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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oakland Run Festival (March 27th-28th 2010)



If you are not participate as a runner or volunteer, grab your lawn chair and watch the Oakland Running Festival marathon and half marathon route which will enter the Prescott-Oakland Point neighborhood, after the 18th mile mark at 7th and Mandela Parkway, where runners make a right onto Market Street and enter West Oakland. Once again you pass a BART station with Mandela Transit Village, a mixed retail and residential development bordering the West Oakland BART station. This was one of the earliest neighborhoods in Oakland to be settled and in1869, West Oakland became the terminus of the transcontinental railroad.

Many of the homes in this area date back to the mid-1800’s and were built in the Victorian style, giving it its quaint look. It should be noted that African Americans have historically played an important role in Oakland and especially West Oakland. In the early 1900’s because of the importance of railroads, many porters lived here and the headquarters of their union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was located in this neighborhood. Then in the 1930s, Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association had its West Coast headquarters at 8th and Chester Streets. During the 1960’s, during the social turmoil of the time, the “Black Panthers” originated in this area. After years of decline, this neighborhood too has started to experience renewal, as new residential developments have sprung up and many of the Victorian homes have been remodeled to their former glory.

As you run along the Mandela Parkway, mile 19, some may recall that this was the site of the Cypress Freeway collapse, an elevated, double deck freeway that collapsed onto itself during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Several people were killed despite heroic rescue efforts by West Oakland residents. The freeway was replaced by Mandela Parkway, a wide thoroughfare with a pedestrian path and greenway in its median, including a park commemorating the 1989 earthquake. It is lined with condominiums and new and established businesses.

The Oakland Running Festival website contains all the information you will need including volunteering.

Check out these videos of the course: Marathon Course and Half Marathon Course.


There is an interactive map that features the marathon, half-marathon, 5K routes and sponsoring restaurants.

The Oakland Running Festival Handbook can be found here

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