Nov. 8, 2012
Fourteenth 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.
A well-timed endorsement from Runner’s World gave the California International Marathon all the momentum it needed.
With enthusiasm building for the 100th Boston Marathon scheduled for April of 1996, and race officials capping entries for the historic race at 38,000, the magazine published a story late in 1994 on the best marathons to achieve a Boston qualifying time.
The CIM ranked fifth, thanks to its gently rolling hills, wide, well-paved streets with few turns, a net elevation drop, a runner-friendly atmosphere of a small city marathon and excellent race management.
"It sort of put us on the map," CIM race director John Mansoor said. "Suddenly everybody in the country knew about CIM.
“The article really let the rest of the country know about us. There was such a focus on trying to qualify for the 100th Boston. It sort of put us on the map and made us the place to do it.”
The CIM’s entries grew steadily after that, going from 2,400 in 1994 to an expected 9,300 entrants this year. The race’s biggest selling point remains its fast course and the lure of earning a Boston Marathon qualifying time or a personal best.
It helped, too, that George Hirsch, the publisher of Runner’s World, and Bart Yasso, the magazine’s Chief Running Officer, came out to CIM and ran personal bests.
“Anytime they talk about their own running, they always talk about CIM,” Mansoor said.
Runner’s World helped again in 2007, publishing a survey of Boston Marathon runners who listed CIM as a top choice to run as a qualifying race.
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.