When Lauren Totten flew across the California International Marathon finish line after two hours, 35 minutes and 33 seconds, she and her husband broke an apparent record set on the same course four years previously.
Combined, the Tottens ran the CIM in four hours and 55 minutes Sunday, breaking a record believed to have been set by Tim and Lindsay Tollefson in 2013 as the fastest aggregate marathon time for an American married couple in the same race on the same day.
It was a good day for Northern Californians all around – Kaitlin Gregg Goodman of Davis placed fifth among the women with a personal best time of 2:32:08. The winning woman, Sara Hall, hails from Redding and blasted across the finish line with a time of 2:28:10. Malcolm Richards of San Francisco came in sixth among the men with a time of 2:13:28.
The 35th annual CIM started at 7 a.m. Sunday at Folsom Dam and roughly followed the American River for 26.2 miles to a finish in the shadow of the California State Capitol building. The race is organized by the Sacramento Running Association and about 11,000 were registered to compete, the event’s largest field ever.
Seth Totten, 26, waited for Lauren at the finish line, knowing she had to cross it under 2 hours and 39 minutes in order to beat the Tollefsons’ unofficial record of five hours.
“When I ran 2:19:30, the first thing I did was I did the math in my head and I was like ‘Okay, she’s got to run 2:39:30 and she should be able to do that,’” he said.
She succeeded with almost four minutes to spare, but they missed the mark for the Guinness World Records, set at 4:27:05 by a Kenyan couple at Paris’s Schneider Electric Marathon in April.
An El Dorado Hills native, Lauren Totten, 27, placed third at the CIM last year when she was Lauren Jimison. She and Seth married in February and they’ve since moved to Santa Barbara. This year’s CIM was his first marathon.
“In the marathon you have some dark moments – I’ve always heard that and it’s true – there’s a lot of parts in the marathon you don’t feel like you’re going to finish, you know,” Seth Totten said. “You get to 18, 19 miles and you’re like, ‘oh my gosh’ and I was just like, ‘I’ve got to finish for Lauren.’”
She ran the marathon in 2:35:33, placing eighth among the women.
“I didn’t know if he would ever do a marathon and if he did do a marathon, I didn’t know how it would go,” Lauren Totten said of her husband. “He’s a big guy and that’s a lot to be pounding on the road for 26.2 miles, so I’m just super proud of him and as I was out there running, I was thinking, ‘I hope that he has a really good day.’”
They’re both elite runners, though Seth primarily competes in the duathlon, which combines running with bicycling.
The Tottens are on SRA’s elite running teams and run a lot of the races the organization puts on. Seth Totten decided to run the CIM in recent weeks during a particularly good marathon simulation with Lauren and SRA near the fish hatchery on Hazel Avenue. On the way to the course Sunday morning, their shuttle took them past the hatchery, giving them both a little extra boost of excitement.
“When the bus on the way to the start line passes by places (where) we’ve done so much training and are near and dear to us ... it’s special,” he said. “This is an adopted home in a lot of ways for me ... The Sactown 10 in the spring is my favorite race of the whole year. It’s a chance to be home with my in-laws and it’s just home.”
Lauren Totten said she misses Sacramento because of the incomparable strength of the running community, spearheaded by the Sacramento Running Association and Fleet Feet Sports.
“I just don’t think there’s any other running community quite like this,” Lauren Totten said. “We have an entire support system for elites and there hasn’t been a time that I’ve done a workout out on the bike path where I haven’t been encouraged by somebody.”
And having friends along the race course doesn’t hurt. Fifth-place finisher Gregg Goodman, 30, said she used to train on the American River Parkway all the time in high school and college and the familiarity makes the race more fun.
“It’s always nice to be local and run at home because every one’s like, ‘Oh we know her’ or the Davis High girls were out cheering,” Gregg Goodman said. “I actually ran the last like two miles with an old UC Davis teammate.”
Next couples goal for the Tottens: fastest married pair in the same half marathon race on the same day.