Africans head men’s standouts; American seeks women’s win
Nov. 18, 2014 – A strong group of international runners heads the men’s field while a talented American runner looks like the favorite on the women’s side for the 32nd annual California International Marathon on Dec. 7.
Kenyans Julius Koskei, Eliud Ngetich and Jacob Chemtai, Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Alemayehu and Zambia’s Jordan Chipangama all appear capable of winning the men’s race and the $10,000 first prize on the 26.2-mile course from near Folsom Dam to the state Capitol.
Koskei, the 2013 CIM runnerup, owns a 2:10:14 personal best, the fastest time in the men’s field. Alemayehu, who lives in Antioch, has run 2:11:18, owns two top-three CIM finishes and is a two-time Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run champion.
Ngetich ran 2:11:59 in 2013 and Chemtai delivered a 2:12:39 performance earlier this year. Chipangama also stood out in 2014 with a 2:12:22 effort.
American Renee Baillee, from Bend, Ore., heads the women’s side on the strength of her 2:27:17 debut marathon at the 2012 Chicago Marathon, an effort that earned her eighth place. South African Tanith Maxwell owns a 2:32:33 best, American Jennifer Houck from Raleigh, N.C., has run 2:33:00 and Volha Mazuronak of Belarus comes in with a 2:33:33 personal best.
Kenyan Pasca Myers, who lives in Fort Dodge, Iowa, also looks like a serious contender for the $10,000 first prize after winning Grandma’s Marathon in June with a 2:33:43 effort.
The CIM, which begins at 7 a.m., is put on by the Sacramento Running Association.
“The California International Marathon is proud to have assembled another strong international elite field for its 32nd annual edition,” race director Eli Asch said. “In the men’s competition, Alemayehu and Koskei figure to be among the favorites.
“On the women’s side, Baillee could take home the $5,000 course record bonus on a good day. But Myers should challenge.”
Alemayehu said he was ready to break through at the CIM after finishing third in 2010 with a 2:13:59 effort and second in a rainy, windy 2012 race with a 2:17:06 performance.
“My training has been good,” said Alemayehu, who won his SACTOWN titles in 2012 and 2013. “I am preparing well. I like the course. It’s flat.
“I would like to win that race.”
Baillee turned heads with her Chicago debut. If all goes well, her second marathon could produce a victory and a legitimate shot at Australian Nickey Carroll’s course record of 2:29:21 set in 1999.
“Obviously, my first one went spectacularly,” Baillee said. “That makes me, in some ways, more nervous. Now I have this 2:27 … I do feel pressure.
“I’m going in to win.”
Baillee’s biggest challenger looks like Myers, a nursing student and the younger sister of two-time Kenya Olympian Rose Cheruiyot.
Myers finished fourth last year at the CIM (2:37:25) but strengthened her credentials with her big victory at Grandma’s.
“Last year, I didn’t know the course well,” she said. “This year, I know the course well. I’m planning to go slower.
“I feel good and everything’s going well. I think I have a chance.”
A look at the elite field for the California International Marathon, with ages and personal bests:
Renee Baillie, 32, USA, 2:27:17; Tanith Maxwell, 38, South Africa, 2:32:33; Jennifer Houck, 30, USA, 2:33:00; Pasca Myers, 28, Kenya, 2:33:43; Volha Mazuronak, 25, Belarus, 2:33:33; Alvina Begay, 34, USA, 2:37:14; Leah Thorvilson, 35, USA, 2:37:26; Lindsey Scherf, 2:41:31; USA, 2:37:26; Kristen Zaitz, 34, USA, 2:37:50; Polina Carlson, 27, USA, 2:38:15; Brett Ely, 35, USA, 2:38:53; Devon Yanko, 32, USA, 2:38:55; Amber Green, 34, USA, 2:40:04; Jane Kibii, 29, Kenya, 2:40:12; Sopagna Eap, 33, USA, 2:40:19; Emily Jameson, 37, USA, 2:40:35; Alexandra Blake, 31, USA, 2:40:36; Addie Bracy, 28, USA, 2:41:29; Nicole Feest, 31, USA, 2:41:09; Lindsay Tollefson, 29, USA , 2:41:31; Kara Lubieniecki, 25, USA, Debut; Emma Kertesz, 24, USA, Debut; Kaitlin Gregg Goodman, 27, USA, Debut; Stephanie Price, 25, USA, Debut; Katja Goldring, 24, USA, Debut; Brooke Kish, 38, USA, Debut.