Clovis runner CJ Albertson breaks Two Cities Marathon record, qualifies for Olympic trials

CJ Albertson of Clovis runs with a comfortable lead during the 11th annual Two Cities Marathon in Fresno, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Clovis native CJ Albertson outran the competition at the 11th annual Two Cities Marathon over the weekend.

The Buchanan High graduate and Clovis Community College cross country coach clocked in at two hours, 17 minutes and 40 seconds, winning the 26-mile race comfortably and setting a new record in the process.

Albertson’s record-setting time was also good enough to earn him an invite to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

“I felt confident during the race,” Albertson said. “During the first 10 miles of the race I was running very comfortable at a pace that was faster than the Olympic trials qualifying pace. I knew that as long as I didn’t fall apart the last few miles I would qualify for the trials and break the record as well.”

For the 25-year-old Albertson, this feat comes on the heels of a stellar college career at Arizona State University. During his time with the Sun Devils from 2013-17, he became the school record holder in the indoor 5000m, cracked the Top-10 all-time school record in four different events, and qualified for the NCAA Track and Field National Championships.

Looking back on the record-breaking performance, one person he’d like to give credit to is his father, who enrolled him in the sport at an early age.

“There have been many, many people that have influenced my life and have helped me improve both as a person and as a runner,” he said. “I still remember my dad telling me to join cross country one day as we were walking home from school. So, if it wasn’t for him who knows if I ever would’ve been a runner.”

Albertson also credits his coaches (from elementary school to college), brother-in-law Seth Totten and wife Chelsey for motivating him to “continue running at a high-level.”

The next move for Albertson is getting his cross country team ready for the state championships coming up on Saturday, Nov. 17 at Woodward Park.

“I get to coach a great group of athletes and I’m excited to see them perform well at state,” he said.

Following the state meet, Albertson will spend the winter training before returning to campus in the spring for the start of track season.

“[when] I am coaching, I will most likely work on my speed and run some track races as well,” Albertson added. “After the track season, I will probably do a late spring/summer marathon and then reset and start training specifically for the trials race.”

A native of Woodlake, Daniel Leon is a recent graduate of Fresno State with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. Daniel served as Sports Editor at The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper, prior to joining the Roundup. Got a story idea? Email him at