Nov. 22, 2012
Twenty-fourth 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

Late 2005 surge produces closest women’s finish
Elena Orlova hung back, waiting patiently for the right moment to strike.

The Russian runner found it in the final mile of the 2005 California International Marathon, reeling in Poland’s Wioletta Kryza for a dramatic victory in the women’s race.

Orlova, who let Kryza take a big lead after three miles and stay in front for more than 25 miles, chased her rival down on L Street. With 500 yards to go, she seized the lead and went on to win in 2:37:35, 18 seconds head of Kryza.

The drama produced the closest women’s finish in CIM history.

“It was your standard tortoise and hare race,” CIM race director John Mansoor said. “The two women knew each other really well … There was sort of that rivalry.

“Kryza was like, ‘OK, catch me if you can. I’m going to take off. Orlova said, ‘Alright, I’m going to run my race. I’m going to gamble you’ll run out of gas.’”

Curiously, the two finished 18 seconds apart again the following year in the CIM, with Orlova second in 2:37:40 and Kryza third in 2:37:58.

Kryza finally broke through and won the CIM with a 2:39:20 effort in 2007.

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.