Nov. 15, 2012
Nineteenth in a series of the top 30 moments from the California International Marathon’s colorful history. The 30th anniversary race is on Dec. 2. By John Schumacher

Canadian standout completes hat trick with 2001 triumph
He’s not flashy and doesn’t own eye-popping times. But Bruce Deacon knows how to win.

The Canadian standout proved that in Sacramento, winning the California International Marathon three times, including a rain-soaked slog in 2001 that completed his CIM hat trick.

Deacon won the 1991 CIM with a then personal-best 2:15:16 effort, lowered his PR to win the 1995 race in 2:13:59 and then survived the ‘second storm year’ with a savvy 2:22:12 performance in 2001.

Elly Rono, the 2000 and 2002 CIM champion, would have been the race’s only three-time winner if Deacon hadn’t held him off in that wet 2001 race. Rono finished second in 2:23:00, 48 seconds behind Deacon.

Whether it was hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or still, Deacon adjusted to the conditions and found a way to win.

His mantra in 2001?

“I’m a duck, I’m a duck, I’m a duck.”

Or maybe a Canadian goose.

And a smart one.

“Bruce was very much like Meb Keflezighi,” said CIM race director John Mansoor, comparing Deacon to the 2004 Olympic silver medalist and 2009 New York City Marathon champion.

“Meb doesn’t have the fast PRs … Meb is a very, very smart runner. He would take into account the pace, the day, the competition and would figure out a way to win.”

Deacon certainly did that at the CIM. The race’s only three-time winner also finished eighth in 1990, sixth in 1998 and fourth in 2002.

Deacon, a teacher who also worked for the British Columbia Ministry of Education and the Canadian Olympic Committee, did pretty well elsewhere, too. He won the Canadian national championship in 2000, finished 11th at the 1995 World Championships and placed 39th in the 1996 Olympic Games and 44th at the 2000 Olympics.

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.