- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay, Other
- Road Race
- Event Website
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The Oakland Running Festival has become one of my most-loved running events. This year, I ran the ‘We Run The Town’ Challenge - a 5K followed by a half marathon.
There's no race day bib pick up so you either have it sent to you for a fee or pick it up prior to the event. We made the race a family event so we arrived the day before the race to pick up our bibs and explore the city of Oakland.
The Expo at Snow Park wasn’t busy during midday. We picked up our shirts and bibs in just a few minutes. We made our way to the race merchandise table and got some great deals on previous race merchandise. Under Armour is the new sponor of the race so they had a booth with with a ton of merchandise, including some awesome sweatshirts.
The Expo was quiet, perhaps due to rain. My son and I enjoyed visiting the various vendors, including the wonderful Stretch Lab Oakland. We each signed up for a 10 minute stretching session that was pretty awesome.
We stayed at the race hotel, the Oakland Marriott City Center, which was about a mile from the start. We left the hotel plenty early to allow for walking time to the start. My first race, the 5K, started at 7:30 AM and my second race, the half maraton, started at 9:00 AM.
The 5K course is around the beautiful Lake Merritt. It was a lovely and fast course. It was a wet morning, so there weren’t as many spectators out due to weather. The volunteers were awesome - they brought the energy and smiles, even on this soggy day. I collected my beautiful medal at the finish (and what an awesome medal it was!), along with plenty of goodies, including granola form a local bakery, jambars, hand sanitizer wipes, candy from a local candy company, fruit, water, and gatorade. It was an awesome after race goodie bag!
After the 5K race, I brought a change of clothes to slip into to stay warm before the 9 AM half start. A bunch of us runners stood underneath the massive trees to shield ourselves from the rain. The half started on time and we were off, running in the constant drizzle and cold. I warmed up after a mile and it didn’t seem like a big deal. The weather was just a minor detail.
The half marathon course went around most of Lake Merritt before turning towards downtown. The entire course wasn’t very scenic, but I enjoyed the stretches that included beautiful murals. Most of the time, I was thanking volunteers and admiring signs from spectators anyway. The people and the art both have my heart. Despite the rain, volunteers and spectators showed up with signs and enthusiasm to shower us with love, support, and encouragement. How could you not love the volunteers screaming for you?!?? 👊🏼
The elevation was very mild – nothing intense so it was all very doable. I think the hill leading up to the finish was the steepest section – and it was not bad at all.
After the half marathon finish, I collected my medal along with the challenge medal. I am all about the bling so to finish this challenge with three medals was pretty awesome. I didn’t stay to hang out at the finish because I was wet and cold, but many did to take photos and hang out. I was amazed at the number of people who hung around.
Overall, the Oakland Running Festival is a fantastic event and I would do it again in a heartbeat!