09 March 2011

Oakland Marathon neighborhood tour - # 19 - To the finish line

The Oakland Marathon finishes back where it began on Broadway by the spreading oak tree in front of City Hall.

From the map at left, it's clear that the the 25-mile point is close to the Lake Chalet.  Runners continue north on Lakeside, round the curve by the Essex, and shortly after that they veer ever so slightly to the left on to 19th Street.

Once on 19th Street, it is a straight shot that crosses Broadway at roughly Mile 26.05, then a block later a slightly backwards left turn on Telegraph in front of the stunningly restored Fox Theater, followed by a few more short blocks to the finish.

The stretch of 19th Street that runners cover seems kind of nondescript to the casual glance.  At the lake it starts out mostly residential and attractive, becomes generic office building-ish by Snow Park at Harrison Street, then peters out until it hits Broadway.

But my recent walk along the street to take photos was fast-paced and superficial.  My boss, the four quarters I put in the parking meter, said "step lively", and so I did.  Thus it was a happy coincidence that the week's East Bay Express (my favorite free weekly paper - required reading for East Bay residents and visitors) in its annual "Insider's Guide" claimed the "east of Uptown" area was becoming a distinct neighborhood, and went on to cite places to eat and drink as proof.  Why paraphrase it when you can read the short article yourself?

In photos, this is what runners will see in the last mile of the course.

19th Street begins here at Lakeside.

Your eyes do not deceive you.  It's a short little hill at the start of 19th Street.

The baronial Regillus condominium.

An oak tree in Snow Park.

"East of Uptown"

Cross Broadway, nearly at the spot where your 26.2 mile tour of Oakland began.  That's the Fox Oakland one block further.

Turn left on Telegraph at the Fox Theater.

(If you glance to your right as you are turning left you will see Uptown's large-scale apartment and condominium buildings that are bringing more residents back to downtown Oakland.)

Looking south on Telegraph at the few blocks that remain.

Boy oh boy, are you close now!

Nearly done.

(Photo credit: Lori Fusaro)


(Note the Raiderettes in Silver & Black cheering finishers in.)

(Photo credit: Lori Fusaro)

The race is run, and thus we also come to the end of the Oakland Marathon neighborhood tour.

Congratulations to those who ran and to those who read!

Now was this the city you thought it would be?

Did everything you thought you knew about Oakland, prepare you for the reality that there are many "theres" in Oakland?  And there are plenty more "theres", some nice, some not, that aren't part of the course of the marathon and therefore were not a part of the tour.

Whether you are a runner or not, why don't you spend a day or an afternoon in one or two of these neighborhoods that you saw on the tour.  You'll be quite pleasantly surprised.  You might even come back for more.

(Photo credit: Lori Fusaro)

These four women above, finishing in the 2010 inaugural event, provide a nice way to conclude.  Probably four friends, or perhaps relatives, they certainly weren't in the ranks of the top finishers.  They may have been a marathon team entry.  You can be sure they worked hard for this accomplishment, and there may have been times they thought they couldn't do it.  But they did.

Oakland is like that, too.  This city is rising in many ways, even as it struggles with its schools, crime, and political quicksand.  A surprisingly large reservoir of pride throughout the city was evoked in the first running of the Oakland Marathon in 2010.  I predict that the race and its beneficial impact will continue to grow, and contribute to the city's evolution.  The finish line may be out there in the distance but I'm certain that Oakland will cross it.

Oakland Marathon neighborhood tour - navigational links
Backward to: Lake Merritt
Oakland Marathon 2011 (my account of running the race)
Oakland Marathon website

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