The Raiderettes cheer on first place marathon finisher, Tegenu Beru, at the finish line of the Oakland Running Festival. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
The Oakland Raiders and sports marketing and event management company Corrigan Sports Enterprises (CSE) teamed up for the Oakland Running Festival this past weekend. The Raiders sponsored the first mile of the 26.2-mile course that traveled through many Oakland neighborhoods. "The Raiders are pleased to support the City of Oakland, the City's parks and recreation facilities and an event which helps bolster the local economy," said Amy Trask, Oakland Raiders Chief Executive.
"This is the second annual running festival," said Dave Gell, CSE and Oakland Running Festival Director of Communications. "We've set new records compared to last year. Our attendance is up 20 percent from 2010. We've sold out all of our races. This whole weekend we'll have 7,300 runners, representing 33 states and six countries."
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was on hand to support the runners on the crisp Sunday morning. "I think the whole running festival represents the renaissance of Oakland," said Quan. "I'm hoping the reputation of this run will spread across the region and this country because this is one of the most beautiful runs in the country. I'm hoping this will give the Oaklanders and the people from outside Oakland a second, fresh look at the city."
"We're happy that the Raiders are here and are part of the tradition of being athletic and being out there," Quan continued. "The Oakland Raiders are the symbol of the city and having the Raiderettes cheer [the runners] on I'm sure gave them a little extra boost this morning."
According to Gell, the Oakland Running Festival generates $2.5 million of economic impact for the city of Oakland. It also brings the city together with thousands of participants from all over the country and over 1,000 volunteers. "The Oakland Running Festival consists of five races," said Gell. "On Saturday night we had a 5K down at Jack London Square, a four-person team relay that covers the marathon distance, and then we had the kids fun run today [in addition to the half and full marathons]. That comprises the whole running festival. We're not just one event. We like to say we're all bodies, shapes, and sizes, and all ages are welcome at the running festival."
Raiderettes Voz, Maureen, Holly, Diana, Itza and Jonni cheered on the runners at the start of the half marathon and at the finish line. Football's Fabulous Females also had one of their own running in the half marathon. Raiderette Lytisha was excited to participate in the Oakland Running Festival and to have her teammates at the finish line to help her complete the race. "It was really exciting and very inspiring to be amongst all these people that came out for this race," said Lytisha. "It was so exciting seeing my sisters out there supporting everybody."
The Raiderettes and Mayor Quan held the tape at the finish line for the winners of each race. Tegenu Beru, from San Jose, Calif., was the top male marathon finisher, clocking a time of 2:30:08. The top female marathon finisher, Anna Bretan, out of Berkeley, Calif., won the second year in a row and set a new Oakland Running Festival women's marathon time at 2:53:19. The top half marathon finishers were also from California -- Robert Oliver, from Ventura, running 13.1 miles in 1:10:46, and Verity Breen, from Burlingame, finishing in 1:21:37.