The Sacramento Marathon has a sentimental appeal for Capital Road Race Management. It was at the inaugural race in 1977 where a short, scrawny thirteen-year-old boy named Rich Hanna ran his first marathon in 3:01:14 on a bacon and eggs breakfast. Twenty-eight years later, Hanna heads the new management team for the Sacramento Marathon – now named Sacramento Cowtown Marathon.
Local sporting goods store owner John McIntosh organized the first Sacramento Marathon. An accomplished tennis player turned runner, McIntosh completed his first marathon in San Diego in 1976. It was there that he decided Sacramento needed a marathon of its own, and his business, McIntosh’s Sports Cottage, would be the main sponsor. Nearly one thousand runners lined up in shady William Land Park for the first running of the event. New Zealand’s Wayne Badgley took the men’s race in 2:25:49, while Sacramento’s own Sally Edwards ran away with the women’s crown in 3:03:33. Under McIntosh’s direction, the marathon and half marathon (added in 1978) blossomed to nearly two thousand participants combined during the running boom of the late 1970s and early 80s.
In 1986, McIntosh sold the event to Ron Sturgeon of neighboring Dixon, California. Participation in the event declined beginning in 1983 due to the arrival of the California International Marathon. The Sturgeon family kept the race going until 2003 when they sold the event to Race Walking International Sports Management Group headed by John MacLachlan and Paul Smith. John and Paul worked tirelessly to reinvigorate the event and dramatically increased participation in 2004 to nearly 1,150 participants between the marathon and half marathon. Sadly, Paul was diagnosed with colon cancer only days before the event and was unable to attend the event he worked so hard to co-produce. Paul passed away in early May of this year. John decided not to tackle race organizing duties by himself and sold the race to Capital Road Race Management in the spring of 2005. This year’s event is dedicated to the memory of Paul Smith.