11/21/2012, 8:30pm PST

Nothing stops streakers from finishing marathon

Nov. 21, 2012
For immediate release

It doesn’t matter if it’s raining sideways. Illness and injury are pushed aside, too, to keep intact a source of pride shared by 12 marathoners.

Just call them the streakers.

When runners assemble for the start of the California International Marathon on Dec. 2, this dedicated dozen will toe the line, ready to finish the race for the 30th consecutive time.

They haven’t missed a single CIM since its inception in 1983. And if you hear them talk about their streaks, one notion comes clearly into view.

Don’t bet against them.

Oh, the stories they tell. And the quirks they have.

Carmichael’s Steve Polansky, 66, sets three alarm clocks every year so he won’t miss the start.

“My greatest fear was oversleeping,” he said.

Tim Twietmeyer’s biggest worry was not finishing the race in 1997 after pulling a leg muscle the week before in the Quad Dipsea.

“I hobbled in,” said Twietmeyer, the 53-year-old five-time Western States Endurance Run champion from Auburn.
Bruce Mauldin, 65 and now living in Anaheim, was determined to keep his streak alive after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006. A group of fellow CHP officers surprised him by running the race with him, helping him keep his streak alive.

John O’Neill, a 71-year-old from Diamond Springs tells the story of getting sick during the CIM about 10 years ago after eating his wife’s tofu lasagna the night before.

Thank God for porta-potties.

“I could feel stomach cramps coming on maybe about 12 or so miles into the race,” he said. “I ended up in a porta-potty. About two miles later I was in a second one wet, cold and feeling bad.

“It actually felt warm in there, and my brain had to pry me out of there to continue.”

Ernie Takahashi, 67 and from Sacramento, said he almost didn’t finish the rainy 2001 CIM because he never wore socks in marathons.

“I got very bad blisters on both feet because of the wet weather,” he said. “I was wearing white shoes but they were red from blood at the end of the race.

“Removing my shoes and taking a shower was excruciating and I had to wear sandals for over a week.  Now I always wear socks whenever I run!”

The other CIM streakers include Steve Haun, Barry Turner, Mike Nolan, Michael Ryan, Michael Sullivan, Denis Zilaff and Michael Buzbee.

After 29 years, stories abound. Everyone remembers 1987, the storm year that brought 50-mph winds and driving, sideways rain.

“You’re almost out there laughing at yourself,” Twietmeyer said. “The smart people stayed home and read the paper, had a cup of coffee.

“Once you get out there, you can tell stories 10 years later.”

Polansky recalled turning for home, and straight into the driving rain, just past the halfway mark in 1987.

“There was a lot of temptation to drop out,” he said.

The streakers share a love for the race and a passion for running.

“It’s just one of those local races you want to do,” Twietmeyer said. “Thirty years in a row, you can’t be injured, you can’t have something else going on, you can’t blow up during the race.”

Polansky cherishes the start.

“The sun is beginning to rise,” he said. “Everybody knows they have a journey ahead. You all feel the level of camaraderie. That’s just fantastic.

“I love talking to people. I love the energy out on the course. You can almost cut it and serve it up. It is so beautiful.”

The streakers plan to give back two days before the race by taking some CIM medals to Shriners Hospital For Children and watching young patients go around a little obstacle course.

They also plan to present a check to Shriners for $6,000, a combination of Sacramento Running Association money and the streakers’ personal donations.

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.