Fresno High School cross country coach Jesús Campos and top finishes in the Two Cities Marathon are as common as tacos and Fresno.
Valley winters and fog.
Death and taxes.
Well, let’s replace the last example with Leonel Messi and goals.
Whatever the case, Campos will be the heavy favorite to win his fifth Two Cities Marathon in 10 attempts when the 10th edition of the marathon starts at 6:30 a.m. Sunday (Nov. 5) on a closed Friant Road bordering Woodward Park.
“I think Jesús’ competition is a little more slim this year,” said race director Nate Moore. “Not as many elite runners contacted me this year.”
Unless an out-of-area runner with elite status signed up, the coast looks clear for the 33-year-old Campos to rack up another impressive finish.
In addition to four wins, Campos has a pair of second- and third-place finishes, along with a fourth-place finish.
However, his last win was in 2013 when he completed the course which goes into Clovis and returns to the finish at Woodward Park in 2 hours, 29 minutes and 20 seconds.
The marathon is more than a race for Campos, a native of Buenavista, San Luis Potosí, México.
“It’s our main local event, and I’m just so happy I’ve been able to be a part of it,” said Campos, a veteran of about 40 marathons. “The weather and the fast course also make this unique event.”
Campos, whose best marathon time at Two Cities is 2:24:24 in 2012, said he always goes for a top time in a race.
“This year’s goal is to run around 2:30, but in a marathon you never know how your body will react on race day,” said Campos.
The course record was set in 2011 when Turlock’s Miguel Nuci won in 2:21:58 (Campos finished fourth that year in 2:33:42).
Campos’ marathon PR is 2:24 at the Boston Marathon.
“This year, training has been good, but not as good as in 2013,” said Campos, who also teaches Spanish at Fresno High.
The reason has been Campos’ coaching and teaching duties. He will sometimes work out with his cross country team.
“Usually when they finish a workout, I just do a few more intervals or longer tempo runs,” said Campos.
Ten of his runners will be doing the marathon relay, “so it’ll be fun to see them out there.”
The marathon field has just more than 400 runners. The course is certified for Boston Marathon qualifying purposes.
The Clovis half marathon, which has 1,400 runners, will start at 7:15 a.m. Runners will make their way into Clovis using Shepherd Avenue and the Sugar Pine Trail before returning to Woodward Park.
The Fresno portion of the Two Cities half marathon, which starts at 7:30 a.m., will have about 1,300 participants, including relay runners and walkers. Participants will head up Shepherd before turning back at Willow, heading north on Friant and returning at Willow back to Woodward Park.
There will be a 5K (3.1 miles) race.
Weather calls for overcast skies with a high of 62 degrees.
Friant Road will be closed near Audubon Drive from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Shepherd Avenue and other streets on the race course will also be closed.
The Two Cities Marathon Expo – where participants can pick up their race numbers, shirts and other items – will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 4) at New Covenant Community Church, 1744 E. Nees Ave.