Downtown Oakland will be the center piece of this weekend's marathon. Photo: Michael Layefsky on Flickr
Oakland will host its first marathon in a quarter-century this weekend during a two-day event featuring a full marathon, half marathon, 5K run and kids' fun run.
The Oakland Running Festival kicks off today with an all-day sports expo at the Marriott City Center downtown, which is open to the public, and a twilight 5K run around Lake Merritt.
he half and full marathons, as well as .1-mile kid fun run, will be held Sunday morning.
Sunday's race will be the city's first marathon in 25 years, according to Corrigan Sports Enterprises, the company that is organizing the event.
"Northern California is a hotbed for endurance athletes," company President Lee Corrigan said. "There is clearly a hole in the running calendar and a real need for a first-class running event in the East Bay area."
The marathon course starts downtown and then heads up through the Rockridge neighborhood and the Piedmont hills.
It then winds down to Fruitvale Avenue before continuing to International Boulevard and following the waterfront past Jack London Square.
After heading through West Oakland, it loops around Lake Merritt and ends at City Hall downtown.
More than 6,000 people have signed up for the various races, and spots remain in each of them.
Last-minute participants can sign up at a late registration booth at the Sports Expo today between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Several roads will be closed during the marathon, and details are available at www.oaklandmarathon.com.