12/02/2011, 4:35pm PST

Field of 8,000 runners, 4,000 relay entrants ready for Sunday’s 29th annual marathon

Dec. 2, 2011
For immediate release

The 29th annual California International Marathon offers a little something for everyone Sunday on the road from Folsom to the state Capitol.

Elite international runners can compete for the $10,000 winners’ checks. Top Americans will seek qualifying times for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials next month in Houston.

Others hope to run fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon or set a personal record. The upcoming January issue of Runner’s World Magazine names the CIM one of 10 marathons that offer conditions to run a personal best.

First-timers hope to savor the joy of finishing a marathon. Some will run to raise money for worthy causes. Others will test the 26.2-mile distance simply to enjoy it.

A field of 8,000 runners and 4,000 relay runners is expected for the race, which begins at 7 a.m. Another 2,000 runners are set for the 2.62-mile maraFUNrun, which starts at 8 a.m. in the marathon finish area at 9th Street and Capitol Mall.

The CIM is founded and organized by the Sacramento Running Association and presented by Kaiser Permanente.

Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Alemayehu and Kenya’s John Njoroge, Erick Monyenye and Benson Cheruiyot lead the men’s field. On the women’s side, Ethiopian Serkalem Biset-abrha, Kenya’s Salome Kosgei, Poland’s Wioletta Kryza and Russia’s Elena Orlova look like the frontrunners.

The group of runners hoping to land an Olympic Trials qualifying time – 2:19:00 for men; 2:46:00 for women —  includes Sacramento’s Jen Hitchings, who missed the standard by 10 seconds earlier this year at the Eugene Marathon.

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

Teams entered in the four-person relay include runners from state cross country champion American River College, the Sacramento Mohawks homeless soccer team, Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills’ Running Strong for American Indian Youth group and a squad including Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel and the Political Animals made up of elected politicians anchored by Sacramento Councilman Steve Cohn. Mayor Andy Morin of Folsom will be attempting to run the entire marathon.

Look for drama and a few surprises along the way as runners make their way through Folsom, Orangevale, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks and Carmichael before hitting the streets of Sacramento.

Top places to watch the race include Fair Oaks Village just past mile 10, the Fair Oaks Boulevard/Manzanita Avenue split near the halfway point, the Arden Way/Fair Oaks intersection between miles 16 and 17, the Coldwell Banker wall located at Morse Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard, which is the 20-mile mark and part of the Kaiser Thrive Zones which also include MVP Sports Bar at 21st and L Streets, de Vere’s Irish Pub at 16th and L Streets and the finish at 9th and Capitol.

The CIM is expected to provide an economic impact of $8 million to the Sacramento area, according to Mike Testa, a senior vice president for the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The field includes runners ages 10-87 and entrants from 29 countries and 48 states.

Weather forecasts call for temperatures in the 30s and 40s during the race, with light winds of 3-5 mph.

Road closures will be in effect during the marathon. For more information, go to 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.

SRA beneficiaries include the American River Parkway, youth fitness programs, local running venues and aspiring young runners.