Championship fields include top U.S. marathoners, top-10 returners, an Olympian, and a number of talented debutants.

With the return of the USATF Marathon Championships to Sacramento, the 36th annual California International Marathon is shaping up to be one of the deepest races in American marathoning history. The 2017 CIM had a near-record breaking 91 athletes qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials and looks to be primed to produce similar numbers on December 2. This year’s CIM has a diverse and deep field that includes accomplished marathon veterans and talented event newcomers all looking to be crowned the next USATF Marathon Champion.

“We’re thrilled to again host the deepest and best-supported field of American marathoners you’ll find at any marathon in the world,” said CIM Race Director Eli Asch.

“Our strong field featuring a mix of savvy veterans and talented debutants is poised and ready to take advantage of CIM’s famously fast ‘downhill to downtown’ course while chasing times, titles, and a piece of our nearly $150,000 championship prize purse.”

“Last year’s race featured a near record-setting number of Olympic Trials Qualifiers, and we’re excited to see our field try to top that total this year in what has become an annual ‘must-run’ for domestically competitive American marathoners striving to break through to the next level,” added Asch.

Favorites to win the men’s 2018 U.S. Marathon Championship include marathon veterans Daniel Tapia of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. who was the 2012 CIM Champion and Matt Llano of Flagstaff, Ariz. Both men hold personal best marathons of 2:12:28 – Tapia’s personal best coming from the 2016 CIM where he was the top American and third place finisher and Llano’s personal best coming from the 2015 Berlin Marathon.

“In 2015, I finished second at the marathon championships (hosted by the Los Angeles Marathon), and I am a much more seasoned marathoner now,” said Llano.

Among other changes in the past year, Llano recently began being coached by American record holder, Ryan Hall.

“(Hall’s) been pushing me really hard in training up in Flagstaff and I can’t wait to see all of our work come to fruition on December 2.”

The men’s championship field returns four of the top-10 finishers from last year’s CIM. Anthony Costales (Salt Lake City, Utah) fourth in 2:13:12, Samuel Kosgei (Colorado Springs, Colo.) fifth in 2:13:25, Malcolm Richards (San Francisco, Calif.) sixth in 2:13:28, and Nathan Martin (Jackson, Mich.) 10th in 2:14:33 all return to the streets of Sacramento looking to improve on last year’s performances.

The marathon veterans will be challenged by a number of marathon newcomers, including Haron Lagat of Colorado Springs, Colo. who holds a personal best half-marathon time of 61:01, the ninth fastest American half-marathon time ever.

Other debutants who could vie for the first place $20,000 prize include four athletes from Blowing Rock, North Carolina’s ZAP Fitness: Andrew Colley, Matt McClintock, Joe Stilin and Josh Izewski, all with sub-64-minute half-marathon personal bests. Another accomplished marathon debutant is Martin Hehir (Philadelphia, Pa.). Hehir holds a personal best half-marathon time of 1:03:46 and recently set an event record at the 2018 EQT Pittsburgh 10-miler with his winning time of 46:48.

“I couldn’t be more excited to make my debut in the marathon, and even more so because it will be at CIM,” said Hehir.

“I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews of the course and event as a whole.”

“I trained to be the best competitor I can be more than focusing on a certain time, so when I line up on Dec 2, I’ll be ready to compete with the best in the U.S. for the top spot.”

Similar to the men’s race, the women’s championship is shaping up to be a battle between seasoned veterans, including 2016 CIM runner-up Stephanie Bruce (Flagstaff, Ariz.), and marathon debutants, including rising star Emma Bates (Boise, Idaho).

Bruce will attempt to win her first USATF Marathon Championship and second national title overall. Bruce will be making a quick turn-around from racing the New York City Marathon on November 4, where she finished 11th in 2:30:59, but feels confident her training has primed her for another strong finish in Sacramento.

“I am looking forward to returning to CIM to be part of the U.S. Championships,” revealed Bruce.

“I don’t normally race marathons back-to-back, but as I’ve gotten later in my career I wanted to shake things up and have a little fun.”

Bates, a 12-time NCAA All-American and NCAA National Champion, will venture into new territory in her professional career with her marathon debut at CIM.

“From the moment I started racing I knew I would run a marathon one day,” said Bates.

“There’s no other distance that challenges you both physically and mentally in the way that a marathon does. It’s a chance to transcend what you thought was your limit and achieve what you once deemed impossible.”

“I’m excited to discover my potential in those 26.2 miles.”

CIM is the culminating race on the year-long USATF Road Running Circuit. Bates and Bruce are both eyeing the $20,000 bonus for winning the circuit, as they are currently sitting in second and sixth place respectively heading into CIM.

The women’s USATF Marathon Championship field is deep behind Bruce and Bates. The field also includes two runners who have represented the United States in international competition, 2014 USATF Marathon Champion, Esther Atkins (Greenville, S.C.) and 2012 Olympian Janet Bawcom of Flagstaff, Ariz.

Other contenders in the women’s championship field include 2:31:48 marathoner Dot McMahan (Oakland Township, Mich.), 2:32:44 marathoner Sarah Crouch (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and 2:33:14 marathoner Maegan Krifchin (Bellmore, N.Y.). All three women are capable of breaking 2:30 and taking home the title.

In addition to the nearly $150,000 prize purse for placing and pre-race rankings, the California International Marathon is once again offering bonuses to American athletes who run under the 2020 Olympic Trials standards. $1,500 will be awarded to all American runners who run the A-standard of 2:37:00 for women and 2:15:00 for men and $500 will be awarded to those who run the B-standard of 2:45:00 for women and 2:19:00 for men.

“Whether it is a career building race or a career defining race at CIM, the Sacramento Running Association aims to inspire achievement among the top American marathoners that will compete for a national marathon championship and Olympic Trials qualifying marks at the 2018 California International Marathon,” said Sacramento Running Association Executive Director Scott Abbott.

“The Sacramento Running Association is proud to continue to bring world-class racing to our community to help make Sacramento one of the top running cities in the world,” added Abbott.

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.

2018 USATF Marathon Championship Field:

Nick Arciniaga, 2:11:30
Matt Llano, 2:12:28
Danny Tapia, 2:12:28
Anthony Costales, 2:13:13
Samuel Kosgei, 2:13:25
Malcolm Richards, 2:13:28
Sergio Reyes, 2:13:34
Mike Morgan, 2:14:22
Nathan Martin, 2:14:33
Luke Humphrey, 2:14:37
Jake Schmitt, 2:15.09
Colin Leak, 2:15:32
Tyler Andrews , 2:15:52
Wilkerson Given, 2:15:52
Will Nation, 2:16:59
Rajpaul Pannu, 2:17.05
Brian Harvey, 2:17:05
Eric Ashe, 2:17:06
Jonathan Aziz, 2:17:13
Dan Vassallo, 2:17:28
Ramiro Guillen, 2:17:35
Matt Fecht, 2:17:39
Mason Frank, 2:17:39
Ryan Cosens, 2:17:54
Jesse Davis, 2:17:59
Thomas Puzey, 2:18.20
Nick caprario, 2:18:03
Jonathan Mott, 2:18:12
Brandon Johnson, 2:18:13
Evan Schwartz, 2:18:19
Steven Tyler Underwood, 2:18:20
Craig Hunt, 2:18:23
Matthew McDonald, 2:18:31
Brendan Gregg , 2:18:35
Michael Iacofano, 2:18:48
Adam Dalton, 2:18:52
Blair Teal, 2:18:57
Kevin Pool, 2:18:59
Alex Taylor, 2:19:31
George Alex , 2:19:36
Matt Hensley, 2:19:51
Tanner Fruit, 2:19:52
Mike Deren, 2:19:55
Ian Butler, 2:20:00
Zachary Ornelas, 2:20:11
Mark Leininger, 2:20:15
Kevin Havel, 2:20:16
JASON AYR, 2:20:35
Connor Kamm, 2:20:47
Kieran O’Connor, 2:20:47
Kevin Castile, 2:20:58
William Fladland, 2:21:08
Brett Lustgarten, 2:21:09
Zack Beavin, 2:21:18
Michael Crouch, 2:21:25
Rolf Steier, 2:21:25
Johnny Rutford, 2:21:34
Brandon Wolfe, 2:21:47
Ben Bruce, 2:21:56
Chris Yates, 2:21:57
Jarrett LeBlanc, 1:04:25
Cole Watson, 1:03:50
Dan Harper, 1:06:34
Matthew Williams, 1:05:14
Philip Schneider, 1:06:34
Austin Richmond, 1:06:49
Stewart Harwell, 1:06:00
Brogan Austin, 1:02:39
Everett Hackett, 1:04:34
Travis Fuller, 1:06:46
David Fuentes, 1:04:36
Juan Paredes, 1:04:38
Jordan Kyle, 1:05:36
Christopher Sloane, 1:06:50
Chris Bendtsen, 1:05:35
Haron Lagat, DEBUT
Andrew Colley, DEBUT
Matt McClintock, DEBUT
Martin Hehir, DEBUT
Joe Stilin, DEBUT
Josh Izewski, DEBUT
Trent Lusignan , DEBUT
Sid Vaughn , DEBUT
William Reyes, DEBUT
Aaron Easker, DEBUT
Kyle Masterson, DEBUT
Charlie Lawrence, DEBUT
Brian Shrader, DEBUT
John Busque, DEBUT
Caleb Hoover, DEBUT
Tyler Pence, DEBUT
Scott Dahlberg, DEBUT
Adam Wollant, DEBUT

Stephanie Bruce, 2:29:35
Janet Bawcom, 2:29:45
Dot McMahan, 2:31:48
Sarah Crouch, 2:32:44
Maegan Krifchin, 2:33:14
Esther Atkins, 2:33:15
Pasca Myers, 2:33:42
Laura Portis, 2:33:46
Hilary Dionne, 2:34:45
Sarah Cummings, 2:34:47
Madeline Duhon, 2:35:27
Bridget Lyons, 2:36:24
Teresa McWalters, 2:36:30
Kasie Enman, 2:37:14
Meghan Peyton, 2:37:33
Lauren Masterson, 2:37:41
Lauren Philbrook, 2:38:00
Samantha Roecker, 2:38:11
Kimi Reed, 2:38:19
Bethany Sachtleben, 2:39:00
Claudia Becque, 2:39:12
Jocelyn Todd, 2:39:23
Allison Macsas, 2:39:41
Brittney Feivor, 2:40
Rebecca (Becki) Spellman, 2:40:17
Alexandra Niles, 2:40:43
Julia Roman-Duval, 2:40:55
Emma Kertesz, 2:40:56
Heather Cappello, 2:40:58
Autumn Ray, 2:41
Sabrina Lopez, 2:41:16
Lisa Baumert, 2:41:17
Michele Lee, 2:41:22
Rachel Hyland, 2:41:24
Brittni Hutton, 2:41:31
Phebe Ko, 2:41:42
Shaluinn Fullove, 2:41:57
Lissa Zimmer, 2:42:00
Amanda Scott, 2:42:02
Regina Lopez, 2:42:07
Raquel Stucky, 2:42:08
Laura Harnish, 2:42:09
Teal Burrell, 2:42:13
Julianne Quinn, 2:42:14
Shawna Mcclain, 2:42:15
Hilary Corno, 2:42:16
Bria Wetsch, 2:42:33
Courtney Olsen, 2:42:44
Sarah Bishop, 2:42:46
Kate DeProsperis, 2:42:49
Bridget Zapata, 2:42:56
Paula Pridgen, 2:43:09
Pam Pinto, 2:43:17
Liz Camy, 2:43:25
Caitlyn Tateishi, 2:43:35
Tracy Guerrette, 2:43:47
Lacey Krout, 2:43:47
Georgia Porter, 2:44
Elizabeth Ryan, 2:44:03
Katie Hynes, 2:44:04
Melissa Tanner, 2:44:15
Nora Colligan, 2:44:21
Kelby Laughner, 2:44:23
Amanda Phillips, 2:44:25
Samantha Calderon, 2:44:44
AnnMarie Kirkpatrick, 2:44:51
Bryanne Lauck, 2:44:54
Meredith Tribble, 2:45:19
Shawanna White, 2:45:19
Caroline Williams, 2:45:26
Maura Lemon, 2:45:37
Fionna Fallon, 2:45:49
Aleta Jokisch, 2:46:01
Annie Dear, 1:16:44
Harriott Kelly, 1:17:23
Kristen Thorne, 1:17:00
Marisa Cummings, 1:17:26
Allison Cleaver, 1:14:11
Kristen Rohde, 1:17:12
Chelsea Benson, 1:17:06
Leigh Sharek, 1:16:38
Morgan VanGorder, 1:17:20
Emma Bates, DEBUT
Maddie Van Beek , DEBUT
Valerie Sanchez, DEBUT
Marit Sonnesyn, DEBUT
Shelby Buckley, DEBUT
Andrea Guerra, DEBUT
Alexandria Hackett, DEBUT
Heather Johnson, DEBUT
Sakiko Minagawa, DEBUT
Emily Myers, DEBUT
Katherine Jamboretz, DEBUT
Kaitlyn James, DEBUT
Tristin Van Ord, DEBUT
Dakotah Lindwurm, DEBUT
Brittany Tretbar, DEBUT
Joanna Thompson, DEBUT
Nicole Lane, DEBUT