Oakland Running Festival Brings First Marathon in 25 Years and Much More
A delight for all runners! Oakland, California will open its streets for your next running adventure. Yes, on March 27th and 28th, the Oakland Running Festival is the place to be. What better place for a destination marathon than the Bay Area? There is so much to do, so much to see!
Posted Saturday, 6 February, 2010
The Marathon is back in Oakland after 25 years. Corrigan Sports Enterprises will bring the Oakland Running Festival to the City by the Bay, patterned after the highly successful Baltimore Running Festival and other Corrigan events. Challenge and adventure are coming to Oakland, whether it's a marathon, half-marathon, four-person relay, 5K, or kid's fun run; it's a terrific running opportunity for everyone from elite marathoner to beginner. Northern Californians in particular may rejoice; this will be an outstanding, well managed, very “green” event. Everyone can experience races that are challenging for seasoned runners, and enjoyable for beginners. And the festival will be hugely fun—a real weekend get-away.
Two-Day Festival Schedule
Starting on Saturday, March 27th the Sports Expo will be open at the Oakland Marriott City Center for the latest in gear and fuel and more from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It will include packet pick-up and late registration (if available) throughout the day. Then participants will join in the fun from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Kick-Off party with live music and a happening atmosphere. After you've rocked out with several live bands, the Twilight 5K Race begins at 7:00 p.m. for the sunset run around Oakland's famous and lovely Lake Merritt. Following the Twilight 5K, there will be an awards ceremony and more music at the Celebration Village. Then runners of all sizes and abilities will be off for carbo-loading at one of Oakland’s many Italian eateries! (There are so many great restaurants in and around Oakland of every variety and ethnic cuisine.)
Sunday, March 28th is major race day. Marathon and Relay Teams begin at 7:00 a.m. (opening remarks and National Anthem start at 6:45); the half-marathon starts at 8:00 a.m. The Sports Expo and Celebration Village activities run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There will be live music on the main stage from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., inspiring for finishing runners as well as spectators. The Festival winds down with a big awards ceremony at 12 noon.
About the Course
Participants will run through historic Oakland, California, a city filled with diversity and beauty. Marathoners will start from City Hall downtown and speed along picturesque Piedmont Avenue and trendy College Avenue, pass pretty Lake Temescal, and then climb through the Claremont neighborhood's gorgeous hills. By mile 10, the route turns into a two-mile 550-foot descent. Here runners will pass by Joaquin Miller Park, and head back toward downtown. Everyone will enjoy Emeryville's borders and neighborhoods, pass by historic Jack London Square, and finish by rounding Lake Merritt, then charging through the finish line at Oakland's City Hall.
Half-marathoners will stick closer to the downtown area and not head into the hills. The half-marathon course also skips the incline and decline from mile 5 to 12 in the marathon. Half Marathon runners will still enjoy much of Oakland: downtown, Jack London Square, and Lake Merritt. Both races start and finish near Oakland’s City Hall at 14th Street and Broadway.
Lake Merritt, which is included in every Oakland Running Festival course, is a magical place to run. Lake Merritt is the first official wildlife refuge in the United States - designated in 1870. It houses a large bird sanctuary and is famous for its geese. In fact, 'geese' are the mascot for the local running club, Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders. For the Twilight 5K, running around the lake is a relaxing pre-race exercise. As runners round the lake, they can watch the sun set, with its image doubled in the sparkling water. Then twinkling lights will begin to appear that wrap around the entire lake like a jeweled necklace. Finishing the race at Lake Merritt is like the cherry atop the frosting on a cupcake. It is great welcoming to the finish, with its postcard views and newly remodeled pathways. What a gem in Oakland!
Lake Temescal Park is known for its lush vegetation and pink cherry blossoms. It is a serene nook in a vibrant, growing city that remains a getaway for urbanites and runners alike. The boathouse there was a WPA project and it was the third park in the East Bay to join the East Bay Regional Parks district in 1934. Full marathoners will get a close up view of the park.
Jack London Square is the popular and busy port and train station of downtown where views of the water are beautiful, and you can catch a glimpse of Alameda Island and the busy harbors of the East Bay. There are plenty of shopping and dining opportunities in the square, as well as a hopping nightlife. Famous ‘Yoshi’s’ Jazz Club and Japanese restaurant is located there, which opened in 1973 and has hosted such musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Diana Krall, Branford Marsalis, and hundreds more. Both full marathoners and half marathoners will pass through this area.
So Much to See and Do!
Part of the beautiful Bay Area, Oakland has so much to offer visiting runners: from warm-up runs around Lake Merritt and along Emeryville's marina, to hikes and trail runs in Tilden Park, Redwood Regional Park, or any of the 65 beautifully preserved regional parks in the East Bay.
Oakland has some of the best restaurants in the Bay Area too, with pizzerias and plenty of unique restaurants to fulfill pre-run carbohydrate needs. Arizmendi, Lanesplitters (both thin crust) and Zachary's (deep crust) are just a few local favorite pizza houses; and for pasta there is LoCoco's, Filippos, and the Oliveto Cafe. A lively new restaurant and bar just opened on the edge of Lake Merritt near city hall called Lake Chalet (it has received rave reviews from locals). Scott’s Seafood at Jack London Square will be a great place to celebrate.
Oakland is a front-runner in green living, and the Oakland Running Festival will mesh with that tradition nicely. And there are plenty of local grocers and farmer’s markets to choose from. There are also some great local running stores to check out such as Transports and See Jane Run - for women only), both on hip College Avenue in Oakland.
Berkeley is just around the corner with plenty of trails and canyons for running and hiking. Visit the hills of Strawberry Canyon for the best view of the Bay Area, or run along the Berkeley Marina or the Ohlone Greenway, which runs under the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). The University of California Berkeley campus is also a beautiful place to run, with lots of hills and views, spectacular architecture and lush gardens.
San Francisco and Beyond
With BART and the bus systems, you can really pop over to San Francisco fairly easily. There you can run in Golden Gate park, or grab something to eat in Chinatown. Get in your ZipCar (http://www.zipcar.com/) and head north to Mount Tamalpais State Park where the trails are quietly beautiful and redwoods grow like vines in nearby Napa Valley.
Why You Want To Run This Inaugural Race
Corrigan Sports Enterprises is also the driving force for the innovative and highly successful Baltimore and Frederick Running Festivals in Maryland, which have been highly successful for the last 10 years. Their focus is on creating big time running arenas within unique small to medium sized cities. Oakland, like Baltimore, is rich in history and has enjoyed fast and vibrant growth. Both cities are nested within a larger urban metroplex, creating an exciting locale to visit and even more exciting place to run.
Corrigan Sports Enterprises focuses on the community element of racing, and has fine-tuned their Maryland events by listening to runners’ experiences and comments, and making changes and additions based on that feedback. The have worked very hard to “green” their events and to enhance the communities they serve.
Prizes will include cash awards, which will be given to the top five overall male and female runners, and to the top male and female masters’ runners. Cash prizes for the marathon will be:
- Overall Winners (Men and Women):
• 1st: $500
• 2nd: $400
• 3rd: $300
• 4th: $200
• 5th: $100
- Overall Masters (Men and Women):
• 1st: $150
All finishers will receive a commemorative race medal and finisher's t-shirt. Awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers in each five-year age group. No duplicate awards. Age Groups: 16 – 19, 20 – 24, 25 – 29, 30 – 34, 35 – 39, 40 – 44, 45 – 49, 50 – 54, 55 – 59, 60 – 64, 65 – 69, 70 and over. Awards will be given to the top male and female Alameda County runners. Awards may be duplicative.
All finishers will receive a commemorative race medal and finisher's t-shirt. Awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers in each five-year age group. No duplicate awards. Age Groups: 16 – 19, 20 – 24, 25 – 29, 30 – 34, 35 – 39, 40 – 44, 45 – 49, 50 – 54, 55 – 59, 60 – 64, 65 – 69, 70 and over
Awards will not be mailed. You must claim your award on race day.
Weather: Another reason to run is that March is perfect running weather in the East Bay! It is sunnier than San Francisco, but still cool before summer’s bright sun. The average high temperature for the end of March is 63 degrees and the average low is 50 degrees.
Your Stay in Oakland
Hotels are plentiful in the Emeryville area near the marina, in downtown, and in Jack London Square. Here are some hotels that are close to the Expo Center and the starting line:
1. The Downtown Marriott: The official race headquarters hotel is offering runners discounted rates and is just blocks from the start and finish lines.
2. The Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square
3. Homewood Suites
It will be quite the runner’s event, and will bring excitement to road racing in Northern California and enhance the sport. For more information on course support, directions, lodging, the expo, runner’s instructions, go to: http://www.oaklandmarathon.com/
And to register, go to: http://www.active.com/framed/event_detail.cfm?CHECKSSO=0&EVENT_ID=1757787
Oakland Running Festival is on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oakland-CA/Oakland-Running-Festival/163291141339
Plan to participate on March 27th and 28th and don’t miss the inaugural event! Be a part of running history. Years from now you can say you ran the First Oakland Running Festival.