Nov. 9, 2012
Fifteenth 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

Positive reviews, 100th Boston race fuel growth that keeps on going
The surge of 1995 left the California International Marathon well positioned for a bright future.

Entries jumped from 2,400 to 3,500 in one year, thanks to a combination of factors: A Runner’s World Magazine article in 1994 touting the CIM as the fifth-best race to earn a Boston Marathon qualifying time, hype surrounding the 100th Boston Marathon in April of 1996 and growing interest in a race with a reputation for producing fast times.

“It all kind of came together,” CIM race director John Mansoor said.

The CIM continues to grow. After a drop back to 3,000 entrants in 1996, the number of entrants climbed to 4,000 by 2005 and then doubled in the next five years.

Positive reviews from CIM runners helped. So did a marketing campaign launched in 2001 that included visiting other marathon’s expos to spread the word on the 26.2-mile race from Folsom to the state Capitol.

Runner’s World helped again by listing the CIM as one of the world’s best small marathons. A 2007 USA Today story included the CIM in its list of the top 10 fall destination marathons. And Runner’s World’s Bart Yasso said during an on-line show “The California International Marathon is a very fast, if not the fastest, course in the country.”

The race has become so popular entry caps were put in place beginning in 2007. This year’s cap of 8,000 entrants was reached in August, two months earlier than in 2011.

Add in charity entries, runners allowed to register for two weeks in October because they met the CIM’s time standards and elite athletes and the 30th anniversary race has attracted more than 9,300 entries.

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.