11/29/2012, 9:00am PST

NYC Marathon’s cancellation sends top elites to Sacramento

Nov. 29, 2012
For immediate release

New York City’s running loss is Sacramento’s gain.

Several elite runners who planned to run in the New York City Marathon before its cancellation four weeks ago have opted to run in Sunday’s 30th annual California International Marathon.

Nick Arciniaga and Ian Burrell have joined the men’s field and Alisha Williams and Michelle Frey have entered the women’s race in what shapes up as a deep, talented field for the 26.-2 mile run from Folsom to the state Capitol.

The race begins at 7 a.m.

Americans Arciniaga and Burrell hope to challenge men’s favorite Tesfaye Alemayehu, an Ethiopian who won the 2011 Miami Marathon and the 2012 America’s Finest City Half Marathon. Alemayehu who owns a 2-hour, 11-minute and 18-second best; Arciniaga has run 2:11:30 and Burrell 2:14:04.

Other men’s contenders include Ethiopia’s Teklu Deneke, a consistent runner with a 2:12:16 best; U.S. runner Jeffrey Eggleston, who hopes to improve on his 2:12:03 personal record; and American Sean Houseworth, who has run a 1:03:12 half marathon.

On the women’s side, Americans Williams (2:35:09) and Frey (2:37:03) plan to push a trio of favorites: Ethiopia’s Yihunilish Delelecha, who won the Pittsburgh and Grandma’s Marathons last year and owns a 2:30:38 best; Russian Natalia Sergeeva, who has run 2:33:01; and Atalelech Asfaw, an American citizen from Ethiopia who has a 2:33:56 effort on her resume.

Bay Area native Clara Peterson (2:35:50) and Kelly Calway (2:37:10) could also contend.

“On the women’s side, this is our deepest field ever,” said Priscilla Bayley, the CIM’s Elite Athlete Coordinator, noting the top 20 women have an average time of 2:37.

There’s depth on the men’s side, too, with the top 20 runners averaging 2:16.

“It’s a much, much better field than I could have expected,” CIM  race director John Mansoor said. “A lot of that is due to New York elites who needed a place to run.”

Bayley said the field is strong enough to make a run at Jerry Lawson’s men’s course record of 2:10:27 set in 1993 and Nickey Carroll’s 2:29:21 women’s mark established in 1999, if there’s a break in the rainy weather.

“Under decent conditions, we could see a course record fall,” she said.

The CIM offers $50,000 in prize money, with the men’s and women’s winners receiving $10,000 each.

A field of 9,300 marathoners, 4,400 relay runners and 2,000 Kaiser maraFUNrun participants is expected for an event that’s become an integral part of the Sacramento sports landscape.

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.