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37th annual California International Marathon to take place Sunday

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Thousands of runners are gearing up for the 37th annual California International Marathon taking place on Sunday.

In anticipation of the race, runners began picking up their entry packets at the former Sleep Train Arena.

The marathon has a community-wide impact because it’s a series of fundraising races, a professional event with $70,000 in prize money and has implications for the Olympic trials.

Even non-runners will be affected by the yearly event.

Participants in Sunday’s marathon and other races connected to the marathon are expected to number around 13,000.

The course starts in Folsom, following Fair Oaks Boulevard into downtown Sacramento and finishing at Capitol Mall. Road barriers are at the ready and signs warn locals that there will be road closures.

Nearby homeowners take the closures in stride.

“We just walk,” Carmichael resident Jerry Campos told FOX40.

Campos often parks his car on the other side of the closures the night before. Rather than being annoyed, he roots for the runners.

“I should be doing it because they’re working so hard and I just appreciate their effort,” Campos said.

Among those making that effort is a group from Costa Rica. It’s their first marathon in Sacramento after running in Berlin, Chicago and New York in previous years.

“It’s hard work but it’s very nice experience because the friends. We enjoy each other a lot and it’s really fun,” runner Erica Looser said.

The racers picking up race packets are joining professional racers who are vying for the $70,000 prize money, as well as qualifying times for Olympic trials.

Its fast downhill course is also ideal for those qualifying for the iconic Boston Marathon next year.

“This is one of the top marathons in the entire world, right here in Sacramento,” Executive Director for the Sacramento Running Association Scott Abbott said. “And it’s one of the largest marathons in the United States and people come from all over the world to take part.”

That means the marathon not only benefits local businesses, but it benefits charities that use the relay and Saturday’s 5k race to raise funds.

“So, it’s just a great event for this community both on the philanthropic side and on the community side,” Abbott said.

While some rain is expected, runners won’t let that affect them. Many people run the marathon because of the cool temperatures.

Karen Bonnett has run ten CIMs and she’s run in the rain before.

“Once you get going you got the raindrops on you, you’re warm. You’re hot. You’re having a great old time. It doesn’t matter,” Bonnett said.

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