Lauren Jimison isn’t one to get emotional during a race, but hearing her mother cheering for her as she reached Mile 8 at the California International Marathon was a special moment.
Jimison, an El Dorado Hills native, came in third in Sunday’s race with a time of 2:33:21, setting a new personal record by more than a minute. Wrapped in an American flag just past the finish line, Jimison said running her hometown course and having her friends and family around made this marathon special.
“I saw co-workers out there that I didn’t know would be on the race,” Jimison said, adding that she usually travels to the East Coast to compete. “My mom drove my fiancé and I to the start line … and then I just felt so much love out on the course.”
Jimison, 25, has been running for a long time. She began running long-distance races on the cross-country team in high school at Capital Christian School. From there, she went to Azusa Pacific University, where she scooped up five individual national championship titles in the 5K and 10K events and was an All-American. After graduating, she joined the Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth Lakes.
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Running is a huge part of her faith, she said. When she’s out on the course, the knowledge that God made her a runner gives her strength to keep going. She met her fiancé and her best friends through running.
“I’m the best person when I’m a runner, that’s how I connect with people,” Jimison said. “It’s also taught me that I’m really tough.”
Sunday’s race was Jimison’s sixth marathon. The course begins at Folsom Lake and ends on Capitol Mall with a spectacular view of the Capitol and the holiday tree.
“Every time I finish one … it really makes you feel like you can kind of get through anything,” she said.
Runners in the 2016 California International Marathon describe their experiences on the course, which begins in Folsom and ends at the Capitol.