July 28, 2015
For immediate release

John Schumacher

Local race is top Olympic Trials qualifier, offers bonuses to runners earning berths

The California International Marathon, long a favorite for runners seeking a Boston Marathon qualifying time or a personal best, will likely lure dozens of top U.S. runners looking for a berth in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

The qualifying window, which opened on Aug. 1, 2013, closes on Jan. 17, leaving the 33rd annual CIM on Dec. 6 as the last realistic chance U.S. runners will have to earn a qualifying time and still have enough time to recover for the Trials on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles.

U.S. men must run 2 hours, 18 minutes or faster, or record a 1:05 or better half marathon, to qualify. American women must post a 2:43 or better marathon or a 1:15 or faster half marathon to gain a spot in the Trials’ field.

The CIM, put on by the Sacramento Running Association, is upping the ante by offering bonuses to Olympic Trials qualifiers. Anyone meeting the above ‘B’ standards will receive $1,000; those attaining the ‘A’ standards – 2:15 for men, 2:37 for women – will earn $2,500.

“The CIM has long been regarded ‘The Fastest Course in the West,’ and much of this has been due to the growing elite and emerging elite athlete population that has used the event over the years to achieve major professional breakthroughs,” SRA Executive Director Scott Abbott said.

“We have come to embrace this by providing an enhanced prize purse and bonus structure that encourages and rewards elite athletes that target CIM as their ‘breakthrough race.’

“This year will be an exciting year as we close out the fall marathon season as the ‘last chance’ opportunity for many elite American runners who will be looking to fulfill an important step in their Olympic dreams by earning an Olympic Trails qualifying mark.”

Runners seeking Trials’ berths have found great success at the CIM. Last year, 14 women earned a spot in the Trials’ field by beating the 2:43 ‘B’ standard, with six more who had already qualified also running faster than the standard. On the men’s side, seven runners punched their ticket to the Trials, with one other male who had already qualified also running faster than the 2:18 ‘B’ standard.

In 2013, nine U.S. women and two U.S men earned Trials’ berths. And in 2011 CIM produced a whopping 24 qualifiers on the women’s side and seven in the men’s field.

CIM officials expect close to 50 elite U.S. runners to enter the race looking to earn a trip to the Trials.

“What better spot to be ‘The Last Chance’ than CIM?” Abbott said. “CIM has turned out the most Olympic Trials marks for American runners of any marathon in the world in the last Olympic cycle.”

The CIM is widely recognized as an ideal race to earn an Olympic Trials qualifying time because of the typically cool weather, the fast, slightly downhill course from near Folsom Dam to the state Capitol and the support of 50,000 spectators who typically line the course each year. The race is one of the few U.S. marathons that makes significant efforts to cater to the potential Trials qualifier by using pacers and qualifying bonuses.

Runners interested in registering for CIM can visit www.runcim.org.

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.

Other SRA events include the Super Sunday Run on Feb. 7, the Credit Union SACTOWN Five- and Ten-Mile Run on April 3 and the Gold Rush 50k.

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