Kenya’s Erick Monyenye pulled away from the leaders’ pack just before mile 19 and won the 29th annual California International Marathon this morning, crossing the finish line at 9th and Capitol in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 50 seconds.
Ethiopia’s Serkalem Biset Abrha won the women’s race with a late kick, finishing in 2 hours, 33 minutes and 40 seconds.
“I saw that I was so strong I decided to push,” Monyenye said. “I tried to push with them. They don’t respond so I decided to go alone.”
Monyenye finished more than two minutes ahead of the second-place finisher American Ryan Bak, of Bend, Ore., who crossed in 2:14:17.
Biset Abrha, who trains in New York, outpaced countrywoman Atalelech Asfaw, who makes her home in Albuquerque, N.M., over the last two miles to win by 16 seconds.
“It’s nice,” said Biset Abrha. “Very happy.”
It was a successful day for American runners trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Eight U.S. men, including Roseville resident Tim Tollefson, ran under the 2:19 cutoff to qualify for the Trials, which will be held next month in Houston. Twenty-five U.S. women beat the 2:46 standard to qualify.
About 6,000 marathoners started the 26.2-mile event near Folsom Dam at 7 a.m., where temperatures were a brisk 28 degrees at start time. It warmed throughout the morning, though several of the top runners crossed the finish line coughing.
The course remains open until 1 p.m.
Live-blog from earlier today.
The California International Marathon runners left the starting line at 7 a.m. today amid below-freezing temperatures. The race route takes them from Folsom Dam to the finish at the state Capitol. Bee reporter Matt Kawahara has one of the best views, riding in the van in front of the runners. Get his dispatches here as the race progresses.
Kenyan runner Monyenye is the first of the male runners to cross the finish line at the state Capitol for the 29th annual California International Marathon.
Ethiopian Serkalem Biset-abrha won for the women.
9 a.m.: Kenya’s Monyenye holds commanding lead at Mile 23
At Mile 23, Monyenye has opened up a commanding lead.
The chase pack was several hundred yards behind by the time he crossed the bridge and started passing the numbered streets running down J Street through East Sacramento. When the pack reached 56th, Monyenye was already at 53rd.
We’re driving ahead to wait for the winners at the finish line at 9th and Capitol, and will have more from the winners, Olympic Trials qualifiers and others soon.
8:45 a.m.: Kenya’s Monyenye breaks away to open 120-yard lead
Kenya’s Monyenye, wearing bib No. 19, made a move just before the marker for Mile 19, breaking away from the rest of the pack up a gentle hill. Nobody followed, and Monyenye opened up an 80-yard lead on the rest of the pack.
Monyenye, in an orange shirt and green shoes, is running alone past Loehmann’s Plaza. Nearing Mile 21, he has stretched the lead to about 120 yards.
8:25 a.m.: Lead pack dwindles; American drops back
Past Mile 16, the pack has dwindled to four.
Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Alemayehu joins Kenya’s Erick Monyenye, Benson Cheruiyot and Joseph Mutinda.
Alemayehu finished third at CIM last year and Mutinda was fourth.
Macias, the American, has dropped back about 60 to 70 yards.
8:10 a.m., the halfway point: Lead pack remains at seven
The lead pack is still seven-deep at the halfway point. Their halfway split was 1 hour, 6 minutes and 51 seconds.
7:50 a.m.: Leaders looking comfortable as they near end of rolling hills
Heading into Fair Oaks Village, the lead pack is now seven, with Abuya having dropped back somewhat but still giving chase.
The leaders look like they’re running comfortably and are taking turns heading up the pack. They are nearing the end of the rolling hills that mark the course’s early stages.
The live band that greeted them at the beginning of the village featured a guy in a Santa hat on lead guitar.
7:30 a.m.: At Mile 6, nine runners distance themselves from the field
Near mile 6, a lead pack of eight marathoners and one relay runner has separated from the rest of the field.
Runners in the pack are Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Alemayehu; Kenya’s John Njorge, Joseph Mutinda, Erick Monyenye and Benson Cheruiyot; Americans Guor Marial and Mario Macias; and Jared Abuya, who trains in Colorado Springs.
A large crowd cheered the runners as they passed the first relay exchange. The lead pack is making its way down Fair Oaks Boulevard.
7:00 a.m.: Cold temperatures make for great running weather as race kicks off
Skies are clear for the beginning of this morning’s 29th annual California International Marathon.
An expected field of 8,000 marathoners and 4,000 relay runners left the starting line near Folsom Dam at 7 a.m., en route to the finish at the state Capitol. The first runners should cross the finish line around 9:15 a.m.
It appears the windy conditions of yesterday have died down this morning. Temperatures at the start of the race were just below freezing, around 28 degrees, according to the National Weather Service website.
Around 6 a.m., many runners were arriving at the start line in sweaters, jackets and long pants. Others braved the cold in shorts and T-shirts. Music pumped in on speakers near the starting line.
“This is great running weather,” said Roberto Andreos of Folsom, peeling off an outer layer. “Lovely.”
Andreos, 69, an attorney, said he would be running his 37th marathon and shooting to finish in under 4 hours and 30 minutes. “It’ll be my birthday celebration to myself,” he said.
Kathy Bare, 47, was getting ready to run her first marathon. “It’s just something I’ve wanted to do,” said Bare, of El Dorado Hills. “And I figured I’d better do it before I get any older.”
Spectators lined parts of the early stretch of the 26.2-mile course holding signs.
A lead pack of about a dozen runners was staying together at the front of the field through about a mile.