Jacob Chemtai, a Kenyan who lives in Santa Fe, won the 32nd annual California International Marathon and Volha Mazuronak of Belarus set a course record to win the women's race in the Folsom-to-Sacramento event.
Chemtai pulled away from the lead pack near the 22-mile marker and finished in an unofficial time of 2:12:02.
Mazuronak posted an unofficial time of 2:27:34 to break the course record of 2:29:21 set by Australia's Nickey Carroll in 1999.
Jordan Chipangama of Zambia and Kiplangat Terer of Kenya finished second and third, repectively, in the men's race. Jane Kibii, a Kenyan who lives in Colfax, finished second in the women's race.
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They were among the more than 9,000 runners who started the race at dawn in Folsom, a running throng of humanity set off on a gently rolling course toward downtown Sacramento and the finish line at the state Capitol.
The event, in its 32nd year, is considered a fast-paced marathon, one that has led runners through spectator-lined streets in Orangevale, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, Carmichael before reaching the finish line.
The race started at the break of dawn, not long after race competitor and veteran ultra-marathoner Chris Benjamin wolfed down his pre-race meal: electrolytes, salt tablets, a banana and a protein bar chased by a swig of Pepto-Bismol.
“This brings out really good memories,” said Benjamin, 39, a Kansas City attorney who last ran the CIM in 2006 en route to his current total of 22 marathons and seven endurance races of 100 miles or more. “It’s a fast course and very well supported with people coming out to cheer us on – and with a beautiful finish line.”
While Benjamin was aiming to shatter his lifetime marathon best in hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, Sacramento resident Alex Reynaga was living vicariously through his wife, Teresa, a nurse at UC Davis Medical Center.
“This is her first marathon,” Reynaga said. “She has run eight half marathons, and now this is her bucket list.”
As Teresa Reynaga, 42, tackles the course, Alex, 43, wasn’t planning to miss a stride. He was to cheer her on through technology as a satellite watch she is wearing signals her location, “her every step, her heart rate and her pace.”
So with their dog Oliver, a fluffy white Westie, Alex was traveling ahead and positioning himself to catch his wife at the 10-mile, 20-mile and finish-line locations.
For Doug Metzer, 33, of Sacramento and his posse of running friends, the race is less tactical than celebratory. He set off today with pals Adam Rice, 34, Geoff McCaffrey, 29, Levi Young, 34, and Alyssa Rasmussen, 32. They planned to hang close together throughout the course.
“This is the first time the entire group has come together,” Metzer said. “It’s pretty goofy, more than competitive. For us, it’s pretty much a giant comedy festival.”
Call The Bee’s Peter Hecht, (916) 326-5539