Dec. 7, 2014
For immediate release

On a day of speed, Mazuronak, Chemtai race past challengers

Volha Mazuronak’s surge down the stretch produced a women’s course record and Jacob Chemtai’s late move delivered a personal best en route to individual titles on a cool, fast Sunday at the California International Marathon.

Mazuronak, from Belarus, pulled away from Colfax’s Jane Kibii in the final seven miles to win the women’s race in 2 hours, 27 minutes and 33 seconds, shattering the 15-year-old course record of 2:29:21 set by Australian Nickey Carroll.

Chemtai, a Kenyan living in Santa Fe, N.M., dropped Zambia’s Jordan Chipangama and Kenyan Kiplangat Terer in the closing miles to win the men’s race in 2:11:57, the eighth-fastest time in the race’s 32-year history.

Fast times ruled the 26.2-mile route from near Folsom Dam to the state Capitol. There were 20 American women running faster than the 2:43 ‘B’ qualifying standard for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and 10 American men attaining the 2:18 ‘B’ standard.

The most impressive time of the day belonged to Mazuronak, who lives in New York City. She pulled away from Kibii at mile 19 and cruised home to win the $10,000 first prize and a $5,000 bonus for breaking the course record.

Kibii, a member of the Sacramento Running Association’s Elite Team, finished second in 2:32:24, with Kristen Zaitz of Broomfield, Colo. third in 2:32:49.

“Happy, very, very,” said Mazuronak, who speaks very little English.

Her running did plenty of talking. The 25-year-old passed the 10-mile mark with Kibii and pre-race favorite Renee Baillie close behind. Baillie soon faded, with Kibii hanging on until mile 19.

The rest was all Mazuronak, who dropped to the ground after crossing the finish before eventually breaking into a morning-long smile.

“It’s a great day when a runner breaks a venerable course record,” CIM race director Eli Asch said. “It was a great day to run fast and she took advantage of that.”

A field of approximately 6,000 marathon starters took advantage of temperatures in the 50s, with nearly 5,800 finishing. An estimated crowd of 50,000 lined the course, which runs through Folsom, Orangevale, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, Carmichael and Sacramento.

The CIM is put on by the Sacramento Running Association.

Kibii, who earned $5,000 for her runner-up finish, looked like she might pull off a big upset until her body started breaking down.

“I was feeling good,” she said. “I hit (19) miles, I felt something in my leg.

“She (Mazuronak) ran very smart.”

Mazuronak’s previous fastest marathon was a 2:33:33 performance last year in Poland.

Chemtai beat everyone home in the men’s race. A third-place finisher in the 2013 CIM, he waited until mile 22 to make his move, throwing in a pair of sub-5 minute miles to pull away from Chipangama and Terer along J Street in east Sacramento to earn his $10,000 payday.

Chipangama finished second in 2:13:51 and Terer third in 2:14:19.

“Last year I ran, it was very, very cold,” said Chemtai, who set a personal best for the second time this year. “This year, it was much nicer.

“At 22 miles, I tried to push. Nobody responded.”

Chipangama said Chemtai wanted to take a shot at Jerry Lawson’s men’s course record of 2:10:27 but waited too long to make a move.

“In the marathon, you really don’t know what’s going on in everybody’s muscles,” Chipangama said. “I knew he was a threat.”

Chemtai, 27, trains with the AmeriKenyan Running Club in Santa Fe, a group that includes Sarah Kiptoo and Nelson Oyugi. He won the Eugene Marathon in July with a 2:16:07 effort before winning the Des Moines Marathon in October with a then personal best 2:12:39.

“I like the course,” he said of the CIM. “It’s really nice.”

Those earning Olympic Trials qualifiers included Kaitlin Gregg Goodman, a former Davis High School and UC Davis graduate whose marathon debut produced a ninth-place finish in 2:39:29, well under the 2:43 qualifying mark.

“That was a lot harder than I even thought,” she said. “The finish was everything I imagined. I came around that (last) corner, I was crying.”

Jason Romero of Denver won the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes National Championships with a 2:51:16 performance. Houston’s Lisa Thompson won the USABA women’s title, clocking 3:27:58.

Ione’s Gerald Cuzick won the wheelchair race in 1:40:20.

Sacramento’s Rich Hanna, 50, set a 50-54 age-group record, running 2:36:33 to easily eclipse the old mark of 2:37:39 established by Herb Phillips in 1993. The American River College men’s team recorded the fastest time in the Bank of the West CIM Relay Challenge, finishing in 2:21:20.

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new 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.