Oct. 29, 2012
Sixth in a series of the top 30 moments from the California International Marathon’s colorful history. The 30th anniversary race is on Dec. 2. By John Schumacher
Marathon gold medalist sparked running boom
No one deserves more credit for triggering the running boom of the 1970s than Frank Shorter.
He won the Olympic gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Games in Munich after finishing fifth in the 10,000 meters, although his achievement was clouded by an imposter running into the stadium ahead of him.
Shorter earned a silver medal in the 1976 Olympic marathon in Montreal, solidifying his credentials as the greatest marathoner in U.S. history. No other American has won two Olympic medals in the marathon.
So when he stopped by the California International Marathon in 1987 to provide television color commentary and participate in the CIM Celebrity Challenge 5k, which later became the Kaiser Permanente maraFUNrun, the race’s stature moved up a notch or two.
“He was very good,” CIM race director John Mansoor said of Shorter’s work as a television commentator. “Frank was a real professional.
“He was great at it.”
Shorter’s success includes five national titles in the 10,000 meters and one at 5,000 meters, four U.S. national cross country championships and four victories in the prestigious Fukuoka Marathon.
He helped start the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and served as its chairman from 2000-2003, well aware of the doping suspicions that surrounded East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski, the man who had beaten him in the 1976 Olympic marathon.
Shorter, a long-time resident of Boulder, Colo., co-founded the popular Bolder Boulder 10k there in 1979.
The CIM is put on by the Sacramento Running Association, 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 just completed Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon, the Super Bowl Sunday 10k Run on Feb. 3 and the Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run on April 7.
SRA beneficiaries include the American River Parkway, youth fitness programs, local running venues and aspiring young runners.