Nov. 14, 2012
Eighteenth 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

Australian’s effort helped merit Olympic selection
Nickey Carroll came to the California International Marathon in 1999 hoping to run 2:26 and earn a spot on the Australian Olympic team.

She didn’t reach her time goal, but did eventually merit selection to her country’s Olympic team. Carroll also left the CIM with something else worth mentioning.

The course record.

Carroll’s 2:29:21 effort won the 1999 CIM and set a women’s course record, breaking the old mark of 2:29:29 established by Sally Eastall in 1991.

Like Jerry Lawson’s men’s course record of 2:10:27 set in 1993, Carroll’s mark still stands today.

But it wasn’t what Carroll wanted on that day.

“It was actually a disappointing performance for Nickey,” said CIM race director John Mansoor. “She was told by her Olympic committee she needed to run a certain time to be chosen for the team.

“Her goal was to run 2:26.”

Carroll didn’t make it, but her CIM effort, combined with a 2:25:52 effort and a 2:26:50 performance earlier in 1999, helped her land a spot on the team and compete in the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.

“I ran three sub-2:30s in 1999 and in the end that paid off,” she said.

Carroll shook her nearest competitor in the first mile and led the rest of the way to win her CIM title.

“The support along the way was fantastic,” she said.

Carroll competed in tennis until she shifted her attention to running when she was 17. She didn’t finish the 2000 Olympic marathon because of problems with her left leg.

She was eventually diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease and Systemic lupus but continued to run marathons and ultramarathons.

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 recently concluded 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.