Oakland Represented Everything Fitness Can Do April 05 2011

The Oakland Running Festival wrapped up almost a week ago now, but that doesn’t make it old news by any means.

Much like your body needs to recover from such an output, and your mind needs some time to let the achievement sink in, the community and the masses have needed a week or so to let the Big Picture develop and assess just how impactful this event has become.

That assessment began with a string of good vibes posted from one runner after another across Facebook and Twitter. Runners loved the event and…*blush*…had a ton of nice things to say about their race tees as well.

But the real accounting of the race’s effect has just recently been released in the form of a commissioned report from the Regional Economic Studies Institute from Towson University in Maryland.

A few line-items from the report: 7,300 runners dumped $3 million into the city; 19 percent were out-of-towners, averaging $445 spent per person on hotels, food, drink, shopping, entertainment, chicken and waffles; for each one, 1.8 non-running guests came along for support.

But really, more valuable than the hard dollar figure is the enormous group hug that all this word-of-mouth generates. Let’s face it, by-and-large the majority of Oakland’s nationwide public relations is emitted from the worst stadium facility in TWO sports, coupled with an infamously criminal-esqe fanbase and the constant threat of being rejected by said teams because, no matter how bad those teams are, they’re still too good for Oakland.

Seriously…ask any long-range out-of-towner their impression of Oakland and you’ll hear it mentioned last among Bay Area destinations, coupled with groans about the Raiders or A’s. Not fair, to say the least.

The truth about Oakland is that it’s gorgeous. On one side it offers sweeping views of San Francisco, on the other the rolling Oakland Hills. In between are blossoming neighborhoods that are becoming more eclectic every day. Rock Ridge? Jack London Square? Are you kidding me? Have you seen them lately?

Well 10,000 plus ORF attendees did. They took a by-foot tour of every nook and cranny the city had to offer, then took to their keyboards to tell the world about it. It was easily the best PR Oakland has received this year, and a testament to the value of fitness events like ORF to create a positive mindshare among the masses. Corporate CMO’s pay attention! Perhaps in lieu of naming rights on the next stadium, you sponsor a series of multi-city fitness events.

Kudos to the neighborhoods of Oakland who all came out to cheer on passing runners and support this celebration of their community. We at Greenlight are honored to have done our part, pumping money from the purchase of our race tees back into the Running for a Better Oakland organization, a non-profit that likes to say it “puts kids back on the streets” by teaching them the value of running and fitness on the wider scale of living an overall better life.

Through the ORF partnership we also were able to donate to Mary’s Meals, an organization that creates a two-fold solution by delivering healthy meals to schools in areas where kids often don’t do either of those. By using the schools as a mess hall, they both create an incentive for the kids to GO to school, and they feed them a healthy meal. Our donation feeds 63 kids for a year.

AAAaaand…because we’re 100% recycled, the ORF shirts spared the equivalent of 60,000 plastic bottles from landfills. Let’s be clear too…all of this back-patting is not on us, but on Corrigan Sports Entertainment for choosing us to partner with on this race. They could use any race tee, but they chose to Wear It For Good.

Here’s to Oakland and the ORF. We hope to be with you year in, year out…