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California International Marathon, the USA Marathon Championship, Recap



By David Monti - Race Results Weekly - shared with permission

Finishers: 3862 men + 3426 women = 7288 total (up from 6175 last year)

SACRAMENTO (03-Dec) -- In sunny, windless and cool conditions, Sara Hall of Redding, Calif., and Timothy Ritchie of New Haven, Conn., clinched the 2017 USATF Marathon titles at the California International Marathon here this morning.  Hall, 34, bounced back from a 2:27:21 personal best performance at the BMW Frankfurt Marathon five weeks ago, to run away from the field here in 2:28:10, the second fastest winning time in the 35-year history of the race. Ritchie, 30, scored a come-from-behind win in a tactical race, running a career best 2:11:55 and winning his first-ever national title at any distance.  Both athletes earned $20,000 in prize money plus time bonuses.


Hall immediately made her intentions known from the 7:00 a.m. start at Folsom Dam, scooting away from the field in the early kilometers.  Aided by the downhills in the opening stages of the race, Hall hit the 10-K mark alone in 34:44, one minute and 12 seconds ahead of her nearest chasers.  Hall said she felt comfortable and had the course record of 2:27:33 on her mind.

"I just wanted to run the right pace for me," Hall told Race Results Weekly.  "I thought, maybe I could get the course record if everything went well.  I wanted to put myself in a position to do that."

Hall was still under course record pace at the halfway mark (1:13:38), but only just.  She had the race well in hand (her lead had swelled to two and a half minutes), so she continued to focus on the record.  But, by the time she got to the 20 mile mark (1:52:37) the arithmetic was against her.  She'd need to run the last 10 kilometers in 34:56, and that wasn't possible.  With the course record out the window, she shifted her thinking to what really matters at a national championships: winning.

"I'm really pleased with how I ran," Hall observed.  "I wouldn't have been able to lead gun to wire in a marathon a couple of years ago. So, I feel like that was, for me, what I needed to get out of this race, just continuing to work on running it different ways."

With her victory, Hall becomes the first American to win USA road running titles at both the mile (2011) and the marathon, showing her unusual range.

"I tried to follow what I was passionate about at the time," Hall explained.  She continued: "It's really fun to feel rejuvenated in my career.  I think this is my favorite year so far."

Behind Hall, 39 year-old Roberta Groner of Randolph, N.J., had a breakthrough race, dropping her personal best by six minutes to 2:30:38.  Third place went to another veteran, Carrie Dimoff, 34, of Portland, Ore., who also landed a personal best of 2:30:54.  Samantha Bluske, 26, of Toledo, Ohio, was fourth in 2:31:56 PB, and Kaitlin Goodman, 30, of Providence, R.I., 2:32:08 PB, rounded out the top-5.  Goodman grew up in nearby Davis, Calif.

Remarkably, 13 women finished under 2:37:00, the "A" qualifying standard for the 2020 USA Olympic Team Trials Marathon, while another 38 ran under 2:45:00, the "B" standard.  All "A" standard athletes were given a $1500 bonus in addition to their prize money, while the "B" qualifiers received $500.


Unlike Hall, Ritchie did not seek the lead in the early stages of the race.  Instead, he stayed at the back of the main pack while marathon debutante, Parker Stinson of Boulder, Colo., forged his own path up the road.  Stinson, 25, wearing a black fleece hat pulled low and black gloves to ward off the early morning chill, pushed through the first mile in 4:56, and the second mile in 4:53, leaving the rest of the field well behind.  His lead grew with every stride.  He hit 10-K in 30:26, halfway in 1:04:41, and put a minute and 22 seconds ahead of his nearest chaser, Jon Grey of Louisville, Colo., and more than two minutes ahead of Ritchie and the main field.

Stinson said that his pace felt comfortable, especially because he had just come down from altitude.  He admitted that it might have felt too comfortable.

"Sometimes when you come down from altitude that's the way of it, though," Stinson told Race Results Weekly.  "I felt so good, I felt so good breathing, felt so comfortable."

Ritchie couldn't see Stinson, but could see Grey up the road.  Nonetheless, he wasn't focused on either one of them. He was just trying to stay within himself and run his own pace.

"Honestly, for the first 20 miles I was only thinking of myself," Ritchie told Race Results Weekly.  "It was just like, try to stick to my game plan.  I've had some rough last 10-K's in my last two marathons, but I wanted to be patient and get to 20 miles knowing I had more to give."

By mile 18, Stinson had slowed to a 5:08 mile pace, and Grey was making up ground.  At the 19-mile mark, just past 30-K, Grey was 44 seconds behind Stinson.  But like in a bicycle race, the main pack had awakened and they were just nine seconds down on Grey and closing fast.  Grey was quickly overtaken, and later admitted that he probably committed too early to catching Stinson.  He would fade to 45th place at the finish in 2:20:08.

"I committed," Grey told Race Results Weekly.  "For better or worse, my coach and I agreed, that I'm the type of person where I'm a committer.  I'm not going to back down.  I knew Parker at some point was probably going to come back.  Yes, he eventually did, but I didn't get to reap the rewards of that."

In the 22nd mile, disaster struck for Stinson.  He got a serious pain on the right side of has abdomen, and was forced to stop.  He tried to rub it out and was able to resume running, but he knew his chances for a good result today were over.

"My legs started to catch up to me," Stinson said.  "My legs started to get really tight."  He continued: "Around mile 14 my right calf got really tight.  I tried to ride it out, but it kept getting worse and worse.  At 20 or 21, I got this really bad ab pain for a second.  I had to stop and walk for maybe 20 or 30 seconds.   There was barely anything I could do.  I just wanted to finish at that point."


Ritchie, with Tyler McCandless of of Boulder, Colo., and Kiya Dandena of Flagstaff, Ariz., shot past the struggling Stinson at about the 23 mile mark, then Ritchie stepped on the gas to try to put away McCandless.  He split 4:51 for mile 24 to take control of the race.

"At 20, 21 where the race really started to happen, I just put my head down and made it happen," Ritchie said.  "I had to do something to really break it open.  You know, you make those moves and you don't know if you can do it again for 25 or 26, but you've just got to trust that you'll find the strength when the time comes."

Ritchie strode confidently to the finish line in Downtown Sacramento, punching the finish tape with his right hand as he broke it.  His time of 2:11:55 was a nearly three-minute improvement over his previous best (2:14:50).  McCandless got second in 2:12:28 and Dandena got third in 2:12:56, both personal bests.  Fourth place went to Anthony Costales, 29, of Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2:13:13, and fifth place went to Samuel Kosgei, 33, of Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2:13:25.  Stinson finished 31st in 2:18:07.

As in the women's race, there were 2020 Olympic Trials qualifiers in spades.  Ten men broke the "A" standard of 2:15:00, while another 27 got under the "B" standard of 2:19:00.

While the California International Marathon has a gently downhill course which is not eligible for record-setting (it drops by 2.45 meters per kilometer, two and one-half times what is allowable for record-setting), it was probably the near-perfect weather which contributed most to today's performances.  It was 44F/7C at the start, warming up to about 55F/13C at the finish with no wind and low humidity.

"It was immaculate conditions," remarked Stephanie Bruce the 10th place finisher from last month's TCS New York City Marathon.

1. Timothy Ritchie, 30, New Haven, CT      2:11:55 PB  $20,000 + 1500a
2. Tyler McCandless, 31, Boulder, CO       2:12:28 PB   12,500 + 1500a
3. Kiya Dandena, 28, Flagstaff, AZ         2:12:56 PB    9,000 + 1500a
4. Anthony Costales, 29, Salt Lake City, UT2:13:13 PB    6,500 + 1500a
5. Samuel Kosgei, 33, Colorado Springs, CO 2:13:25 PB    5,000 + 1500a
6. Malcolm Richards, 35, San Francisco, CA 2:13:29 PB    4,000 + 1500a
7. Craig Leon, 33, Eugene, OR              2:13:40 PB    3,000 + 1500a
8. Christopher Zablocki, 29, Essex, CT     2:13:45 PB    2,000 + 1500a
9. Tim Young, 30, Fredericksburg, VA       2:14:15 PB    1,000 + 1500a
10. Nathan Martin, 27                       2:14:35 PB      500 + 1500a
11. Colin Leak, 31                          2:15:34 PB      500b
12. Johnny Crain, 25, Blowing Rock, NC     2:15:46 DB      500b
13. David Sinclair, 25                      2:16:18 PB      500b
14. Nico Montanez, 24                       2:16:26 PB      500b
15. Eric Finan, 28                          2:16:42 PB      500b
16. Daniel Tapia, 31                        2:16:44         500b
17. Gregory Leak, 29                        2:16:57 PB      500b
18. Will Nation, 25, Austin, TX             2:16:59 PB      500b
19. Rajpaul Pannu, 26                       2:17:06 PB      500b
20. Fernando Cabada, 35, Colorado Spgs, CO  2:17:07         500b
21. Jonathan Aziz, 26                       2:17:15 PB      500b
22. Patrick Rizzo, 34                       2:17:28         500b
23. Jameson Mora, 33                        2:17:34         500b
24. Ramiro Guillen, 35                      2:17:35 PB      500b
25. Eric Loeffler, 40, Minneapolis, MN      2:17:36         500b
26. Mason Frank, 28                         2:17:41 PB      500b
27. Matthew Fecht, 34                       2:17:41 PB      500b
28. Kyle Stanton, 26                        2:17:50 PB      500b
29. Chris Chavez, 31                        2:18:01         500b
30. Christian Thompson, 29                  2:18:02 PB      500b
31. Parker Stinson, 25, Boulder, CO         2:18:07 DB      500b
32. Brandon Johnson, 29                     2:18:14 PB      500b
33. Enoch Nadler, 32                        2:18:18 PB      500b
34. Evan Schwartz, 24                       2:18:19 PB      500b
35. Steven Tyler Underwood, 30              2:18:22 PB      500b
36. Craig Hunt, 26                          2:18:25 PB      500b
37. Matthew McDonald, 24                    2:18:33 PB      500b
38. Sergio Reyes, 36, Palmdale, CA          2:18:50         500b
a = Earned $1500 bonus for making 2020 USA Olympic Trials "A" qualifying standard (2:15:00 or better)
b = Earned $1500 bonus for making 2020 USA Olympic Trials "B" qualifying standard (2:15:01 to 2:19:00)
Athletes in bold have received an RRCA Roads Scholar grant or attended RunPro Camp.

1. Sara Hall, 34, Redding, CA              2:28:10   $20,000 + 1500a
2. Roberta Groner, 39, Randolph, NJ        2:30:37 PB 12,500 + 1500a
3. Carrie Dimoff, 34, Portland, OR         2:30:53 PB  9,000 + 1500a
4. Samantha Bluske, 26, Toledo, OH         2:31:55 PB  6,500 + 1500a
5. Kaitlin Goodman, 30, Providence, RI     2:32:08 PB  5,000 + 1500a
6. Kelsey Bruce, 25                        2:34:03 PB  4,000 + 1500a
7. Janet Bawcom, 39, Flagstaff, AZ         2:35:20     3,000 + 1500a
8. Madeline Duhon, 28                      2:35:28 PB  2,000 + 1500a
9. Lauren Totten, 27                       2:35:33     1,000 + 1500a
10. Dawn Grunnagle, 40, Dallas, TX          2:35:43 PB    500 + 1500a
11. Nicole Dimercurio, 26, Blowing Rock, NC 2:36:03 PB  1500a
12. Bridget Lyons, 29, Fairburn, GA         2:36:25 PB  1500a
13. Gabi Anzalone, 24,                      2:36:46 PB  1500a
14. Meghan Peyton, 31, Richfield, MN        2:37:33      500a
15. Lauren Masterson, 26                    2:37:41 PB   500a
16. Sarah Pease, 30                         2:38:20 PB   500a
17. Katie Matthews, 27, Brighton, MA        2:38:39 DB   500a
18. Lyndy Davis, 27                         2:39:06 PB   500a
19. Ashley Brasovan, 26                     2:40:19 PB   500a
20. Heather Lieberg, 38, Helena, MT         2:40:38      500a
21. Katie Kellner, 26, Boston, MA           2:41:07 PB   500a
22. Sabrina Lopez, 27, Alhambra, CA         2:42:16 PB   500a
23. Sallie Post, 30                         2:41:28 PB   500a
24. Amy Schnittger, 27                      2:41:33 PB   500a
25. Laura Paulsen, 28                       2:41:55      500a
26. Regina Lopez, 27, Alhambra, CA          2:42:07 PB   500a
27. Shawna McClain, 35                      2:42:17 PB   500a
28. Carla Bourque, 48,                      2:42:28 PB   500a
29. Jenny Bergman, 26                       2:42:31 PB   500a
30. Gina Rouse, 38,                         2:42:40 PB   500a
31. Kate Landau, 41                         2:42:40      500a
32. Kris Lawrence, 37, Virginia Beach, VA   2:42:46 PB   500a
33. Sarah Bishop, 35, Fairfax, VA           2:42:46 PB   500a
34. Courtney Olsen, 30                      2:42:47 PB   500a
35. Sophia Liu, 34                          2:42:54 PB   500a
36. Jenelle Deatherage, 40                  2:42:59      500a
37. Christine Shaw, 32                      2:43:03      500a
38. Autumn Ray, 37                          2:43:10      500a
39. Jeannette Faber, 35                     2:43:11      500a
40. Kate DeProsperis, 38                    2:43:11      500a
41. Lauren Philbrook, 30                    2:43:16      500a
42. Lindsay Tollefson, 32, Mammoth Lakes, CA2:43:18      500a
43. Elizabeth Camy, 34                      2:43:29 PB   500a
44. Lacey Krout, 28                         2:43:48 PB   500a
45. Jessica McGuire, 37                     2:43:59 PB   500a
46. Molly Friel, 50                         2:44:00      500a
47. Julia Roman-Duval, 35                   2:44:08      500a
48. Lauren Floris, 27                       2:44:18 PB   500a
49. Theresa Hailey, 29                      2:44:19 PB   500a
50. Amanda Cruise, 34                       2:44:45 PB   500a
51. Raquel Stucky, 42                       2:44:50      500a
52. Bryanne Lauck, 38, Phoenix, AZ          2:44:54      500a
53. AnnMarie Kirkpatrick, 36, Ft. Collins,CO2:44:55      500a
a = Earned $1500 bonus for making 2020 USA Olympic Trials "A" qualifying standard (2:37:00 or better)
b = Earned $1500 bonus for making 2020 USA Olympic Trials "B" qualifying standard (2:37:01 to 2:45:00)
Athletes in bold have received an RRCA Roads Scholar grant or attended RunPro Camp.

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