Dec. 5, 2014
For immediate release

For 32 years, race offers competition, inspiration

Amid the resurgence of the Kings, the stunning success of pro soccer and the return of prominent events to Sacramento, the California International Marathon continues to strengthen the local sports landscape.

The 32nd annual race, set for Sunday at 7 a.m., has stood the test of time, its combination of international competition, community impact and inspiration helping the CIM stand out among local sporting events.

A field of 9,000 marathoners, including runners from 31 countries, is scheduled to challenge the 26.2-mile course from near Folsom Dam to the state Capitol. Another 4,000 runners are entered in the Bank of the West CIM Relay Challenge, with 2,000 more participants set for the UC Davis Children’s Hospital maraFUNrun.

A crowd of 50,000 spectators is expected to line the course running through Folsom, Orangevale, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, Carmichael and Sacramento. The forecast calls for a cool, dry morning, with temperatures in the 50s.

The CIM is put on by the Sacramento Running Association.

Renee Baillie of Bend, Ore. hopes to break Australian Nickey Carroll’s women’s course record of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 21 seconds, set in 1999. Kenyan Pasca Myers and Volha Mazuronak of Belarus look like the most serious challengers.

Kenyans Julius Koskei, Eliud Ngetich and Jacob Chemtai, Ethiopian Tesfaye Alemayehu and Zambia’s Jordan Chipangama head the men’s field. American Jerry Lawson set the men’s course record of 2:10:27 in 1993.

The men’s and women’s winners earn $10,000 each. There’s also a $5,000 bonus for breaking a course record.

“I’m going in to win and set a course record,” said Baillie, whose debut marathon was a 2:27:17 effort at the 2012 Chicago Marathon.

The depth of talented runners extends to those trying to obtain a qualifying time for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Runners need to match or beat the ‘B’ qualifying standard – 2:18:00 for men, 2:43:00 for women – to earn a spot in the U.S. Olympic Trials field. Runners attaining the ‘A’ standard – 2:15:00 for men and 2:37:00 for women – will receive funding support for the Trials, set for Los Angeles.

The CIM will offer bonuses for U.S. runners achieving the Trials’ standards: $2,500 for an ‘A’ standard and $1,000 for a ‘B’ standard.

Other runners hope to earn a spot in the Boston Marathon. The CIM has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the best places to earn a Boston qualifying time, its slightly downhill course, generally cool weather and supportive crowds helping produce fast times.

The CIM also helps runners with their Boston goals by supplying more than 30 pace team leaders for 18 different Boston qualifying times (based on age and gender).

For the sixth consecutive year, the CIM will serve as the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes National Championships.

The CIM, which has doubled in size in the last nine years, impacts the community in many positive ways.

While prominent events like the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament have come and gone and returned again, the CIM has consistently made a positive contribution to the Sacramento sports scene.

Out-of-town runners are expected to fill 5,782 hotel room nights and generate a strong economic impact to the Sacramento region at a time of year when local hotel business typically slows. Past estimates have put the race’s economic impact at $7.4 million.

“The California International Marathon continues to drive significant economic impact for the Sacramento region and fills hotel rooms across the region,” said Steve Hammond, President & CEO of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission.

“Hosting an event with the prominence of CIM is a great source of pride for us and it represents a very positive way to end the year for this community.”

The race benefits Sacramento-area youth training groups, local running venues and the SRA’s Elite Team, which includes 2012 Olympian Kim Conley.

And if you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll find it all along the course, whether it’s at the front of the pack, the middle or the back.

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new 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.