10,000 Race Participants Enjoy Perfect Weather Conditions As Forecasted Rain Holds Off
After weather forecasts predicted a rain-soaked race day, the rain held off and sun shined on downtown Sacramento as an estimated 10,000 runners crossed the finish line at the 39th California International Marathon. This year’s race also served as the USA Marathon Championships, which saw Paige Stoner and Futsum Zeinasellassie claim the women’s and men’s national championships.
Stoner, a native of Pottsville, Penn. and graduate of Syracuse University, shattered the women’s course record by 51 seconds – winning in a time of 2 hours, 26 minutes and 2 seconds.
“I was pretty surprised by how good I felt around halfway. I keep telling myself that if I could stay really relaxed through 20 miles, I felt confident that it would go well,” said Stoner, who trains with the Reebok Boston Track Club. “I really wanted to have a good day to prove to myself that I belong with the top in the U.S. and have a chance at 2024.”
Stoner and Lauren Hurley, a marathon debutant and former triathlete from Boulder, Colo., broke away from the field past the 10 kilometer mark and battled each other in the subsequent miles. It was Stoner, competing in her third-ever marathon, who edged past Hurley at 30 kilometers and pulled away over the final stretches of the race.
Hurley ultimately finished in second place in a time of 2:27:41, and Elaina Tabb, a high school math teacher from Boston, was third in 2:28:04.
Racing in his first ever marathon, Zeinasellassie, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., broke away from the field at 23 miles and pulled away to win in 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 1 second – the third-fastest mark ever run at CIM.
“Winning and personal bests are what we shoot for. When you achieve one of them, you’re just grateful that the hard work paid off,” Zeinasellassie said. “The marathon is a beautiful race, and I’m happy to be able to say I finished one.”
Defending champion Brendan Gregg from nearby Davis, Calif. led the race from the gun and grew his lead on the field to 43 seconds halfway through the race. Gregg was unable to hold that pace and was eventually overtaken by a pack of five runners past 30 kilometers.
Zeinasellassie made a strong surge with three miles to go that broke his competitors, including second place finisher Jacob Thomson of Louisville, Kent. (2:11:52) and Joel Reichow of White Bear Lake, Minn. (2:12:11).
The race lived up to CIM’s reputation as a fast course and a prime location to hit U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying times. Overall, 43 women and 41 men ran under the coveted Olympic Trials marks (2:37:00 for women, 2:18:00 for men) to qualify runners for the Trials to be held in Orlando, Fla. in February 2024.
Both race winners, Stoner and Zeinasellassie, take home $20,000 in prize money, with monetary prizes going to the top 10 finishers for each gender. Runners that hit Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying marks each received $500 in prize money.
The California International Marathon is organized by the Sacramento Running Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.
“As one of the nation’s largest and most competitive marathons, CIM again brought together thousands of people to Sacramento from all over the world to chase dreams, complete bucket lists, and improve livelihoods. It is always amazing to see how our region comes together to put its best foot forward and create a spectacular platform for achievement for so many people,” said Scott Abbott, executive director of the Sacramento Running Association. “I want to thank our SRA staff and 4,000 volunteers for their incredible work that makes this race possible every single year.”
The field of more than 9,000 marathon runners and nearly 1,000 CIM relay runners from all 50 states and from 37 countries was expected to fill 7,500 hotel room nights and provide an estimated $11 million economic impact to the Sacramento region. In addition to the impact on local hotels, restaurants and retailers, the event raises more than $500,000 for local charities and community organizations through leveraged fundraising and direct giving every year.
Full race results can be found here.