Fastest course in the west.

Runners “Beat Pete” For Free Pizza

Nov. 7, 2012
Thirteenth 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

Original Pete’s co-founder offered tasty 1991 reward
The rallying cry at the 1991 California International Marathon was all about pizza.

‘Beat Pete.’

Pete Treleven, co-founder of Original Pete’s Pizza, offered a free large pizza to any runner beating him in the CIM.

A group of his employees formed a committee to get the word out on the promotion, even taking out a full-page ad in the race program. So pizza was undoubtedly on many of the runners’ minds as they made the 26.2-mile trek from Folsom to the state Capitol.

Treleven planned to improve on his personal best of 3 hours, 17 minutes and 20 seconds, a mark he set in the 1989 CIM. But the marathon can undo the best of plans; Treleven finished in 3:47:33, behind 800 men and 161 women.

Pete’s took a hit, but received some good publicity and undoubtedly a few new customers during the giveaway.

“I remember it well,” said Auburn’s Cynci Calvin, an 18-time CIM finisher. “I beat Pete and absolutely got a pizza.”

Calvin recalled only having to show her name in The Sacramento Bee’s results to earn her pie.

“My husband was so thrilled,” she said. “He’s a big hunter. He prides himself at bringing the meat home. He’d always say, ‘You just go out running; you never bring any food home.’”

She did at the 1991 CIM. Thanks to Pete.

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 recently 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.