Posted by: Joe English | November 27, 2007

Interview: California International Marathon Race Director John Mansoor

With the California International Marathon (CIM) quickly approaching, I sat down with CIM Race Director John Mansoor to talk about what makes this race so unique. John has been the race director for all 25 years that the race has been in existence, so he’s the expert on CIM. The race will be held on its traditional Folsom to Sacramento course on December 2nd 2007.

CJ: The California International Marathon is known for attracting quick runners and people trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. How did CIM get that way?

CIM was started by runners and we wanted to create a race that would be the “Boston of the West.” We looked for a fast course and have been very focused on putting on a race that would lead to fast times. In fact, CIM sends more runners to Boston than any other race than Boston itself. About 40% of our field would qualify for Boston. In the past, we’ve done surveys and found that about 25% of the runners here set new personal bests.

CJ: You say that the race was started by runners, how have runners had an on-going impact on the development of the race over the years?

Many of the improvements that we’ve made over the years have come from suggestions directly from runners. Our pace runner program is one those ideas that came from runner suggestions. We also took runner suggestions in doubling the number of aid stations on the course from the IAAF recommendation to the current number we have on the course to provide more support to the runners.

CJ: Tell me a little more about the pace running program. I think I remember Tim Twietmeyer being one of the pace runners last year and I also noticed you had a pace runner for the 2:47 women’s Olympic Qualifying Mark. This is a pretty cool program.

Yes, we have a lot of great ultrarunners here in the Sacramento area that use CIM to get ready for their racing seasons. Our idea about 5-6 years ago was to bring in some of the best of these ultrarunners to lead our pace groups. We have pace runners for all of the Boston Qualifying times, as well as some other popular finishing times.

Sometimes we do entertain a unique request from the field. Last year, there were several women trying to qualify for the US Olympic Trials so we did have a pacer for the 2:47:00 qualifying standard. This year we have about 25 women in the field trying to qualify for the Trials, so we will see a lot of fast women again.

CJ: My experience has been that the weather is almost always ideal at the CIM event. How did you arrive at the date for the race?

You’re right about that. The weather is perfect for running about 85% of the time and we’ve seen that be the case over the last 25 years of races.

When we were searching for a date we looked at the 100 year historical data for the weather here in Sacramento and picked a date with the most assurance of good weather. In 100 years, the weather has been predictably good this first weekend of December generally with no rain and cool temperatures.

CJ: Did you see an increase in registration this year after the problems with the heat at the Chicago Marathon?

No, but we’re trending about 40% higher this year and we should be close to our 6,000 runner cap.

CJ: Other than really speedy runners are there other groups of runners that might find CIM to be especially attractive to them?

We’ve seen a lot of new runners being introduced to the sport by charity running groups like Team in Training. After those runners have run their first marathon, they might want to think about CIM as a race where they can continue to improve and run a faster time. The course is well suited for it and we have all the support they would need to enjoy their next experience.

CJ: What are you doing these days outside of planning CIM?

I’ve been coaching high-school aged runners and last year I was proud to have coached a girl that was the tops in the nation in the mile (4:38). It’s been wonderful working with them, but I try very hard not to race them. They’re fast and fearless at that age.

Thank you to John Mansoor for taking the time for this illuminating interview! There will be more coverage here this week as the marathon approaches.

Related:
California International Marathon Home Page

Coach Joe’s 2006 CIM Race Report

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Responses

  1. […] Wild with Coach Joe Interview: California International Marathon Race Director Jim MansoorTraining: how does speed-work make you faster and how hard should intervals be?Races: Two new […]

  2. […] with Coach Joe Finishing CIM in 2006Races: Seattle Marathon in hot water over charity fundraisingInterview: California International Marathon Race Director Jim MansoorTraining: how does speed-work make you faster and how hard should intervals be?Races: Two new […]

  3. […] with Coach Joe Finishing CIM in 2006Races: Seattle Marathon in hot water over charity fundraisingInterview: California International Marathon Race Director Jim MansoorTraining: how does speed-work make you faster and how hard should intervals be?Races: Two new […]

  4. […] For my pre-race coverage, click here and for a great interview with Race Director Jim Mansoor, click here. […]

  5. […] See also: Interview: California International Marathon Race Director Jim Mansoor […]

  6. Hey Coach Joe – it’s John Mansoor, not Jim.

    Thanks for the cool interview – always fun to “hear” John. I am a 17-time CIM finisher, a CIM Board member and a CIM staff person, and havea a good perspective from which to report that the cIM has truly thrived under his dedicated management.

    Cynci

  7. Cynci,
    Thanks for pointing out this error. This has been fixed everywhere that it appears!

    Congratulations on putting on another great race.

    Joe

  8. […] You can read an interview with CIM’s race director from 2007, by clicking here. […]


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