Inspired by completing his first marathon in San Diego in 1976, sporting good store owner John McIntosh organized, as its main sponsor, the first Sacramento Marathon. Nearly 1,000 runners lined up in shady William Land Park. 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. At that race, Sally was inched out by a short, scrawny thirteen-year-old boy running his first marathon in 3:01:14 on a bacon and eggs breakfast. Due to a “running boom” in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s and the addition of a half marathon, participation grew to 2,000.
In 1983, however, the California International Marathon’s arrival caused the popularity of and participation in the Sacramento Marathon to decline steadily. In 1986, John sold the race to Ron Sturgeon of Dixon. 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 boosted participation to a total of nearly 1,150 participants in 2004 . However, when Paul became gravely ill and passed away in May of 2005, John made the decision to sell the event rather than tackle it on his own. John realized finding a buyer for a failing enterprise might be daunting but, in this case, sentiment was on his side.
Twenty-eight years later, no longer a scrawny 13 year old (or eating bacon and eggs before a marathon, we can presume) Rich Hanna, owner of Capital Road Race Management purchased the event determined to breathe new life into something that has meant so much to him for so long. Thanks to a lot of hard work and an awesome creative team that’s exactly what he achieved. Despite being the capital city of California and having a population of nearly 1 million people, Sacramento had long been considered no more than the “Cow Town” situated between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. This was certainly still the case in 2005. So, putting aside any objections to this distinction, the name, theme, and everything else associated with the event became all about cows. The first “Sacramento Cowtown Marathon” took place on October 2, 2005 with over 2,200 participants. Before long sponsors came onboard. In 2006: CoreLogic became title sponsor in 2008: The Buzz Oates Group of Companies became presenting sponsor.
Urban Cow Half Marathon
Fast forward six years into this incredibly successful event. Are we still a cow town? Should the event abandon this identity, or worse, the cows themselves? Doesn’t matter. In 2010, the event was once again renamed. Fort Worth, Texas Cowtown Marathon officials notified the event that they owned the service mark rights to the name “Cowtown” and, therefore, wanted exclusive rights to it. After a nationwide renaming contest, The Urban Cow Half Marathon was born. There is no longer a marathon offered and the event now includes a half marathon, two-person half marathon relay, and 5k run/walk.