Oakland Marathon

Last weekend’s second annual Oakland Running Festival was a winner no matter when or even if you crossed the finish line. Running or cheering, people were fired up and ready to go.  The sold-out event had 7300 runners registered for one of the following: marathon, half marathon, 5-kilometer race or kids’ fun run.

Liz Atkinson ran a half marathon & Rob Nachtwey ran the full marathon

The course was as much a running tour of Oakland as it was a race.  Memorable sights and sounds included: Children’s Fairyland on Lake Merritt, taiko drummers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiko , neighborhoods with $1M homes and Oakland Raiders fans in gameday gear. There was even a Burning Man-esque arch created by a West Oakland fine arts studio, and a firemen’s relay team.

My husband Fred & I watched the early runners as they rounded the intersection of College and Claremont, then doubled back towards Downtown Oakland. We were somehwhat shocked but not surprised to see our son Rob Nachtwey.  He was not too far behind the leaders.  He actually finished 20th in two hours and 59 minutes.  When not in training, Rob books events for the amazing Craneway Pavilion http://www.craneway.com/  and writes a blog www.cranewayblog.com

Fred Nachtwey cheers the runners in Rockridge

Another participant dear to our heart was Liz Atkinson, Rob’s sister-in-law.  She participated in the half-marathon, with her sister Anne and parents Dave & Kathy on bikes, cheering from the sidelines.  A UC Berkeley graduate, Liz works for Pixar.

Liz and her sister belong to the Red Sonkers bookclub, which helped host last month’s Berkeley Public Library Foundation www.bplf.org  Authors’ Dinner.

The running event seemed to be a positive experience for all concerned.  It generated pride and community support among young and old, from all walks of life.  Next year, race officials hope to draw more corporate sponsors.  Keep in mind, it’s never to soon to soon to begin training.  Stop the talking, start the walking.

Runners take the corner in stride in Rockridge


Today they take the turn, tomorrow they’ll take BART.  http://www.bart.gov/

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