Nearly 70 women will vie for the crown of USATF Marathon Championships winner in Sacramento this Sunday. Among those women are an Olympian, various U.S. road race champions, collegiate All-Americans, and a U.S. cross country champion. All of them aren’t only competing for the crown, but also for their piece of the biggest prize purse the California International Marathon has ever offered.
One of the most interesting runners in the field is Janet Bawcom. Back in 2012, Bawcom, a relative unknown leading into the season, had a breakout year running 2:29 for the marathon and competing for the U.S. at the London Olympics in the 10,000 meters. Bawcom, now 39, has kept a relatively low profile since then, but will still come into CIM with one of the fastest PR’s over 10k and the marathon.
Sara Hall is the other runner in the field with a resume the caliber of Bawcom’s, though she may be coming into CIM with a bit of a handicap. Only last month, Hall ran a personal best in the marathon with a 2:27 fifth place effort in the Frankfurt Marathon.
“It’s probably my best recovery after a marathon yet,” Hall told CITIUS MAG last week, which answers the obvious question, as there’s no doubt about her current fitness. If she’s true to her word, Hall, 34, will be one to beat.
The seasoned vets, though, aren’t the only ones to watch. Katie Matthews, who competes for BAA, will be making her marathon debut. A multiple-time All-American out of Boston University, Matthews has seen some post-collegiate success on the roads. In 2017, she has run 1:12:27 for 20k and clocked 1:30:51 over 25k.
The field isn’t without a few wildcards. Lauren Totten of El Dorado Hill, Calif, debuted in the marathon at Grandma’s in 2014, finishing in 2:35. She’s since lowered her PR to 2:33 in a third place finish at last year’s CIM. Ashley Brasovan is also an interesting player. She had early career success as a Foot Locker champion but struggled with injuries throughout college. The Florida native took some time off but ran 2:41 at CIM last year in her debut marathon. Look for all three of these women to be vying for a top five finish.
And what would a race preview be without a good darkhorse pick?
Kaitlin Goodman will be looking to replicate her 2014 CIM performance where she ran 2:39, good enough for ninth place. Coming into this race, though, she’ll be riding a wave of personal bests that bode well for a good performance in Sacramento. This season, Goodman lowered her track 10,000 meter personal best by six seconds (31:55), her 5,000 meter PR by 10 seconds, her road 5k by 30 seconds, her road 15k by 50 seconds, and her half marathon by 90 seconds. The trend? The farther the distance, the bigger the PR.
All these athletes, though, have their hay in the proverbial barn. The last thing to worry about in the world of things runners can’t control is the weather.
At race time Sunday morning, the temperature in Sacramento will be hovering in the low 40’s. The humidity will be 68% and there will be a breeze of about 11 miles per hour. Of all things fretted over in the meticulous — and oftentimes tedious — preparation for a marathon, the weather on December 3 will not be one of them.
We’ll see you there.