If world class marathoner Fernando Cabada is listening, CJ Albertson just sent you a message Sunday morning.
Two hours, 17 minutes, 40 seconds.
That’s how long it took the 25-year-old Clovis Community College cross country coach to cover the Two Cities Marathon course in record time. His time shattered the ole mark of 2:21:58 set by Turlock’s Miguel Nuci.
It also met Albertson’s objective of qualifying for the men’s U.S. Olympic Trials.
“It went well. I felt really good the first half, and I felt good enough the second half,” said Alberston, who starred at Arizona State. “I knew I wanted to run my first marathon here in Fresno. Just running through the whole city and having the whole city pulling for you.”
As for Cabada, he did take notice.
“I saw that! I’m glad finally another Valley runner joins me. So many talented runners. I have been alone for over 10 years,” said Cabada, who owns a marathon-best of 2:11:36 (2014 Berlin Marathon).
Cabada figures he has about two more years of running at the elite level before returning to Fresno and attempt to break the new Two Cities record. He also wants to establish an training academy for elite runners from the Valley.
The 36-year-old Cabada, who is studying to get into law school, believes there is plenty of talent in the region.
Cabada will be in Monterey next weekend for a half-marathon, as will Albertson. But Cabada is winding down his running season before picking it up again in January. Albertson is not sure how his legs will feel, but his wife, Chelsey, will be running in Monterey.
Albertson picked up $750 for the win, and an extra $500 for breaking the course record.
For the moment, Albertson is basking in his debut performance.
“I’ve been running here since I was 10 years old,” he said. “It’s hard to describe the feeling. It’s so awesome. This running community is amazing.”
Albertson said his marathon went according to plan, although his calves did tighten up near the end.
“I knew I was going to be running alone,” said Albertson, who finished almost 25 minutes ahead of runner-up Jesús Campos. “I run alone in practice every day. I just ran my own pace.”
Albertson began preparing for Two Cities after the Miguel Reyes 5K race in July.
“I have my own training plan. I just like to experiment with things. I know my body and I like to do my own training,” said Albertson. “I like the freedom of doing my own thing.
“Some of my training methods are unorthodox. That’s how I run my best anyway,” he said.