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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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡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) ⚡AMP
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