Nov. 5, 2012
Eleventh 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

Looking for a good workout, he races to personal record
Rich Hanna wanted to get in a good, hard 20-mile workout and then drop out of the 1993 California International Marathon at Loehmann’s Plaza.

He wound up with a personal best of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 51 seconds and an eventual spot in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Hanna’s training was geared toward the Houston Marathon a month later. He asked for a bib number so he’d be a legal runner in a CIM he never intended to finish.

He’d worked 10 hours the day before laying cable, hadn’t been tapering and had no illusions of running the full 26.2 miles.

So what happened?

Maybe it was the Old Spaghetti Factory takeout he’d had the night before. Perhaps there was no pressure in going out for a long run in the middle of a big race.

Or maybe it was the good karma from a CIM that included Jerry Lawson setting a men’s course record and Linda Somers winning the U.S. national women’s marathon championship.

“It wasn’t a race I was shooting for,” said Hanna, a well-known local race director and coach. “I didn’t think I’d be ready to run.

“The whole plan was just to run a hard 20 and get a really good workout. As it turned out, it was a picture-perfect day.

“I ran through that 20-mile mark at Loehmann’s Plaza feeling so good I kept going.”

Hanna finished ninth.

“It was just unbelievable,” he said. “I remember coming around the corner at Capitol Mall, my goal was to break 2:20, I see 2:17 and change on the clock. I remember thinking it’s amazing what a body can do when it’s well trained.

“It’s just one of those races that happens every now and then. It feels so good it feels like you could keep going. I felt like I had so much left in the tank.

“There’s no reason to explain it.”

Hanna, who finished seventh in the 1994 CIM with a 2:21:09 effort, considers the 1993 CIM and his second-place finish in the 2001 World 100k Championships to be his best races.

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 just 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.