After Timmy Brown and Angela House supplied the early energy for Sunday’s Credit Union SACTOWN Five- and Ten-Mile Run, Jordan Chipangama and Jane Kibii kept the momentum going by besting elite fields to win 10-mile individual titles.
Brown, a 5-year-old brain cancer survivor, ran in the Miracle Mile to start the festivities on a gorgeous day at the state Capitol. House, a 13-year-old leukemia patient, sang the national anthem before the five-mile run.
The SACTOWN event, put on by the Sacramento Running Association and sponsored by local credit unions, raised more than $200,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which includes UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
The race, which emulates the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run held in Washington, D.C. on the same day, has raised more than $600,000 in the last four years.
Chipangama, a 26-year-old Zambia native living in Flagstaff, Ariz., pulled away from Shadrack Biwott, the race’s defending champion, in the closing stretch down Capitol Mall from the Tower Bridge en route to a six-second victory in the men’s race.
“Shadrack has a good finish,” said Chipangama, who won in 48 minutes and 23 seconds. “I was trying to see how I would match up with him.
“He tried hard. I had more energy. I knew I had it.”
Chipangama, a nurse who hopes to become a U.S. citizen in time for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials next February in Los Angeles, said he enjoyed the crowds along the double loop course, which crossed into West Sacramento and around Raley Field before returning to the state Capitol.
“The support was great,” said Chipangama, who finished second in the California International Marathon here last December. “I loved it.”
Biwott, a former Sacramento Running Association standout who lives in Mammoth Lakes, finished second in 48:29. Former Davis High School and Stanford standout Brendan Gregg placed third in 48:33.
“It was a good race,” Biwott said. “That guy (Chipangama) had a kick.
“I love Sacramento. This is the place where I started running well … Great crowds, beautiful weather. I can’t complain.”
Biwott, 30, said he also has his eye on making the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team.
“I can’t wait until the Trials,” he said.
Kibii, a 30-year-old Kenya native living in Auburn, pulled away from Kristen Zaitz around the six-mile mark in the women’s race and cruised home in an event record 54:16.
Zaitz, from Broomfield, Colo., grabbed second in 55:11. Kaitlin Gregg Goodman, a former Davis High and UC Davis standout living in Providence, R.I., finished third in 56:24.
“About six miles, I’m like, ‘I’m going to push it,’” said Kibii, a member of the Sacramento Running Association’s Elite Team. “I started slow so I can pick it up.”
Kibii, who finished second to Olympian Kim Conley in the SACTOWN race last year, said she received a big confidence boost by finishing second in the 2014 CIM with a 2:32:24 effort.
“I didn’t train much,” said Kibii, who has doubled her weekly mileage from 40 to 80. “Now, I’m trying to put in mileage.”
Kibii said she enjoyed the crowd’s support.
“A lot of people said, ‘C’mon, Jane,’” she said.
Zaitz, 35, stayed right on Kibii’s shoulder through the halfway point but had no answer when Kibii made her move a mile later.
“I tried to stay with her, keep her in sight,” Zaitz said. “It was a really good race … My goal was to have a strong finish. I did that.
“The crowd was great.”
The event served as the 10-mile championship for USA Track & Field’s Pacific Association.
Reno’s Jaime Cabada won the men’s five-mile race in 29:19. Bria Wetsch from Mammoth Lakes claimed the women’s five-mile title in 32:18.
Brown and House reminded everyone of the cause behind the event.
Credit Unions for Kids is the brand under which America’s credit unions and affiliated organizations fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. To date, credit unions have raised more than $140 million since the introduction of the CU4Kids program back in 1996.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is an affiliation of children’s hospitals throughout the country. Each year these non-profit hospitals provide state-of-the-art care, cutting edge research and preventative health education.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals treat more than 17 million patients each year, including 98 percent of all children needing heart or lung transplants and 88 percent of all children with cancer.
The Sacramento Running Association is 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 Gold Rush 50k on May 9, the California International Marathon on Dec. 6 and the Super Sunday Run on Feb. 7.