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Terri’s Marathon

March 29, 2010

Terri had her half marathon today, and when she runs races, I like to play photojournalist. I don’t know why I don’t do it more often. It’s pretty fun. I put my camera in my bag, get my bike and just ride the course of the marathon (which, by the way, is what I’d recommend if you’re going to do a marathon. My ass is sore from sitting in that saddle all day, but my poor wife can hardly walk).

This was the first time I’ve done this in Oakland, and i have to say, it is so much more interesting than the couple races in San Francisco. San Fran is pretty, to be sure, but the route in San Fran goes along the Bay and across the Golden Gate Bridge and through the park. The Oakland marathon (or, at least, the half), takes you through the real Oakland. They could have easily devised a route that went up the running/biking path along the bay, cut up University Avenue through Berkeley and passed through some of the nicer neighborhoods. But instead, they started downtown, went through Chinatown, through some of the industrial area by the docks, some of the not-so-nice neighborhoods–and people from all over came out to cheer on the runners.

In Chinatown, people leaned out their apartment windows banging on pots. Construction workers shouted words of encouragement through their traffic cones. Raiders fans were dressed in their typical Halloween garb. We passed winos and junkies and people in the projects. At one row of houses, kids were lined up along the fence just staring at the runners. At one house, a dad stuff in his front lawn with his two kids, all three of them still in their pajamas and all holding a bowl of cereal. Oakland has not had a marathon in 25 years, so this was unlike anything they’d ever seen in their neighborhood.

Traffic cops were shouting words of encouragement to the runners. People looked from their windows and balconies and rooftops. Two college-aged kids had pulled chairs out to the street and set up a table between them. They looked like they were planning on sitting there and sipping beer the entire day.

It made me pretty happy to live in Oakland. It feels like a city that, as diverse as it is, really has a feel about it. And I’m proud of my wife.

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