2012 Oakland Running Festival

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Marathon runners take off at the start/finish line in Snow Park, Oakland. Photo by Tony Gonzales

The 2012 Oakland Running Festival, which included nearly 9,000 runners in the Marathon, Half-Marathon, Team Relay, 5K and Kid's Fun Run, was held this past weekend in downtown Oakland. The participants raced through the city of Oakland, beginning and ending in Snow Park. Raiderettes and Hall of Famer Willie Brown were on hand to cheer for the runners as they crossed the finish line.

The marathoners and relays began first at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, followed by over 1,000 5K participants. Raiders senior offensive assistant, Al Saunders, ran the 5K race and finished second in his age group and was the 44th male finisher overall. The 5K was followed by the half-marathon with almost 4,000 runners taking part.

People lined the streets of Oakland to cheer on the runners, while Raiderettes and Brown greeted the runners at the finish line. "I think it's a great thing," said Raiderette Angel. "The Oakland Raiders are a big part of the city of Oakland and to have us at the finish line, it makes the runners feel good and they get some cheerleaders to cheer them the rest of the way. I think it's good to have us out here and I'm glad we get to do it every year."

Brown was also glad he was able to support the runners and the city of Oakland. "I have always participated in Oakland whatever event they have going on," said Brown. "I'm going to find time to do certain things for Oakland because I played here all those years and I know the fans, they know me, so I'm just excited to be here and be around them and seeing all the people run. It's great for the organization."

The Hall of Famer also greeted Coach Saunders as he crossed the finish line. "I thought it was great," said Brown. "It's good to see him run. He runs every day so this should be a cakewalk for him."

The winner of the women's 5K, Wendy Roberts from London who was running in her first race in the United States, was impressed with the community feel of the Oakland Running Festival. "The nicest thing, which I realized with the 5K because it's a manageable distance, was seeing all the kids running with their parents," said Roberts. "That's a really lovely thing to see. It's such a community thing, running, and it's really uplifting to see families running together and the kids getting out there and doing some exercise."

Roberts appreciated the Raiderettes cheering her on as she neared the finish. "Fantastic, it's always nice to have somebody cheering you on, especially at the end when you're feeling really tired," said Roberts.

Brown encourages more people to come out to the Running Festival next year. "They missed a lot of fun," said Brown. "The excitement of people being here, the mayor is here, everybody wants to participate. I think if next year they come out and give some support, it'll be even better. Those that are not here, they missed a good fun time."

Marathon

Men

Chris Mocko – 2:28:09

Phillip Shaw – 2:37:13

Tony Torres – 2:38:05

Women

Anna Bretan – 2:57:33

Monica Zhuang – 3:06:17

Penny Macphail – 3:12:18

Half-marathon

Men

Ivan Median – 1:13:44

Jaime Alvarez – 1:16:48

Noah Morrison – 1:16:53

Women

Rachel Niehuus – 1:18:16

Madeline Kramer – 1:19:06

Emily Bates – 1:23:54

Team Relay

Wild Dogs – 2:29:57

Three Men and a Kid – 2:46:17

Team Awesome – 2:55:35

5K

Men

Paul Coover – 0:16:35

Robert Schneider – 0:16:43

Brian Collett – 0:16:57

Women

Wendy Roberts – 0:19:35

Jennifer Doyle – 0:19:59

Kathy Rapmund – 0:20:31

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