Dec. 3, 2015
For immediate release

Ellen Moore
(916) 737-2627

Field includes elites, politicians and locals

A handful of runners have hopes of winning, some are chasing Olympic dreams and a few run to show their civic pride. But for the vast majority of runners in Sunday’s 33rd annual California International Marathon, the goal is to finish, to experience the joy of race day, to be a part of the action.

The California International Marathon offers something for everyone.

A field of 9,000 marathoners is scheduled to challenge the 26.2-mile course from near Folsom Dam to the state Capitol for the 33rd time this Sunday, Dec. 6. 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. And 50,000 spectators are expected to line the streets along the point-to-point course.

The CIM, which begins at 7 a.m., will also host the USABA National Championships for the seventh straight time where a field of 51 runners is expected and another 60 athletes will start the race with the hopes of punching their ticket to the Olympic Trials.

Up front, a strong group of international runners head the men’s and women’s fields.

Kenyan Jacob Chemtai will be looking to defend his 2014 title while Kibrom Ghebrezghebher of Eritrea and fellow Kenyan Elisha Barno both appear capable of winning the men’s race and the $10,000 first prize.

“I am very happy to have the opportunity to come back and defend my title from 2014 and I am ready to win again as I know the course well,” said Chemtai. “The course is a fast one and I think the record is possible if the weather turns out well.”

Kenyan Jane Kibii, who has lived in Auburn, was the 2014 CIM runner-up and heads the women’s side on the strength of her 2:31:44 personal best.

Fellow Kenyan Sarah Kiptoo, owner of a 2:26:32 personal best, and 2011 CIM champion and 2:31:39-marathoner Serkalem Abrha of Ethiopia also look to be strong contenders for the title and $10,000 first prize.

“CIM is a world class event with a very personal feel,” said Kibii.

Rocklin native and SRA Elite member Tim Tollefson is scheduled to join the elite field of Americans chasing the Olympic Trials qualifying standard. His wife, fellow elite runner Lindsay Tollefson, has already guaranteed her spot on the Trials’ start line having run 2:41:32 at last year’s CIM.

Runners need to match or beat the men’s (2:18:00) or women’s (2:43:00) ‘B’ qualifying standards for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. 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.

“This year much of the drama will take place in the chase packs, where a strong field of American elites will hope to take advantage of the CIM’s reputation as an Olympic Trials Qualifier factory,” said CIM race director Eli Asch.

With 32 first-time Olympic Trials qualifiers already under its belt in the first two years of the qualifying window, CIM looks to become the first and only U.S. marathon with over 40 first-time qualifiers.

While the elites battle up front for a spot on the podium, Senator Ted Gaines and Assembly member Kevin McCarty will be battling for a different prize. The legislators lead the political animals division in the Bank of the West CIM Relay Challenge.

Auburn Mayor Bridget Powers will team up with Roseville City Council member Tim Herman and Yolo County Supervisor Oscar Villegas to join the fight while Sacramento School Board Member Jay Hansen will head up another team in the division.

“As an avid runner, I’m thrilled to be participating in this year’s CIM,” said State Senator Ted Gaines. “Thousands of marathoners will come from across the world to run throughout parts of my beautiful Senate District, generating millions for our economy and boosting national and international exposure for the Sacramento region.

“I encourage anyone who is interested to come down to the course and cheer on the runners during this exciting local sporting event.”

The CIM delivers a timely boost to the local economy with nearly 2,500-hotel room nights booked and an economic impact of $7.72 million.

The marathon field includes runners from 34 countries. Other notable entrants include KCRA’s Deirdre Fitzpatrick and Brian Hickey and author, contributing editor for Runner’s World magazine and former wife of Lance Armstrong, Kristin Armstrong.

The CIM is organized 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.

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