December 4, 2014
Renee Baillie sounds ready, eager to come to Sacramento and produce a fast time, a victory and a course record in Sunday’s California International Marathon.
Nickey Carroll’s women’s course mark of 2 hours 29 minutes and 21 seconds, set in 1999, appears in serious jeopardy in the 32nd annual race from near Folsom Dam to the state Capitol.
The forecast calls for cool, dry conditions, with temperatures in the upper 40s at the start and 50s at the finish. Baillie, a 32-year-old from Bend, Ore., appears well prepared to deliver a record run.
Her first marathon, a 2:27:17 effort in Chicago in 2012, was the fifth fastest debut by an American woman. And while Baillie still has a healthy respect for the 26.2-mile distance, she’s not afraid to take on a challenge.
“I’m ready to go,” she said. “I’m pretty excited. I want to go and run for a time and a course record and for the win.
“I had a very similar buildup for Chicago that I’ve had for CIM.”
The men’s and women’s winners receive $10,000 each. There is also a $5,000 bonus for breaking the course record.
The CIM, put on by the Sacramento Running Association, begins at 7 a.m.
Baillie, who has qualified for five World Cross Country teams, struggled with a chronic Achilles problem before undergoing surgery in Sweden in 2011. She didn’t make it to the final in the women’s 5,000 meters at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, but then bounced back three months later to win the USA 20K Championships in September before delivering her Chicago breakthrough in October.
“I don’t want to disappoint myself or anyone else,” she said. “The marathon, I still have some healthy fear of it. I’ve watched enough marathons over the last few years to know when it goes wrong, it isn’t pretty.
“I do identify with the marathon. I think it’s going to be my race.”
Baillie, 32, hopes to use the CIM to prepare for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. She’s hoping to do some racing on Sunday; Volha Mazuronak (2:33:33) of Belarus and Kenyan Pasca Myers (2:33:43) hope they can oblige.
“I want to practice racing,” she said. “I feel CIM, I can bring what I love most about racing into my marathon running. I love to compete.”
Baillie plans to come to Sacramento with several other runners from Bend.
“That’s what makes CIM so special,” she said. “I’m a West Coaster. We like to support each other.
“I planned my second one (marathon). I wanted a fast course and a place that would support me.”
Sacramento Running Association standouts Jane Kibii, a Kenyan living in Colfax, and Lindsay Tollefson, a former Chico State star and Lincoln resident living in Mammoth Lakes, hope to push the favorites. Kibii won both the 10k and 5k races on Thanksgiving Day at the Run To Feed the Hungry in Sacramento.
The men’s race features five runners who have gone under 2:13, suggesting a strategic battle that could keep Jerry Lawson’s men’s course mark of 2:10:27 (1993) safe for another year.
Kenyans Julius Koskei (2:10:14), Eliud Ngetich (2:11:59) and Jacob Chemtai (2:12:39), Ethiopian Tesfaye Alemayehu (2:11:18) and Zambia’s Jordan Chipangama (2:12:22) look like the top contenders, with Americans Clint Verran (2:14:12) and Drew Polley (2:14:58) hoping to break into the mix.
Alemayehu, who lives in Antioch, knows Sacramento well. He finished third in the CIM in 2010 and second in 2012. He also won the Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run in 2012 and 2013.
“I always want to win the California International Marathon,” Alemayehu said.
Chemtai and Chipangama delivered their marathon bests earlier this year. Koskei recorded a 1:02:17 half marathon in March.
The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new 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.
A look at the elite field for the California International Marathon, with ages and personal bests:
Julius Koskei, 32, Kenya, 2:10:14; Tesfaye Alemayehu, 30, Ethiopia, 2:11:18; Eliud Ngetich, 21, Kenya, 2:11:59; Jordan Chipangama, 26, Zambia, 2:12:22; Jacob Chemtai, 27, Kenya, 2:12:39; Kiplangat Terer, 28, Kenya, 2:14:04; Clint Verran, 39, USA, 2:14:12; Drew Polley, 29, USA, 2:14:58; Jameson Mora, 30, USA, 2:15:44; Mario Macias, 32, USA, 2:15:55; Jesse Cherry, 28, USA, 2:16:31; Carlos Carballo, 32, USA, 2:17:05; Donnie Fellows, 35, USA, 2:17:30; Bret Fransen, 33, USA, 2:17:38; Cesar Lizano, 32, Costa Rica, 2:17:50; Matthew Fecht, 31, USA, 2:18:19; David Laney, 26, USA, 2:18:23; Brendan Martin, 25, USA, 2:18:28; Eric Loeffler, 37, USA, 2:18:36; Will Christian, 31, USA; 2:19:13; Chris Chavez, 28, USA, 2:19:20; Dionisio Castillo Calvarin, 32, Mexico, 2:19:31; Tyler Andrews, 24, USA, 2:20:27; Evan Gaynor, 26, USA, 2:20:35; Herbert Okut, 29, Uganda, 2:22:34; Jeremy Freed, 27, USA, Debut; Gregory Leak, 26, USA, Debut.
Renee Baillie, 32, USA, 2:27:17; Volha Mazuronak, 25, Belarus, 2:33:33; Pasca Myers, 28, Kenya, 2:33:43; Leah Thorvilson, 35, 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; Lisa Baumert, 27, USA, 2:41:17; Addie Bracy, 28, USA, 2:41:29; Lindsay Tollefson, 29, USA , 2:41:31; Heather Tanner, 36, USA, 2:42:19; Elizabeth Northern, 27, USA, 2:42:36; Michelle Meyer, USA, 2:43:09; 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.