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Archives for the day Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

The second Oakland Running Festival event will take place this weekend, and Alameda Runners decided it was time to chat with race organizers, Corrigan Sports Enterprises (CSE). We ran the Oakland Half last year — and will lead the official (but still unofficial) 2:15 half marathon pace group — and had a couple of questions.

Last year’s event had around 6,400 participants, with event organizers expecting more than 7,000 runners this year, race organizers told Alameda Runners.

SF Bay Area runners really had no idea what to expect leading into the event last year, and there were good and bad things about the event. Athletes were brutally honest and CSE took the criticism as motivation to make changes.

“Runners really loved the crowd support, bands, the Crucible Fire Arch, the organization and the course. The one area they were concerned about was the expo and we have done our best to make the experience better for 2011.”

I enjoyed the Crucible Fire Arch and the taiko drummers, and can’t wait to see what’s lining the course this year. It was great to see Oakland and the East Bay turn out in great numbers last year, but this weekend’s poor weather forecast may only bring out the diehards.

There have been some slight course changes made that CSE wants runners to be familiar with.

“The full marathon has some changes in the Montclair and Fruitvale areas to alleviate some of the traffic concerns we heard after last year’s event. Runners this year will run along Trafalgar and Monterey before Lincoln instead of Mountain Blvd. Also, participants will make a left onto Nicol before turning onto Coolidge as opposed to making a right and going down Fruitvale. The other major change is that runners will traverse the path around Lake Merritt this year instead of going down Bellevue avenue.”

Outside of the actual race and what runners will experience, other changes have been made as well.

“We have streamlined the expo process where runners can print out their confirmation card before arriving at the expo. We will have more signage and made the post-race area longer to accommodate more people. Residents will see that we have put together a detour map to show how they can get to each one of the Freeways that surround Oakland.”

Waiting in line is never fun, so it’s great that they’ve made it easier for us to get the packet pickup faster and more efficient. In addition, I saw a few complaints on Twitter and in local media about the unexpected traffic issues in and around Oakland on race day… good to see it’s getting fixed.

The inaugural ORF expo was a bit sparse, and runners told CSE about it, and changes are being made for 2011. Organizers decided to expand into a larger hall and expect more than 40 vendors to show their wares — and we’ll be there to check out the good stuff.

To finish up the interview, CSE — which also hosts a successful half marathon and running weekend in Baltimore — is glad that the event is able to have such a positive impact on the City.

“Last year’s event brought high praise to the City of Oakland and changed a lot of misconceptions. We hope your readers understand that our goal is to put on a top-flight race each year that will rival some of the other races around the Bay Area. Last year’s event brought in nearly $2 million for the city and CSE paid for all the city services.”

If you’re looking for a race this weekend, on-site registration is still taking place, with a limited number of spots available for the full marathon, half marathon, 5K and kids fun run.