Nov. 27, 2012
Twenty-seventh 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
After Dan Weiser came to town, the California International Marathon found itself on TV from start to finish for the first time.
Weiser, who had covered the Boston Marathon for a TV station in that market, decided to televise the CIM a few years after taking over as news director at KCRA.
His timing was good. KCRA’s first wire-to-wire broadcast of the CIM featured Kenya’s Jonathan Ndambuki edging Ethiopia’s Kassahun Kabiso by a single step in 2006.
“Having those shoulder-to-shoulder races is compelling TV,” said John Mansoor, the CIM’s race director.
Ironically, Dick Beardsley served as a commentator that year for KCRA, which also used Walt Gray, Deirdre Fitzpatrick and former American River College coach Al Baeta on its coverage team.
Beardsley was part of the most famous duel in marathon history, losing to Alberto Salazar by two seconds in the riveting ‘Duel in the Sun’ at the 1982 Boston Marathon.
This CIM delivered a dramatic duel of its own.
“It goes down as one of the best, most thrilling days I’ve ever worked in TV,” said Fitzpatrick, who worked from a live set at the finish line during the five-hour broadcast.
“They rounded the final corner at 8th and Capitol Mall and I thought Dick’s head was going to pop off. The four of us were out of our seats jumping and screaming like we were at a horse race.
“If there was anyone on the planet who could relate to Kabiso, it was Dick Beardsley, and his description of what Kabiso was likely feeling gives me chills to this day.”
KCRA also covered the CIM from start to finish in 2007 and 2008 before Weiser left.
“When he got out here, he said, ‘We’ve got to do this,’” Mansoor said. “Dan deserves all the credit for making it happen.
“They felt it was important to cover, a local sporting event as opposed to a national sporting event.”
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.