Proof of Alphorns

As you may know, alphorn players are unofficially part of Oakland’s Running Festival experience.  After running some ten miles uphill, the marathoners are welcomed to their Montclair high-point by several Riccola-like players.  We didn’t see photographic proof until now, a week later.

One runner, whose blogger alias is XLMIC, stopped in her tracks and captured the experience:

Then I heard these guys!  How could I not stop and take a picture?  This was in the middle of a moderate hill that felt like freaking the Alps.  [I] appreciate that I stopped and took a pic for the blog ‘cuz starting again was so hard.

Given our Germanic heritage in Oakland, we’re not too surprised by this Montclair quorum of players.  Since hearing about the alphorn greeting during the inaugural 2010 marathon, we hoped for and were pleased by this encore performance.

P.S.  In an enlarged image, you can see the Wooden Window support truck behind the players.  We first noticed these restorer-contractors at last year’s Greening Oakland Homes fair — and they clearly respect local tradition.

Take Video Tour Through Montclair

If you ever need to show people around the Oakland and our hills, then we suggest sharing this Oakland marathon video tour.

To find local turf, fast forward through the first few minutes until you reach the trail above Lake Temescal.  And then stick around as the route heads through the Fernwood area and down Mountain Blvd.  It is all very familiar, and something you would never bother to video!

What’s a bit entertaining is the map doesn’t match the video traveler in the least.  The map indicates that you’re located at the Park Blvd exit from Highway 13, while the video shows the La Salle and Mountain intersection right in the Village.  Funny, huh?

Still we’re grateful for Oakland North’s video, not to mention the real reason this video was shot.  As reported earlier here, we’re all welcoming the brand-new Running Festival Weekend and the Marathon centerpiece this Sunday morning.

Some 1,000 marathoners are expected to race right through Montclair, arriving between 8-10 am.  They have been traipsing uphill for a while, and might be a little winded by then.  Of course, these runners would appreciate a little cheering as they trot along – and we’ll be there to witness a tradition in the making!

Huffing And Puffing In Montclair

We can’t wait to see the Oakland Marathoners huffing and puffing their way through Montclair, as they reach the high point of this brand-new race.  At least they won’t head up to Skyline!

This marathon, which takes place on Sunday, March 28th, offers a new way to experience Oakland – as a runner, volunteer or regular old cheerleader.

Over 4,000 participants are expected in the three main races during the Running Festival Weekend, including 1,000 who will run the full marathon through Montclair.  These long-distance goers will leave City Hall at 7:30am, and are supposed to hit the Village between 8-10 am.

“Getting to Montclair was a little bit of a challenge and found Broadway to be the least ‘up’ of the streets,” explained Montclarion Tod Vedock, who’s volunteering and serving as assistant race director.  “Plus we figured running through Temescal Park would be a nice addition.”

You may greet these runners as they sashay south on Mountain Blvd.  Fortunately, there won’t be any Heartbreak Hill stories, since the throng arrives at the Oakland Hills early in the race:  Lake Temescal at mile 6; Duncan/Fernwood at mile 7;  Montclair Elementary at mile 8; and Mountain/Ascot at mile 9.

“Our goal for this race was to bring a positive and revenue generating event to the City of Oakland.  We are an outdoor community with bikers, runners [and] walkers,” said Vedock.  This kind of running event seems long overdue, and it’s nice to shine a light on Oakland.

P.S.  Want to make sure everyone’s headed in the right direction?  Volunteer as a course marshal for the Oakland Marathon by reaching Tod Vedock at

We’re excited about greeting these runners as they sashay south on Mountain Blvd.  Fortunately, we won’t see any Heartbreak Hill stories, because the throng arrives at the Oakland Hills relatively early in the race:  Lake Temescal at mile 6; Duncan/Fernwood at mile 7;  Montclair Elementary at mile 8; and Mountain/Ascot at mile 9.