Kahura logged a personal best, each defeating a deep, fast field Sunday to win the 40th annual California International Marathon in Sacramento. The course, unchanged in its 40-year history, a Boston Marathon and U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier dubbed by marathon watchers as the fastest in the West, did not disappoint.

More than 9,600 runners took to the 26-mile downhill course from Folsom to the streets of downtown Sacramento on a cool, dry day under ideal conditions. But it was Fresno’s Albertson, 30, and Kahura, 30, of Longmont, Colorado, who emerged victorious.

Albertson clocked in at 2:11:09, flirting with CIM course record territory; followed by Milton Rotich, of Duluth, Minnesota, at 2:13:04; and Charlie Sweeney, of Boulder, Colorado, at 2:13:41, in a near-photo finish for second and third. Kahura’s finish at 2:29 flat outpaced Austin, Texas’ Allie Kieffer’s 2:33:26 and Ava Nuttall, of Rochester, Minnesota, who finished third in 2:35:09.

The Kenyan runner’s 2:29 also beat her personal best of 2:30.14, posted in June at the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth. Kahura’s time led a deep and fast women’s field in 2023 that featured 43 runners ahead of the 2:37 Olympic trial qualifying pace at the marathon’s halfway mark.

Kahura exulted in triumph at the finish, stretching her nation’s banner wide behind her. Albertson is among the country’s elite marathon runners. A cross-country and track standout at Arizona State University who ran seventh in the marathon at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and set an indoor marathon world record in 2019, Albertson finished eighth at last year’s California International Marathon and was a near-miss second-place finisher in Sacramento in 2019.

Albertson lurked for miles as Christian Allen of Orem, Utah, and Amanuel Mesel, of Flagstaff, Arizona, dueled in tandem for the top spot. But Albertson made his move as the race pushed into Sacramento.

He overtook a fading Mesel for second at the 35K mark, then set his sights on the frontrunning Allen. By Mile 23, Albertson had overtaken Allen for a lead he would never relinquish.

(12/05/2023) Views: 435 ⚡AMP
by Darrell Smith
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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Run to redemption: Austin marathoner Mitch Ammons has won the race of life, too

When Austin’s Mitch Ammons qualified for the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials at the California International Marathon on Dec. 4 in Sacramento people asked him what college he had run for. His answer was, “I didn’t.”

“Qualifying for the Olympic trials marathon without a collegiate running background? Almost unheard of,” said Ammons' coach, Jeff Cunningham.

Ammons, 33, played football and ran track as a high school freshman at Dallas Bishop Lynch, even popping a speedy 4-minute, 50-second mile. But then he quit sports. He pretty much quit everything.

“That’s when drugs kicked in,” said Ammons. “I was hanging out with the wrong crowd.”

Ironically, Ammons went on to attend the University of Arkansas in the fall of 2008, an NCAA Division I distance running powerhouse. But he never thought about making the track or cross-country team, not even as a walk-on. Instead he partied, he said, escalating his marijuana habit to opioids.

“It was a slow progression,” Ammons said. “I went to the University of Arkansas to party. I started using Oxycontin my freshman year there and I loved it. It quickly became an addiction.

“I clearly remember the first time I had withdrawals,” he said. “I thought I had the flu, and of course took more Oxycontin and that fixed it. At that point I understood I was addicted. Oxycontin turned to heroin along with meth, because heroin was cheaper. I switched from pills and smoking it and started shooting up as a sophomore.”

Like many addicts, Ammons was in out and out of rehab — in his case, six times. He’d always relapse, sometimes the same day he got out. “I’d even try to smuggle drugs in to rehab,” Ammons said. “It’s amazing how much it takes over the survival part of the brain.”

But something finally clicked that sixth time at a rehab center in Kerrville, and when Ammons moved to Austin in 2015, that marked the beginning of his sobriety. Still, he wasn’t exactly in good shape. “I was a two-pack a day smoker and ate junk food and didn’t exercise at all,” he said.

But in January 2018, he joined Gilbert’s Gazelles, a local running program coached by nationally renowned Gilbert Tuhabonye. The long-lost spark of a budding high school miler — all but extinguished — caught fire. His path to redemption was clear.

“That was the beginning of my running journey,” said Ammons, who is an Austin real estate agent. “Gilbert said, ‘I don’t think you realize how good you are.’ He believed in me.”

Ammons got serious about his running a year later, and sought out Cunningham, who coaches a group of top-tier runners in Austin. It didn’t take long before he began hitting notable times, starting with a time of 1 hour, 7 minutes, 38 seconds at the 2019 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth, Minn.

“You can measure an athlete’s metrics in a lab and make predictions regarding their potential. But that does not tell the whole story,” Cunningham said. “Mitch has the ability to work through discomfort and to endure pain — the essence of distance running. He’s as tough as they come.”

In Oct. 2021 Ammons ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2:23:56 — placing 24th in a world major race. He followed that with a win at the 2021 BMW Dallas Half Marathon in 1:06:42 and lowered his half-marathon time still further a few months later, posting a 1:05:28 at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in January of this year.

“That showed me I could probably break 2:20 (in the marathon),” said Ammons, who by then had his eye on an Olympic marathon qualifying time.

“It turned out Mitch had a fever during the Aramco Half,” Cunningham said. “He had appendicitis, and a few days later was in the hospital having an emergency appendectomy. That epitomizes everything he is as a competitor. His ability to endure pain is off the charts. I was concerned about his health but impressed nonetheless.”

Under the watchful eye of Cunningham, Ammons built up to running 110 miles a week, training with top area runners David Fuentes and Ronan O’Shea. The 2024 Olympic marathon trials qualifying time is 2:18:00 or better, a one-minute drop from the 2020 standard of 2:19:00. But Ammons was ready.

“As a runner you don’t really know your potential until a race clicks, and then the confidence starts to compound,” said Fuentes, a two-time Olympic marathon trials runner and the 2022 Statesman Capitol 10,000 champ. “Mitch has been training with some of the best runners in Austin, and he’s flourished as a result. It’s been a remarkable progression.”

“My coach gave me a very different buildup from previous ones, focusing on tempo runs,” Ammons said. “I nailed every workout. On one 21-mile training run, I averaged 5:08 per mile for the second half of it. Headed into CIM, I was confident I could run a good race.”

At the California International Marathon, Ammons made it through the halfway mark in 1:08.30 and then he said he picked it up. "It hurt, but I tired to get every bit out of my legs that I could," he said.

And that’s exactly what he did. Seven years after going sober, Ammons crossed the finish line at CIM in 2:16:48, qualifying for the Olympic trials in Orlando that are scheduled for Feb. 3, 2024. To date, only 106 men have met the standard, including another area runner Will Nation, former Cedar Park High School runner Parker Stinson and former Vista Ridge High runner Zachary Ornelas.

“It took a couple of days for it to really sink in," Ammons said. "It was pretty emotional to think of where I was seven years ago and where I am now. I’m living a life beyond my wildest dreams. I never, ever thought I’d be where I am today.

"I attribute running to all the positive changes in my life: my friends, my job, everything," he continued. “Running has taught me so much. You could say I wasted a large amount of my young adult life. But I have no regrets. I probably wouldn’t be who I am today without those struggles.”

(12/27/2022) Views: 936 ⚡AMP
by Brom Hoban
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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2022 marks record-breaking year for the California International Marathon

During the 2022 California International Marathon Paige Stoner clinched the women’s course record, finishing the full 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 26 minutes and 2 seconds.

Race officials announced over the intercom as she finished, “national champion on the women’s side Paige Stoner sets a new course record.”

Stoner shattered the women’s course record by 51 seconds.

On the men’s side, Futsum Zienasellassie finished first, in his debut marathon with 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 1 second, the third-fastest mark ever run at CIM.

Both Stoner and Zeinasellassie achieved USA Titles.

2022 marked the 39th CIM, with over 10,000 total runners, including more than 9,000 marathoners and close to 1,000 relay participants.

Attracting top runners from around the world, CIM, known as the "fastest race in the West" is the #1 Boston Qualifier, with many who’ve set their sights on Olympic goals.

Appealing to athletes of many levels, thousands of families stood on the sidelines to cheer on their loved ones.

Finisher, Heather Graves, while holding her 8-month-old baby boy beamed as she told KCRA 3 she not only set a personal record but also qualified for the Boston Marathon.

“Having a baby was probably the worst pain and this was nothing compared to that,” Graves said while laughing.

(12/05/2022) Views: 874 ⚡AMP
by Erin Heft
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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Bredan Gregg and Sara Vaughn won the Comeback California International Marathon

Davis native Brendan Gregg won the 2021 California International Marathon alongside Sarah Vaughn, a debut marathoner.

A graduate of Davis High School and Stanford University, Gregg finished the race with a personal best time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 21 seconds.

“I love coming back here,” Gregg said in a statement. “I’ve done other marathons, but I always want to come back and do it at home at the people’s marathon.”

Gregg's pace was about 5:01 minutes per mile, according to the CIM event results.

Sara Vaughn, of Boulder, Colorado, won with a time of two hours, 26 minutes and 53 seconds.

Vaughn attempted her first marathon just 12 weeks ago, according to a press release.

“Sacramento has always been wonderful to me in my running career,” Vaughn said in a statement. “I made my first Team USA here at Sac State, and last time I was here, I won a race. I had to keep the streak going.”

Gregg and Vaughn, will both take home $10,000 in prize money, plus any performance bonuses. 

The competition was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. 9,000 people were registered for the marathon this year.

(12/06/2021) Views: 1,405 ⚡AMP
by Lauren Walike
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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2021 California International Marathon is looking for more volunteers

Thousands of runners are preparing for the California International Marathon, which takes place in less than two weeks. This year there’s a shortage of volunteers to pull off the massive event, race organizers said.

More than 10,000 runners from across the state and country participate in CIM. For the past 38 years, the event has relied on volunteers to power the race.

The Sacramento Running Association needs about 2,500 volunteers to fill all the necessary tasks on race day. Some school groups and clubs have had to pass due to their own COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Scott Abbott with the Sacramento Running Association said the race may be early in the morning but it’s “real exciting.”

“Whether it's working outdoors, doing aid stations, being a course monitor, helping load buses, even working out at the expo on Friday and Saturday — there are so many opportunities to get involved and be part of this event,” Abbott said.

(11/23/2021) Views: 1,141 ⚡AMP
by KCRA Staff
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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California International Marathon registration opens April 6

After being cancelled due to the pandemic in 2020, it appears the California International Marathon is on track to return this year. Registration opens at 9 a.m. Tuesday for the marathon, which travels from Folsom to Downtown Sacramento. This year's race is scheduled for Dec. 5.

An announcement from the Sacramento Running Association, which organizes the marathon, says "certain event details and amenities are still being determined due to changing health guidelines."

In a social media post, event organizers said the "participant cap is still somewhat uncertain," and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

People who were registered for last year's marathon received a voucher for entry into a future California International Marathon through 2023. If you plan to use your voucher, you still need to formally register for this year's race. Additional information is available online.

The event has attracted thousands of participants and spectators in the past.

Indoor events to resume

Marathon registration isn't the only sign of a slight return to normalcy. Most of California will be allowed to reopen indoor venues for performances, conferences and other events by April 15, state officials announced Friday. Indoor events were among the first activities to be closed as the Covid-19 pandemic touched down in California last year.

As larger parts of the population become vaccinated, California is ready to loosen its restrictions around events, state public health officials stated. 

(04/06/2021) Views: 1,050 ⚡AMP
by Sonya Sorich
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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Dec. 6th’s 2020 California International Marathon Canceled Due to COVID-19

The 38th annual California International Marathon, organized by the Sacramento Running Association and scheduled to run Sunday, Dec. 6 2020, has been canceled due to health and safety guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. All 2020 CIM registrants will receive a voucher for free registration into either the 2021, 2022, or 2023 CIM.

“After 37 years of world class production, the CIM has established itself as a Sacramento institution, a valuable civic amenity, and an important cornerstone event on the annual national running scene. Because of this, the CIM cancellation is a devastating blow to the Sacramento region and to the larger running community,” said Sacramento Running Association Executive Director Scott Abbott.

The CIM annually hosts over 15,000 participants, 75,000 spectators, and 4,000 volunteers over the course of marathon weekend, while filling nearly 10,000 hotel room nights and adding an estimated $11 million economic impact to the Sacramento region.

In addition to the impact on local hotels, restaurants and retailers, the event historically raises over $500,000 for local charities and community organizations through leveraged fundraising and direct giving every year.

“Local, regional, and state health officials worked very hard over the past few months to help us find a way for the event to happen, and we appreciate their efforts and their commitment to helping us fulfill our duty to our participants and stakeholders. Ultimately, there were too many uncertain variables in play that prevented our ability to put on this year’s CIM,” added Abbott. “Through this process, however, we are encouraged that we have identified safe policies and protocols for bringing in-person running events back to our community very soon, and we are looking forward to providing leadership in this space for Sacramento.”

Associated canceled events include November’s Run The Parkway, The Capitol 5k, and UC Davis Children’s Hospital maraFUNrun.

For runners still planning to train for a marathon this fall, the CIM has launched “Project 26.20” a virtual platform with training incentives and a race day virtual experience. More information can be found at runsra.org/project-26-20

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.

Other SRA events include the Super Sunday Run, the Credit Union SACTOWN Run, the Gold Country Half, the Capital Cross Challenge, and Youth XC Series.

(09/26/2020) Views: 1,451 ⚡AMP
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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Iain Mickle of Sacramento turned 59 three days before this year’s California International Marathon and finished in an impressive 2:42:57

Californian Iain Mickle of Sacramento takes the record for most time elapsed between sub-3 finishes. Even more impressive is that the first time he ran a sub-3 was a staggering 42 years, 151 days previously, when he was a junior in high school.

That’s a world record–for the longest elapsed time between two sub-3 marathon finishes, according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians.

According to 1968 Boston Marathon champion Amby Burfoot’s entertaining story in Podium Runner, Mickle’s first sub-3 was at the San Francisco Marathon in July 1977, where he finished in about 2:50, 10 minutes ahead of his father, who ran the same race. It was also Mickle’s first marathon.

But Mickle didn’t run competitively very much for the next several years, so he doesn’t earn any kudos for sub-3 finishes across multiple decades or anything like that. Still, his comeback, which started about 10 years ago, is impressive.

He ran a PB of 2:38 at the 2014 Boston Marathon, and was #3 on the list of longest time elapsed between sub-3s, with 40 years, 146 days between sub-3s, before CIM put him on top.

Mickle’s record could be in danger, though. He took it from Antonio Arreola, 60, who is hoping to take it back again at Houston on January 19.

If Arreola does go sub-3 in January, he will have sub-3 finishes spanning 43 years and 45 days, and it would also make him one of the first runners in history to achieve sub-3 finishes spanning six decades.

Arreola’s last marathon was last year’s CIM, where he ran 2:54:48. Since then he has been dealing with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but managed to race two half-marathons this fall, finishing both in 1:22 high. Arreola set his PB of 2:46:17 in 2001.

(12/19/2019) Views: 1,766 ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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Kenyan Elisha Barno and Kenyan Jane Kibii claimed the top men’s and women’s at the 37th annual California International Marathon

The winners were joined by an estimated 13,000 marathon and marathon relay registered runners who started in Folsom and ran the downhill course to finish in front of the State Capitol in Downtown Sacramento.

Rain was not falling, but clouds were forming as runners took their places in corrals at the starting line. Cool, but mostly dry weather is one of the hallmarks of the annual race.

Barno, of Kenya, finished with the day’s top time of 2:13:36 to take the men’s race, in which the three top finishers pushed one another. When one felt good, he brought the others along.

At the 24th mile, the three were running strong together at a 5:01 per mile pace.

“At 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) I tried to move and I saw, like, these guys, they are very strong,” Barno said. He made his final move in the penultimate mile, he said.

Both race winners, Kibii and Barno, take home $12,000 in prize money, plus performance bonuses.

(12/09/2019) Views: 1,715 ⚡AMP
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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An insider look at the California International Marathon course - Here's everything you need to know about the course

This weekend is the California International Marathon, an event that attracts many Canadians. Canada Running Series masters champion Allison Drynan is a 2:42 masters marathoner who’s running the race for the fifth time this Sunday. The CIM veteran has shared some of her key course insights for those racing.

For all the Johnny Cash fans out there, this race begins just across the American River from the Folsom State Prison, which Cash sang about in Folsom Prison Blues. The prison was also the location of a live album recording in the 1960s.

A net downhill course, the first half of the course is rolling, but flattens out over the halfway mark. This sets the stage for some definite personal best potential. 

At mile 20, runners will literally hit a wall.  There’s a brick wall facade with 10K to go. This reminds you that the race is really getting underway.

At mile 22 runners will pass under a bridge that’s decorated for the race. The banner will say 4.2 miles to go.  

The race begins at a prison and ends at the California State Capitol building, which connects with the State Capitol Park. It’s very picturesque and decorated for the holidays. The 42.2K between the two iconic locations is a net downhill course that takes you through lovely countryside and some quaint little towns (Orangevale, Fair Oaks and Carmichael) before you head into the Sacramento city centre.

Unlike most other marathons, there are two different finishing chutes, one for women and one for men. Drynan explains that both finish lines are the exact marathon distance, no athlete has had their choice of finishing chute contested. For the lead females it’s great to not have to worry about a man breaking their tape or ruining their photo opp.

CIM is one of the most popular Boston Qualifiers in the country, with those who’ve achieved their marks presented the opportunity to ring the BQ bell.

This year’s weather forecast is calling for some rain, but pleasant temperatures and low wind.

Following the race, if you’re a wine drinker, you’re in one of the best places to celebrate. Napa, Sonoma and Lodi are all fabulous wine regions within about an hour of Sacramento, so if you get tired of the many craft beers and diverse restaurants available in this university city, you can hit some vineyards after your race in the spirit of re-hydration.

(12/07/2019) Views: 1,640 ⚡AMP
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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Kenyans Elisha Barno and Jane Kibii will return to lead the CIM elite field

The 37th annual California International Marathon returns CIM top performers, 2015 CIM Champion Elisha Barno and 2014 runner-up Jane Kibii, while also serving as one of the last opportunities for American athletes to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

“This should be a unique and exciting year at CIM with a mix of steady vets returning to ‘The Fastest Course in the West’ as well as a flood of ‘dream chasers’ entering the ‘OTQ Factory’ for a last chance at earning a trip to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta in February,” said SRA Executive Director Scott Abbott. 

Favorites to win the men’s race include Kenyan natives Elisha Barno and Denis Chirchir. Barno holds a personal best marathon time of 2:09:32 set in 2018, and has had past success at CIM, winning the race in 2015 and finishing runner-up in 2016. Denis Chirchir, who ran 2:13:50 earlier this fall, will be making his first appearance at CIM and is expected to battle up front with Barno. 

Barno and Chirchir will likely be challenged by American runners C.J. Albertson, Colin Mickow, and Patrick Smyth, who are currently in the midst of breakthrough seasons. Albertson of Fresno, Calif and Mickow of Naperville, Ill. ran personal best marathons earlier this fall with 2:14:49 and 2:14:55 finishes, respectively. Smyth, who hails from Santa Fe, N.M., ran a personal best half-marathon time of 1:02:39 in early November of this year. 

The women’s race is headlined by local athlete Jane Kibii, who represents Kenya in international competition and lives in Auburn, Calif., less than twenty miles from the CIM start line. Kibii returns to CIM with the goal of capturing her first CIM title. Like Barno, Kibii has proven herself on the CIM course, with finishes of 2nd (2014) and 3rd (2015) to go along with her personal best marathon time of 2:30:01. 

“I love running in my hometown and feeling the local support,” said Kibii. “I have raced CIM twice and this time around I want to go for a win.” 

Other women to look for up front on December 8 include Obsie Birru from Phoenix, Ariz. who ran a personal best 2:35:51 at the Twin Cities Marathon in October and Katja Goldring (Flagstaff, Ariz.) who holds a personal best time of 2:35:21. Two marathon debutants, Kaitlyn Peale (Portland, Ore.) and Ivette Mejia (New York), could also be factors up front with personal best half-marathon times of 1:13:09 and 1:13:36, respectively.

Beyond the competition for the $70,000 prize purse available to the men’s and women’s fields, hundreds of American runners will toe the line at the 2019 CIM hoping to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials. Men need to run 2:19:00 or faster and women need to run 2:45:00 or faster to qualify.

In 2018, CIM had a record number of U.S. athletes run an Olympic Trials Qualifier (OTQ), with 99 American women and 53 American men running under the qualifying standards. With the qualification window closing in January, the 2019 CIM will be many athletes’ last shot.

“The past few years have shown that CIM is the perfect place to chase an OTQ,” said Olympic Trials hopeful Peter Bromka. “Not only the course and the weather, but every detail of the race is carefully considered by the organizers to help athletes run fast. Once the gun goes off, packs of hopefuls form and work together every mile to the capitol.”

Athletes who run a qualifying time will compete for a spot on the 2020 USA Olympic Marathon team on February 29, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The top three men and top three women finishers in Atlanta will compete for Team USA at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

(11/25/2019) Views: 1,703 ⚡AMP
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California International Marathon

California International Marathon

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! CIM was founded in 1983 by the Sacramento Running Association (SRA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The SRA Board of Directors is comprised of runners with a combined total of 150+ years of service to the CIM. The same route SRA management created for the 1983 inaugural CIM...

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Emma Bates Won the California International Marathon in her debut

On a near-perfect day for marathon running with sunny skies and comfortably cold temperatures, Brogan Austin of West Des Moines, Iowa, and Emma Bates of Boise, Idaho, won the USATF Marathon titles at the California International Marathon on Sunday Dec 2. Austin, 27, who entered today’s race with only a 2:24:39 personal best, was a surprise winner, while Bates, 26, was one of the favorites, despite making her marathon debut. Austin clocked 2:12:38 while Bates was timed in 2:28:18. Both athletes earned $20,000 in prize money plus a $1500 bonus for achieving USA Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying times. Emma Bates said in her pre-race interview on Friday that she had one simple goal for today: to win. When the gun went off, she paid no attention to the other 98 elite women and pounded aggressively through the opening stages of the race. She split 10-K in 34:41, a 2:26 pace. She slowed only slightly through halfway (1:13:24), but later admitted that she had started too fast. “I just felt so good,” Bates said with a laugh. “You get wrapped up in it, and there’s so many people running around you, all the guys, everybody cheering. The adrenaline is really hard to keep at bay. I went out a little too aggressive, I think. I definitely wanted to run the second half a little bit faster.” Like Llano, Bates had a big lead through the halfway point. The number-one seeded woman in the field, Stephanie Bruce, was a full 83 seconds back. Was Bates worried about getting caught? “I wasn’t,” she said. “I didn’t know where the other women were behind me, but I knew I was keeping a decent pace, a solid pace. So, I wasn’t worried at any point. I just wanted to run a fast time. At the end of the day, I just wanted to do my best.” Bates was never challenged. She cruised through the final miles and looked remarkably fresh at the finish line. Her time of 2:28:18 made hers the eighth-fastest USA marathon debut for a woman. It was also her first national title at any distance. “I said that I wanted to win,” she said.  (12/03/2018) Views: 1,557 ⚡AMP
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Steve Polansky is ready to run his 36th California International Marathon this weekend

Steve Polansky never looks back — except, of course, when he is at the starting line of the California International Marathon, which begins on an uphill slope. “I like to line up and look back at the field,” says the 72-year-old resident of suburban Sacramento. “I can see thousands of runners behind me. It’s awe inspiring and takes my breath away.” The CIM, an annual race from Folsom to Sacramento, is one marathon that Polansky knows very well, having run it for 35 straight years. In fact, the past president of Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento is one of only 12 runners who have participated in every CIM since it began in 1983. “I signed up and loved the course so much that I contacted [the Sacramento Running Association],” recalls Polansky, a New York native and a retired obstetrician-gynecologist. In turn, he immediately was asked by the association, “Can you be a member of the board?” It was a response that definitely hit home for the regular synagogue-goer. “How often in Jewish life do you become president of something just because you showed an interest?” he says. This year’s California International Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2, with the fastest runners finishing the 26.2-mile course about 135 minutes later — or about seven hours before the first night of Hanukkah begins. When the CIM premiered 36 years ago, 1,600 runners participated (and Polansky finished in 3 hours, 16 minutes). The course from Folsom Dam to the state Capitol has remained unchanged since 1983, and this year, with some 13,000 people signed up, the CIM has become the 10th largest marathon in the country, Polansky says.  (11/27/2018) Views: 1,513 ⚡AMP
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California International Marathon Earns Gold Level Certification

The 2017 CIM produced by the Sacramento Running Association has officially earned gold level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, an Oregon-based nonprofit that provides objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work that sports event organizers do to make a difference in their communities.“I am so proud of the hard work of our staff, Board, and volunteers to comprehensively integrate sustainability into our race planning and operations processes at CIM,” said Race Director Eli Asch. “We strive to be a leader in our events’ positive impact on our community, and this recognition by the Council as a gold-level sustainable event is a testament to those efforts. (02/23/2018) Views: 1,758 ⚡AMP
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Friel qualifies For the Olympic Trails at age 50

It wasn’t until the final blocks of the California International Marathon in December, when she heard her husband, Michael, screaming from a corner—You’re going to do it!—that Molly Friel fully believed she was about to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials. After all, she had a few things working against her. She had been training through some high hamstring pain, which had curtailed a few of her workouts. She ran 2:43:57 beating the standard by 1:03. (01/10/2018) Views: 1,454 ⚡AMP
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At Age 39, Mom of Three Has Huge Marathon Breakthrough

Roberta Groner, a 39-year-old full-time nurse and mother of three, took nearly six minutes off her personal best to finish second in 2:30:38. It was an astonishing performance, given her experience in running until that point, at the California International Marathon on Sunday. It’s been just six years since Groner ran her first marathon, and she’s lowered her time by 42 minutes. She first ran 3:12:42 at the 2011 Chicago Marathon. Groner took a 10-year break from the sport from 1999 to 2009. (12/07/2017) Views: 1,645 ⚡AMP
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Ritchie and Hall Crowned National Champions at CIM

MBR BEST 100: Timothy Ritchie and Sara Hall executed very different race strategies but both secured 2017 USATF Marathon Championship titles at the 35th annual California International Marathon on Sunday. (12/06/2017) Views: 1,455 ⚡AMP
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Sara Hall Winner of the California international Marathon

In sunny, windless and cool conditions, Sara Hall of Redding, California won the 2017 USATF Marathon title at the California International Marathon on Sunday. Hall, 34, bounced back from a 2:27:21 personal best performance at the BMW Frankfurt Marathon five weeks ago, to run away from the field here in 2:28:10, the second fastest winning time in the 35-year history of the race. (12/04/2017) Views: 1,682 ⚡AMP
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Two Marathons in 5 Weeks? Sara Hall is Giving CIM a Shot

Hall finished 5th at Frankfurt Marathon, setting a personal best of 2:27:21. She has recovered exceptionally well, providing her the confidence to give the marathon (CIM) another go just 5 weeks after Frankfurt. “It’s probably my best recovery after a marathon yet,” Hall said. “I think recovery is my strength as an athlete. I don’t think I’m the most talented, but since I started in the sport I’ve always been able to train really aggressively and race often with my body absorbing it well.” (11/30/2017) Views: 1,604 ⚡AMP
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CIM to Celebrate 35 Years with Record Numbers

The California International Marathon will celebrate 35 years on December 3 with its largest field of runners, a prestigious national designation as the host of the USATF Marathon Championships and several community and participant-focused enhancements. General marathon registration and marathon charity entries have pushed the registration total to over 11,000 runners with another 7,000 runners combined in the CIM Relay Challenge and 5k for a race weekend total of 18,000 participants. (11/30/2017) Views: 1,695 ⚡AMP
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