Nov. 30, 2012
Last 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

Marathon field climbs to more than 9,300
The race attracted 1,600 runners in its first year, barely dodging a big storm that could have hindered efforts to launch a new event in Sacramento.

The California International Marathon has made considerable progress since then, riding a wave of popularity and growth heading into its 30th anniversary race on Sunday.

A field of 9,300 marathoners, 4,400 relay runners and 2,000 Kaiser maraFUNrun participants is expected for an event that’s become a fixture in the local sports community.

The race’s field has doubled in the past five years thanks to an enhanced marketing effort touting the CIM’s strengths.

A big part of the CIM’s success has been its fast course, a slightly downhill 26.2-mile run from Folsom to the state Capitol that’s consistently ranked as one of the top places to earn a Boston Marathon qualifying time.

Others run CIM hoping for a personal best. Elite runners come looking for an Olympic Trials qualifying time.

Weather has played a big role, too, with cool, calm conditions in most years attracting runners from around the world.

The race has provided the Sacramento region with a growing economic impact of close to $8 million annually at a time of year that’s typically slow for the hotel industry.

The forecast for the future: More growth, same quality experience.

“When I first started this event 30 years ago, the weather was the best; it was the right time to run,” said CIM race director John Mansoor, who co-founded the race with Sally Edwards.

I did not realize at the time it would play in so well with the whole cycle of what hotels need.

“We’re going to continue to grow.”

The CIM, which begins at 7 a.m., 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.