Oakland on the Run Again

Oakland is preparing to host its first marathon in 25 years, joining surrounding cities like San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose that already host races.

The city council on Wednesday approved the event, slated to take place in March 2010. The marathon will be part of the three-day Oakland Running Festival, which will include the full marathon, a half-marathon, a relay, 5K and Kids' Fun Run.

Organizers say Oakland's economy could see millions of dollars in revenue from hotel reservations, restaurants and shopping surrounding the event.

Oakland resident Gene Brtalik, who organized runs in Baltimore and Frederick, Md., approached the city council in January about the marathon and was told to come back with more plans. Council members approved the event after learning the course is three-quarters complete.

Registration for the event is now open at oaklandmarathon.com.

Meanwhile,  the San Francisco Giants announced plans Wednesday for a new half-marathon race next year that will start and finish at AT&T Park.

The Giant Race will actually be three races in one, a 13.1-mile half-marathon and a 5-kilometer run for both professional and amateur runners, and a "final mile" children's race, all ending on the baseball field inside the park.

The race is scheduled for June 2010, but an exact date has not yet been set, pending the Giants' schedule next year. The route is also in the planning stages.

Race director J.T. Service of Evolve Sports, a San Francisco sports management and marketing firm partnering with the Giants, said Wednesday he expects around 5,000 participants.

The exact route the course will take is still in the planning stages, he said.

Service said the race will likely begin outside AT&T Park, head up Third Street to the Embarcadero and then into the downtown area, through parts of North Beach and Chinatown, and the lower Marina area. It will loop around Crissy Field, head back through Pier 39 and along the Embarcadero, and end inside AT&T Park.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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