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The inaugural Oakland Running Festival in late March was a success as thousands of runners took to the streets of Oakland in late March.  The company behind the event, Corrigan Sports Enterprises, recently answered a few questions for Alameda Runners (thanks to John, and everyone else who provided questions).

Check out our Oakland Half race recap and our additional  thoughts on the race.

Considering it was the first marathon/half marathon in Oakland in quite some time, it took place with very few hitches.  However, there was a bit of confusion as the half marathon and full marathon courses merged together towards the end of the race around Lake Merritt — an issue race organizers heard about from numerous participants.

“I highly doubt it will change as we use the same format as our Baltimore event and a good majority of the runners enjoy the merge.  They have told us that the merge gives them another boost of energy for the final stretch.  Logistically, having all the races finish in the same spot makes the end exciting and unites the fans in one place.”

Instead of altering the finish location, CSE is instead looking to change the flow of runners.

“We have looked at the surveys and we are already working on ways to fix the cramping along Lake Merritt at 14th Street.”

There were a few smaller issues, but nothing worth noting.  The future looks bright for the Oakland Marathon, and CSE understands what’s necessary to bring in higher profile athletes (and more media exposure):

“Our goal is to make the Oakland Running Festival one of the top races in the country and unfortunately we didn’t have the sponsorship dollars in year one to put up enough prize money to attract some of the top talent from across the globe.  As the race grows and sponsorship is added, so will the purse for the marathon.”

Mike’s Random Aside:  You hear that sponsors?  You wanted to wait to see what would happen after the first event… now it’s time to step up and help bring elite athletes to the event.

The future certainly looks bright for the Oakland Running Festival, with event organizers expecting more participants, additional sponsors, and increased interest next year.

“Based on the survey results and feedback from the city, people are excited about the event and already looking forward to next year.  We expect the event to grow to nearly 10,000 runners and a bigger selection of vendors to want to sell their wares at our expo.  We have already booked the bigger convention hall to accommodate more vendors and more runners.”

The CSE had this to say to end the interview:

“We are thankful to all the runners who participated in the event this year as well as the fans who lined the course.  Without them, this wouldn’t have been a huge success and have us thinking about bigger and better things for next year.  For (all of you) who didn’t run in 2010, registration opens on June 1, so be sure to sign up early as we sold out last year.”

Mike’s Final Note:  The Oakland Half is what motivated me to run… I saw Ted finish numerous events, but didn’t have a real interest in racing.  If CSE and the City of Oakland didn’t step up to host the event, it’s doubtful this site would have launched.

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