Race organizers announce dynamic prize purse to attract top U.S. talent

Sacramento has been selected to host the U.S. Marathon Championships at the California International Marathon for men and women in 2017 and 2018 as announced by USA Track & Field, the sport’s national governing body.

Top American long distance runners are expected to compete in the national championships, which will offer a $140,000 prize purse, the largest in event history, plus performance bonuses.

The events are scheduled for December 3, 2017 and December 2, 2018, which will be held in conjunction with the 35th and 36th annual California International Marathons, respectively.

“We are honored to have been chosen to host the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Marathon Championships,” said Sacramento Running Association executive director Scott Abbott.

“The California International Marathon is regarded as one of the top performance running events in the country, so it provides the perfect platform for the U.S. Marathon Championship competition.

“Sacramento has one of the best running communities in the United States, and we are a community, as a whole, that supports all different kids of sporting events exceptionally well, so we expect that there will be a lot of excitement around this event and that it will be a source of pride for our community.”

The Sacramento Running Association worked closely with the Sacramento Sports Commission and Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau on the bid as part of a slate of bids to bring numerous championship running events to the Sacramento area over the next two to three years.

“We are thrilled to partner with the California International Marathon and USA Track & Field to bring the U.S. Marathon Championships to Sacramento,” said Mike Sophia, director of the Sacramento Sports Commission.

“We have a tremendous running community and one of the truly great marathons in the country, so this is one of those events that is a perfect fit for our city and the sport.”

The Sacramento Running Association, organizers of the California International Marathon, has increased the prize purse by nearly $100,000 as compared to 2016 and added several opportunities for elite runners to earn more money through performance bonuses.

In addition to traditional performance bonuses for an American record time, course record time and U.S. Olympic Trials “A” and “B” standard times, runners will be vying for a bib guarantee bonus and attainable bib displacement bonuses.

Race organizers are experimenting with a new bonus structure that is based on pre-race credentials and the elite field seeding assignments, but will reward race-day performances.

“The seeding bonus is an exciting new addition to the CIM professional field’s bonus structure and we hope it will add another level of intrigue for race day,” said CIM elite coordinator Danielle Domenichelli.

“Then, to make things even more interesting, athletes will have the opportunity to prove they should have been seeded higher by earning the bib displacement bonus.”

CIM has historically hosted a performance-focused and deep, international championship field but the 2017 edition will be limited to American distance runners as a result of the U.S. Marathon Championships designation.

Race organizers expect the top American distance runners to travel to Sacramento to compete in CIM in both 2017 and 2018.

“By hosting the U.S. Marathon Championships, CIM will be center stage for professional marathoners from all over the country,” added Domenichelli.

“With CIM being one of the first opportunities to quality for the 2020 US Olympic Trials coupled with the large prize purse and the U.S. Championships, we expect a large competitive field and perhaps a few of the country’s most recognizable marathoners.”

Athletes who have attained the marathon championship time standards of sub 2:46 in the marathon or sub 1:18 in the half marathon for the women and sub 2:22 in the marathon and sub 1:07 in the half marathon for the men are eligible to apply for the championships. Athletes must also be American citizens currently eligible to represent the United States in international competition.

The Sacramento Running Association has long been one of the industry leaders in providing substantial prize money, performance bonuses and travel support for elite runners from all over the world participating in SRA races, including the California International Marathon and the SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run.

Last year, the Sacramento Running Association offered American Performance List bonuses to U.S. athletes whose 2016 CIM time placed them in the top 10 or top 25 at the end of the year. Additionally, in 2015, the SRA offered bonuses for U.S. runners achieving the Olympic Trials’ standards.

“These upcoming championships will add to a long and rich history of championship running in Sacramento, and the Sacramento Running Association is proud to be the force behind bringing these championships and continuing to drive the competitive sport of running in this community,” added Abbott.

The SRA also has a history of supporting elite long distance runners as they pursue Olympic, national, and regional success.

In 2012, the SRA established a training grant for local Sacramento-area runners who were Olympic hopefuls heading into the London Olympic Games. That support resulted in grant recipient Kim Conley making her first Olympic team.

In 2016, the SRA awarded nine athletes a total of $15,000 with the Olympic Hopeful grant. First-time U.S. Olympian Kate Grace was one of the grant recipients.

The U.S. Marathon Championships are part of the USATF Running Circuit, a road series featuring USATF Championships from one mile through the marathon. The series consistently attracts the best American distance runners with more than $500,000 to be awarded annually in total prize money.

For more information about the U.S. Marathon Championships at CIM, visit https://runsra.org/california-international-marathon/awards-elite/.

What Others Are Saying About the Announcement

Kim Conley – 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympian and Sacramento-area resident

“Sacramento has a rich history of hosting national and world class running events. As a high school runner I was thrilled to be able to come from Santa Rosa to Sacramento to watch my heroes run in the 2004 Olympic Trials. Ten years later, I had the honor of winning my first national title on the very same track at the US Track and Field Championships. As a professional runner who trains with the Sacramento based NorCal Distance Project, it makes me proud that Sacramento continues to offer elite, competitive opportunities that parallel the high level of competition my teammates and I seek. I couldn’t be more excited that our city and running community will play host to both the US Track and Field Championships and the US Marathon Championships this year.”

Lauren Jimison Totten – 2016 CIM, 3rd place and Sacramento-area native

“I believe the U.S. Marathon will have wonderful support (in Sacramento) and I really hope to be a part of it. SRA has really supported me well and takes such pride in supporting our sport. It would be an honor to race the U.S. Marathon Championships in Sacramento.”

Daniel Tapia – 2016 CIM, 3rd place and 2012 CIM, 1st place

“The great thing about hosting the marathon is that the conditions for CIM (in December) are usually perfect for record-fast times. This exposure will put Sacramento and CIM in the spotlight as a must-do race for elite athletes among other runners targeting fast times in the distance. Elite men and women alike can expect a relatively flat to gently rolling hills course with great spectators throughout the course and great weather to run fast times. I am excited for American distance running, particularly in the marathon, as adding CIM to the U.S. championship circuit is another step in the right direction to develop the sport.”

Sara Hall – 2016 NYC Marathon, 3rd American and Northern California native

“It’s great that one of California’s best races secured the U.S. Marathon Championships. It’s fantastic news for the Northern California running community.”

Ben Rosario – Coach/President Northern Arizona Elite

“I was thrilled to hear the news that CIM will be hosting the 2017 and 2018 USATF Marathon Championships. Our group enjoyed the entire 2016 race weekend experience and we would love to come back and do it all again next year with even bigger stakes on the line.”

About the Sacramento Running Association
The CIM is organized 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 completed Super Sunday Run and Credit Union SACTOWN Run, the Gold Rush 50k on May 14, the inaugural Gold Country Half on June 11, the Capital Cross Challenge on October 7 and the Run the Parkway on November 4.

Learn more at: runSRA.org

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track & field, long distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information, visit: usatf.org

About the USATF Running Circuit
The USATF Running Circuit is a USATF road series featuring USATF Championships from one mile through the marathon and consistently attracts the best American distance runners with more than $500,000 to be awarded in total prize money.

The mission of the USATF Running Circuit is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USATF Running Circuit and its races have provided more than $9 million to U.S. distance runners.