2012 Full Marathon Medal

2012 Full Marathon Medal


With spring just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at one of my favorite spring races: the Oakland Running Festival. If you are looking to roll straight out of the winter training season and into a great, home-town-feel event, then mark your calendars for March 24, 2013. I could list plenty of reasons why this is one of my favorite races, such as

  • The course
  • The swag
  • The energy of the community
  • The arch of fire and fire-breathing horse (yep!)
  • The Oakland Raiderettes at the finish line
  • The (free) training runs provided by the event

2011 Half Marathon

I could go on. This will be the fourth year of the Oakland Running Festival and I will be tackling the full marathon for a third time. There are also various distances available for the weekend, including:

  • Full Marathon
  • Half Marathon
  • Team Relay (Marathon)
  • 5k
  • Lucky Kids Fun Run

There is also an option for the relay to be run as part of the “San Francisco Business Times Corporate Cup.” Company sponsorship anyone?

As you can see, there are plenty of options for anyone to enjoy the weekend. Each year I write about how I feel that there is “something magical” about this course. For years I have been trying to explain it to other runners. How the way the community cheers for each runner is different from any other race I have experienced. How it feels more personal. How it feels like the people are cheering on EVERY single runner, rather than a specific person they know on the course. But this year, I’m going to share an aspect that seems to be popular with runners: music.

The Oakland Running Festival has always had music on the course, and if you are familiar with the Bay Area, then you know some great music has originated from these parts. Last year, there were almost 10 bands/DJs spread amongst the course and this year there looks to be more. And these are the “official” course musicians — I’m not talking about the awesome people along the course that play the Rocky theme or California Love from their stereo in front of their house and dance while you run past. Or the motorcycle police officer that was playing Lady Gaga along Lake Merritt. Let’s call those “inspirational freebies.”

Even though I run with an ipod plugged into my ears, I usually hit pause as I approach course music. I know personal music devices are discouraged, and I decide to run with one anyways, but I like to take a moment to listen to the bands that have given up their day to offer support for us runners. Sometimes it’s music I really enjoy, other times it’s not my cup of tea — or electrolytes. I’ve been known to sing along with the group if I know the song and I’ve also been known to dance along with other people. Just because it’s a marathon, doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun. After all, I ran one year dressed as the hulk.
2011 Half Marathon

What I’m trying to say is that this weekend is an opportunity for everyone to come out and enjoy the party. If you want to run, great. If you want to join the crowds and support the runners, even better. If you want to volunteer and help in any way possible, you have my gratitude.

Actually, let’s do one better. How about this:

Let’s giveaway a FREE entry to the 2013 Oakland Running Festival.


That’s right. I want you to come and experience this run, vibe and music for yourself. Here are some simple ways to enter:

    1. Visit the Oakland Running Festival Facebook page and tell them why you want to run the race.
      Include this URL: http://pavementrunner.com/oakland-running-festival-2013-giveaway
      One entry, leave a separate comment on the blog saying you did.
      While you are there, hit LIKE – not required, but would  make you way more awesome-er
    2. Tweet out the giveaway
      Win a race entry to the @OaklandMarathon on 3/24. @PavementRunner wants you to enjoy the run, the vibe and the music. http://pavementrunner.com/oakland-running-festival-2013-giveaway
      One entry, leave a separate comment on the blog saying you did.
    3. Follow @OaklandMarathon AND @PavementRunner on Twitter.
      One entry, leave a separate comment on the blog saying you did.

The giveaway has closed.

Congrats to @kristenlipscomb of defyyourlimitations.blogspot.com – I’ll email you shortly with details.


If you are already registered or would like to come and run portions of the course, with support from the event, check out their training runs:

Saturday, January 19 (10-13 miles)
Sunday, March 3 (13-21 miles)

I plan to be at both training runs and would love to see you there. We also had a mini Twitter meet up last year at the expo, we should do it again this year.

Good Luck everyone!