Race Preview: Cal International Marathon 2007, by Bob Burns


Cal International is one of those races, that unfortunately, gets taken for granted. The truth is the team, lead by John Mansoor and his team, have developed this event into a fine Winter marathon. The preview , by Bob Burns, a former Sacramento Bee reporter and
the man who survived both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials media centers, is nicely done. We hope that you enjoy!

Nov. 29, 2007

Race preview: Ndambuki returns to defend hard-won CIM title

After winning last year's by one second, Jonathan Ndambuki of Kenya
returns to defend his men's title in the California International
Marathon. The 25th annual CIM begins at 7 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 2) and
finishes on the Capitol Mall in downtown Sacramento.

Ndambuki won the 2006 CIM in 2 hours, 14 minutes and 58 seconds.
Kassahun Kabiso of Ethiopia was second in 2:14:59. That matched the
closest finish in CIM history - Steve Placensia defeated Keith Brntly by
one second (2:15:14 to 2:15:15) in 1992.

Kabis is also entered in this year's race. Other racers who could
contend are David Chepkony (personal best of 2:11:13) and Charles Njeru
Kamindo (2:15), both of Kenya; Alexksandr Vailyev of Russia (2:17:01);

With defending champion Alina Tecuta Gherasim withdrawing due to an
injury, the women's favorites are a pair of CIM veterans - Violetta
Kryza of Poland and Alena Vinitskaya of Belarus.

Kryza has a lifetime best of 2:31:54. The winner of 24 marathons
worldwide, Kryza finished second in the 2005 CIM and was third last

Vinitskaya won the 1998 CIM in 2:32:41 and was second in 2002, fourth in
2005 and fifth in 2003.

A number of American women will be aiming for a time under 2:47, the
qualifying standard for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. This
group of at least a dozen runners includes Johanna Olson, the
fifth-place finisher in the 2005 U.S. Championships with a best of 2:43,
and Molly Friel, the 2004 CIM runner-up with a 2:45:30 best.

Approximately 6,000 marathoners and 3,000 relay runners will compete in
Sunday's race on the 26.2-mile course that's considered one of the
fastest in the United States.

For more information on the California International Marathon, visit

For more on the sport in California, please check: http://www.caltrack.com

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