Heaven on a Sunday was how the Oakland Running Festival felt yesterday. As a participant in the half-marathon portion of the race, it was a blast to see the support of Oaklanders from all walks of life cheering on runners like myself, whether it was Chinatown or up-and-coming West Oakland. Oakland's finest sports fans were there to cheer on the runners, including the Oakland bleacher creatures and the inhabitants of the Black Hole. While other races in the Bay Area get more press, such as the Bay to Breakers, the Oakland Running Festival had its own unique flavor and color.
It was fun to run through the "Ring of Fire" from the West Oakland-based Crucible artisans, and to run past the delectable treats from Brown Sugar Kitchen off of Mandela Parkway. Weather-wise, it was a perfect day. The highlight of the race for me was running around Oakland's crown jewel, Lake Merritt, before heading back to City Hall for the finish on Telegraph Avenue, the parade route that the Swingin' A's of early the '70s went through.