Summary: The California International Marathon (CIM) is an annual marathon hosted in Sacramento, California every December. It’s known for its fast times, but don’t be fooled – you have to manage the first 20 miles well enough to have enough gas left in the tank to enjoy the flattest miles of the course, the last 10k.
What type of course is CIM?
Point to point, rolling hills, net downhill, minimal turns on the course
Start/Finish Info: Specific shuttle pickup and dropoff points, as well as car drop off points. Be sure to have the plan in place ahead of time, and be ready to walk/run up to a mile from the drop off point to the start. Finish line is downtown Sacramento, in front of the Capitol building, and fairly easy to navigate through to find family/friends afterwards.
What is the CIM elevation gain?
Small rolling hills the whole way, amounting to ~250 ft of gain total. 30ft gain at mile 10.5 and 40 feet at mile 11. If you push the pace too early in the race, the small rollers in the first half will really add up and it will feel like a much hillier course than expected.
What are the aid stations like?
Locations of water stations/electrolytes: 17 aid stations, including water and nuun at each, beginning at mile 3.3 and every 2-3 miles.
Electrolyte offered in the past: Clif Shots, Clif Bar Minis and Fruit at miles 6.4, 12, 19.4, 23.5
Where can spectators watch me run?
Access Locations: Plenty of places to see runners, and the linked guide has a map and directions to them, including mile 6, 10, 12.5, 13.5, 15, 20.5, 23.6, 24.2, and the last half mile to the finish. Remember you can’t cross the course, and parking is usually residential.
California International Marathon Tips from Team RunRunners
Here is a round-up of tips from our runners on the CIM marathon:
- Likely to be chilly at the start, especially with how early of a start it is, so have a plan for shedding layers with the gear check option
- Weather is likely to be misty, cloudy, cool, and maybe rainy
- Be ready for a beginning slow mile, even though it’s downhill, as there are so many people at the start
- Not a ton of crowd support like in bigger marathons
- In 2017, aid was only on one side of the road, so look ahead and be aware of what side it’s on when approaching it so you don’t miss it
- The course starts with a couple sharp turns and ends with two 90 degree turns, the last being being right before the finish chute, which can feel like a tight turn that late in the race
- The course is a rolling downhill, so don’t expect all downhill or completely flat
- The bigger hills are in the first half of the race and they’re noticeable – they’re the kind of hill that you see ahead of time and think “that’s a good looking hill!” Be ready for these rollers. While it’s a net downhill and fast course, it’s not pancake flat
- Try to not hammer the downhills in the first half, and the downhills in the second half are more gradual
- Last “hill” of the course is a bridge around mile 22
- This race is deep with talented runners. It’s not a big city marathon feel, but there are lots of people here going for fast times, and it feels surprisingly crowded throughout the entire race, even though it’s not a huge field.
- Men and Women finish chutes are separate, and (in previous years) the women’s finish chute is the turn before the men’s
Is CIM a Boston qualifier?
Yes, and Olympic Marathon Qualifier
Team RunRun CIM Race Reports
Check out all individual runner reviews in our California International Marathon race reports:
CIM Race Report – Jarrod Ottman
CIM Race Report – Brandon Tower
CIM Marathon Race Report – Noel Bautista
California International Marathon Race Report – Keith Laverty
CIM Marathon Race Report – Phil C
CIM Marathon Race Report – Matt K
CIM Marathon Race Report – Julie Urbanski