Elite Athletes Return to Competition, Chase Personal Bests at the 2021 California International Marathon

November 19, 2021

Obsie Birru and Cj Albertson lead CIM elite field on Sunday, December 5

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – November 19, 2021 /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – The 38th annual California International Marathon returns familiar faces, up-and-coming marathoners, and a pair of local marathon favorites on Sunday, December 5 after a missed year of competition. Obsie Birru and Cj Albertson both return to lead the field at the 2021 California International Marathon in Sacramento, looking to improve upon their second place finishes from two years ago.

“We are thrilled to welcome a great field of elite athletes to the ‘Comeback Edition’ of CIM.  Not only is it a ‘comeback’ for our event, but we are excited to see so many top marathoners using CIM as their ‘comeback’ race,” said Scott Abbott, Sacramento Running Association Executive Director.

“There are a number of established veterans that appear to be in a spot to challenge some of the fastest times we have ever seen at CIM, as well as emerging professionals that will use this opportunity to put their names on the map entering the next Olympic cycle,” added Abbott. “CIM has traditionally been a platform for developing professional marathoners to have career launching, building, or defining performances, and this year’s elite field encompasses that same spirit.”

The women’s elite field is led by Obsie Birru of Phoenix, Ariz., who returns to CIM looking to best her 2:30:25 second place finish from 2019. Birru will be challenged by a pair of seasoned CIM veterans, Katja Goldring (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Carrie Dimoff (Portland, Ore.), who hold personal best times of 2:31:20 and 2:30:54, respectively.

CIM newcomer Molly Grabill of Superior, Colo. will also be one to look for up front. Grabill enters CIM with a personal best time of 2:35:07 from the 2019 Grandma’s Marathon, her debut marathon. Having set a personal best half-marathon time of 1:10:43 earlier this month at the Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon, Grabill looks poised for a breakout marathon.

“I am excited to race CIM as I have heard a lot of positive things about this race. SRA does a great job putting on this event. I am looking forward to chasing my PR on this course,” Grabill said.

Favorites to win the men’s race include Kenyan native Milton Rotich and the 2019 CIM runner-up, Cj Albertson of Clovis, Calif. Rotich holds a personal best marathon time of 2:08:55 and is coming off a marathon win over Albertson at Minnesota’s Grandma’s Marathon in June of this year. Albertson will look to improve upon his personal best time of 2:11:18, while also chasing the CIM first place crown and course record of 2:10:27.

Rotich and Albertson will be challenged by a duo of Sacramento-area professional athletes, Brendan Gregg of Davis, Calif. and Shadrack Biwott of Folsom, Calif.  Both Gregg and Biwott are often spotted along the local American River Parkway training path and hold personal bests of 2:11:38 and 2:12:01, respectively.

“I’m thrilled to be back at CIM and to be lining up shoulder to shoulder with the thousands of others making our way from Folsom to the Capitol,” said Brendan Gregg. “It will be such a welcome return to see friends, family, and the greater community of runners out in full on the streets together again, and I’m delighted for the chance to work together with the rest of the pro field to produce a race to remember.”

The men’s and women’s elite field will compete for the $65,000 total prize purse, including bonuses for setting a new course record. The current CIM course records are 2:10.27 for males, set in 1993 by Jerry Lawson and 2:27:33 for females, set by Volha Mazuronak in 2014.

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding 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.

2021 CIM Elite Field:

Female Athletes

Obsie Birru, 2:30:25, USA
Carrie Dimoff, 2:30:54, USA
Katja Goldring, 2:31:20, USA
Marci Klimek, 2:33:33, USA
Molly Culver, 2:33:57, USA
Gisela Olalde, 2:34:09, MEX
Hiruni Wijayaratne, 2:34:10, LKA
Sylvia Bedford, 2:34:17, USA
McKale Montgomery, 2:34:36, USA
Molly Grabill, 2:35:07, USA
Brittany Moran, 2:36:23, CAN
Autumn Ray, 2:37:00, USA
Rachel Hyland, 2:37:20, USA
Joanna Reyes, 2:37:42, USA
Addi Zerrenner, 2:37:47, USA
Nina Zarina, 2:37:52, RUS
Kari Hamilton, 2:38:52, USA
Desiree Berry, 2:39:17, USA
Laura Paulsen, 2:39:54, USA
Sarah Bishop, 2:39:59, USA
Mara Olson, 2:40:00, USA
Ashley Paulson, 2:40:07, USA
Aubrey Lemine, 2:40:14, USA
Ziyang Liu, 2:40:17, CHN
Amanda Scott, 2:40:30, USA
Emma Kertesz, 2:40:56, USA
Kir Selert Faraud, 2:41:21, USA
Lindsay Tollefson, 2:41:31, USA
Jessica Allen, 2:41:34, USA
Jo Butler, 2:41:57, USA
Erika Fluehr, 2:42:10, USA
Lizzy Rountree, 2:42:14, USA
Sara Vaughn, Debut, USA
Grace Graham-Zamudio, Debut, USA
Abbie McNulty, Debut, USA
Kathryn Fluehr, Debut, USA
Jenica Seawell, Debut, USA

Male Athletes

Milton Rotich, 2:08:55, KEN
Mulue Andom, 2:11:02, ERI
Cj Albertson, 2:11:18, USA
Brendan Gregg, 2:11:38, USA
Nelson Oyugi, 2:11:40, KEN
Shadrack Biwott, 2:12:01, USA
Tyler McCandless, 2:12:28, USA
Rory Linklitter, 2:12:54, USA
Will Nation, 2:15:12, USA
Craig Hunt, 2:15:29, USA
Daniel Lennon, 2:16:08, USA
Rory Tunningley, 2:16:25, USA
Luis Orta, 2:16:30, VEN
Tony Migliozzi, 2:16:40, USA
Ben Fletcher, 2:16:44, USA
Travis Morrison, 2:16:48, USA
Alexander Burks, 2:16:51, USA
Matthew Herzig, 2:17:02, USA
Rajpaul Pannu, 2:17:05, USA
JJ Santana, 2:17:27, USA
Ramiro Guillen, 2:17:35, USA
Juris Silenieks, 2:17:36, USA
Mason Frank, 2:17:39, USA
William Fredericks, 2:17:54, USA
Steven Martinez, 2:17:55, USA
Kurt Roeser, 2:17:55, USA
Matt Lenehan, 2:18:09, USA
Dave Marks, 2:18:11, USA
Kevin Hansen, 2:18:25, USA
Mark Messmer, 2:18:25, USA
Stewart Harwell, 2:18:31, USA
Stephen VanGampleare, 2:18:40, USA
Nicholas Spector, 2:18:45, USA
Eduardo Garcia, 2:18:50, VIR
Caleb Kerr, 2:18:57, USA
Nathan Kwan, 1:03:50 (Half PR), USA
Michael Ottesen, Debut, USA
Nick Hauger, Debut, USA


Danielle Domenichelli
(916) 737-2627