Fastest course in the west.

Lawson Races to Course Record

Nov. 1, 2012
Ninth in a series of the top 30 moments from the California International Marathon’s colorful history. The 30th anniversary race is on Dec. 2. By John Schumacher

Go-for-broke effort in 1993 produces 2:10:27 standard
Jerry Lawson was all in.

The talented U.S. marathoner came to the 1993 California International Marathon with one goal in mind: run 2:11.

He left with a lot more, winning the men’s title and setting a CIM course record of 2:10:27 that still stands today.

That was the fastest time by a U.S. marathoner since Ken Martin ran 2:09:39 at the 1989 New York City Marathon and the fastest marathon by an American in 1993.

On a cool, clear day, Lawson took advantage of good running conditions along the 26.2-mile route from Folsom to the state Capitol.

He ran the last nine miles with an untied shoelace. But when things are going well, little things don’t matter.

“My goal was to come here and run 2:11,” Lawson said while sipping a beer after the race.

Mission accomplished. England’s Jon Solly pushed Lawson until the 20-mile mark before finishing second in 2:12:30, with Canadian Peter Maher third in 2:13:16.

Lawson, from Jacksonville, Fla., owned a reputation of going for broke. This time, it paid off handsomely.

“Jerry Lawson was one of those guys, he was an all-or-nothing guy,” CIM race director John Mansoor said. “A guy who just says, ‘OK, I’m going for it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’ll drop out.’

“It happened that day.”

Forever etching Lawson’s name in CIM lore.

Lawson went on to enjoy more marathon success, finishing second at the 1996 Chicago Marathon in 2:10:04 and then setting an American record with a 2:09:35 performance en route to a seventh-place finish at the 1997 Chicago Marathon.

The CIM is put on by the Sacramento Running Association, 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.

Other SRA events include the just concluded Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon, the Super Bowl Sunday 10k Run on Feb. 3 and the Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run on April 7.

SRA beneficiaries include the American River Parkway, youth fitness programs, local running venues and aspiring young runners.