By Ellen Moore
After setting event records for money raised and runners registered for Sunday’s Credit Union SACTOWN Run, past champions Jordan Chipangama and Jane Kibii kept the momentum going by besting strong elite fields to win 10-mile individual titles and claim the $2,000 first prizes.
As an added bonus, Kibii, a 31-year old Kenya native who has lived in Auburn, set the women’s course record by nearly a minute to take home an additional $500 course record reward.
The SACTOWN event, organized by the Sacramento Running Association and sponsored by credit unions from California and Nevada, raised more than $200,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which includes UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
The race, which emulates the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run held in Washington, D.C. on the same day, has raised more than $1.1 million in the last five years.
Nearly 2,000 runners lined Capitol Mall on a gorgeous morning for the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Miracle Mile, the 5k and the 10-mile race.
Chipangama, a 27-year old Zambian who trains in Flagstaff, Ariz., defended his 2015 title by making a move shortly after mile five, surging ahead of the lead pack to win in 49 minutes and 23 seconds.
“The elite field was small, but strong,” said Chipangama. “I have been looking forward to this race for a long time.”
Chipangama is slated to run the Boston Marathon on April 18.
The double loop course allowed spectators, as well as the 5k and one-mile finishers, a chance to watch the elite field approach the halfway mark before the runners made their way back over the Tower Bridge and to the finish in the shadow of the State Capitol.
“The course was quite challenging with lots of turns,” added Chipangama. “The spectators really picked me up when I started getting down and tired.”
Phillip Reid of San Luis Obispo finished second in 49:37. Nicholas Arciniaga from Flagstaff, Ariz. placed third in 49:53.
Kibii pulled away from Sara Hall, a former Stanford track and cross country champion from Redding, around the seven-mile mark in the women’s race and outlasted Hall’s kick for an event record time of 53:20, besting the old mark of 54:17.
“It was a good run,” said Kibii.
“I pushed past some men after the halfway point and she (Hall) was still following me, I could see her shadow.
“I know Sara is a sprinter and I’m not a good sprinter, so I needed to push it early.”
Hall grabbed second in 53:34, a time that also broke the previous course record. Lauren Jimison of El Dorado Hills finished third in 56:32.
Kibii said she enjoyed the crowd’s support.
“Sacramento is like my home. It feels good that people know me and cheer for me.”
Kibii says she broke the course record she set in 2015 thanks in large part due to the competition from Hall.
“If it wasn’t for Sara, I would not have gotten the course record,” said Kibii. “She’s strong and she pushed me.”
The event served as the 10-mile championship for USA Track & Field’s Pacific Association.
Vacaville’s Aidan Schraer won the men’s 5k race in 16:19. Suzy Matsumoto from Scottsdale, Ariz. claimed the women’s 5k title in 18:47.
Angela House, a 14-year-old leukemia patient, sang an acapella version of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” before the awards ceremony, reminding everyone of the cause behind the event.
Credit Unions for Kids is the brand under which America’s credit unions and affiliated organizations fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. To date, credit unions have raised more than $150 million since the introduction of the CU4Kids program back in 1996.
Complete results are here.