Run the Oakland Marathon and Qualify for Boston Early With Lena Zentgraf

On today’s episode we interview Lena Zentgraf, assistant race director for the Oakland Run Fest.

Held in March each year for the past 10 years the Oakland Run Fest offers a marathon, a half marathon, a 5K, a relay, and a combo race that includes the 5K and half marathon



This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Oakland Running Festival and it is on the map to stay.  It has been nationally recognized as the Bay Area race to run. Corrigan Sports makes the process easy from registration to race day, and the people of Oakland make you feel welcome from start to finish.

We’ll be talking with Lena Zentgraf, Run Fest Race Director about the Run Fest Tradition, changes to the course to make it faster including a portion on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

We’ll also clarify some of the myths about the city of Oakland, shadowed by San Francisco but truly a gem in the rough for those of us who reside here.

Lena is a lifelong athlete recently bitten by the running bug. Having played lacrosse, basketball, and run track in HS you went on to play lacrosse in college at the University of Notre Dame.

Lena coaches adults, high school athletes and also organizes sports teams in the East Bay and has recently joined Corrigan Sports as their assistant race director for their Oakland races which include the Oakland Run Fest and a few others throughout the year.

Whether you’re in the area or not, this may be a great spring event to add to your season.

Questions Lena is asked:

3:59 First Four:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Where were you born?
  3. Where do you live now?
  4. What is your favorite race distance or type of race?

5:50 What first brought you to Oakland?

7:00 What is the history of the Oakland Run Fest?

8:55 What are the different neighborhoods of Baltimore and Oakland like?

10:42 How supportive are the residents of Oakland?

12:48 What’s the course like?

15:00 What does race weekend look like and entail?

20:15 Is the marathon course certified?

21:42 What can you say about Oakland to encourage our listeners to check out the city and run with us?

26:22 What about race day transportation and logistics?

28:14 What about street closures?

29:22 Are there volunteer opportunities for family members?

30:34 What’s special about the Oakland Run Fest?

33:04 Do you have runners who have run all 10 years and are there any notable runners?

34:12 Is it a little too early in the year for a marathon?

35:36 Is there anything else you would like to share with us about the Oakland Run Fest?

37:19 Final Kick Round:

  1. What is your favorite local training run (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
  2. Favorite running book(s)?
  3. Words of Wisdom or Humor?
  4. Who or what would you like to have featured on the Run To The Top podcast?

Quotes by Lena:

“There seems to be deep-rooted pride and connectedness to the city both for Oakland and for Baltimore.”

“Oakland is so real because people who live here love Oakland. They raise their kids here. They support it. They work here, and I think that family, how close-knit families and neighborhoods and communities are here then resonates throughout the city and so it’s something you want to be a part of.”

“There’s not much better place to run than Lake Merritt. It’s an almost perfect 5K, and it’s iconic, and it’s the epicenter of everything going on in Oakland as far as people working out and running and being fit.”

“It’s a good event to practice on even if we’re not your main event. I think you can get pretty much anything out of it whether it’s your event that you’re really gearing up for or you have something later in the season but you want to use it as a training opportunity.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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Mentioned in this podcast:

Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

Strava homepage

FasciaWear homepage

Oakland RunFest

Corrigan Sports homepage

Lake Merritt Oakland, CA

Lake Temescal West Shore and East Shore Loop Trail

Book: Born To Run by Christopher McDougall

Runners world 10-minute strength workouts

email Corrigan Sports about the Oakland RunFest

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