Historic Oakland, a Must-See
Lake Merritt: this famous lake is included in every Oakland Running Festival course, and 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, the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders (lmjs.org). A sunset run 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 the cherry on top of a famous Fenton's Sundae (from Fenton's Creamery in Oakland). The lake is also a great "welcome back" to the downtown area where the marathon and half marathon finish. This is one gem of Oakland!
Lake Temescal Park: the 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 main boathouse was a WPA project and this was the third park in the East Bay to join the East Bay Regional Parks district the year of 1934. Full marathoners will get a close up view of the park and visitors to this fair city are encouraged to take a stroll through the parks rolling hills.
Jack London Square: is the popular and busy shipping port and train station where views of the water are beautiful and you can catch a glimpse of Alameda Island and other 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, and it would be a place to celebrate a run well done!
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, Gioia, and the CheeseBoard (all thin crust), then Zachary's (deep crust) are just a few local favorites; and for pasta there is Trattoria La Siciliana, LoCoco's, Dopo, and the Oliveto Cafe. A lively new restaurant and bar is on the edge of Lake Merritt near city hall called Lake Chalet, which has received rave reviews from locals. Oakland is the front-runner in urban green living and has plenty of local grocers and farmer's markets to choose from (ediblecommunities.com/eastbay/farmers-markets/farmers-markets.htm).
Why Run Oakland?
Corrigan Sports is also the driving force for the innovative creation of the Baltimore and Frederick Running Festivals in Maryland, which have been highly successful for the past 11 years. Their focus is on creating big time running events 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 hub, which makes for an exciting and affordable visit and an excellent place to run.
Corrigan Sports focuses on the community element of racing, and has fine-tuned their Maryland events by listening to runners' experience and feedback, and making changes based on that feedback. This is why the Corrigan Sports racing events are so popular and growing quickly: they know how to create memorable events geared toward athletes of all abilities.
Run for a Cause
The Oakland Running Festival has partnered with a number of organizations to help raise money and awareness for these special programs. Whether you need a kick-start to your running program or the push to go one more mile, running for a cause will certainly motivate you to reach your running goals. Run for Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Cancer Society, Urban Promise Academy – to help send inner-city kids on a life-changing trip to DC, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights – an Oakland-based network of neighborhood-changing volunteers and programs, or Calico – a child abuse center that aids in prevention and recovery of abused children who survive in the Bay Area. Please go here to learn more about raising much-needed funds for these programs: oaklandmarathon.com/Run_for_a_Cause.htm