This will be the seventh year anniversary of Pace Groups at the Oakland Marathon! Last year, over 200 participants signed up for the Pace Groups

The Pace Groups will help you not only achieve your goals, but have FUN, whether the goal is a personal record, Boston qualifier, or simply to cross the finish line! Our Pacers are extremely experienced runners, chosen based upon their previous running and/or pacing performances and know what it takes to hold a steady pace and give you a great marathon experience – dynamic and personable, and dedicated to making sure you have a great time on the course!

Important Highlights about Pace Groups:

  • Participation is free to all participants who sign up at the pre-race expo booth on 3/19/16. Registration includes completing a release of liability waiver and in return you will be given a pace bib to wear on your back to help identify you to your pacers and group. In addition, you will be given a temporary pace band (while supplies last) to wear on your forearm which will alert you of your specific mile goals. THERE WILL BE NO MARATHON DAY SIGN UP FOR PACE GROUPS.
  • We will have Pace Groups for the following marathon times: 3:20, 3:30, 3:40, 3:50, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, and 5:00.
  • The goal is that Pacers will be running “even splits,” which means that every mile will be run at approximately the same pace. Exceptions to this will be in the beginning due to the bottleneck at the start and on the miles which may be slightly hilly. Most of the GEICO Pace Groups will not be walking during the marathon. (Traditionally, the pace groups from 4:00 and slower will be walking during fluid stations and specifically the 4:45 pace group will have pacers who run the marathon and pacers who do a run-walk modified version of the marathon for that pace.)
  • To meet up with the Pace Groups on marathon day, look for them at the start, holding up large signs with the pace group finishing times printed on them, and wearing Pace Group shirts. Try to meet up with your group twenty minutes before the start (7:10 a.m.).
  • Five or ten minutes before the start, your Pacers will give their “final instructions”. This will include any adjustments being made to the pace due to course conditions, as well as your Pacers’ method of meeting back up and keeping the group together at the fluid stations. This is another great opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have!
  • Fluid station philosophy, regarding whether the Pace Group will walk or run through it, is up to the Pacer(s). Each Pace Group will let their team know their strategy for getting back together after a water stop. Traditionally, the pace groups from 4:00 and slower will be walking during fluid stations. Be sure to check with your Pacer at the expo booth or prior to the race if this is extremely important to you.
  • We want you to run your own race. If you feel great on race day, and you want to go ahead to catch the next team, we’ll cheer you on. If it’s just not your day, slow down and wait for the next Pace Group behind to catch you. And if you want to just fall in and match strides with your Pacer, we sure will appreciate the company!
  • If you have any questions, please feel free to post them on the ORF Facebook page. This will allow others to share the questions and answers. Or you may e-mail the Pace Group Organizer at [email protected].

Meet the 2016 Pacers (2017 TBA)

Full Pacers


Kevin O’Neill began running in 7th grade at King Middle School in Berkeley, then went on to compete in cross country and track for Berkeley High and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.  He runs because it feels great, he like to eat, and all his best friends do it.

Since completing his collegiate running career, Kevin has moved up in distance to half- and full marathons.  He ran 2:58:53 in the 2015 Oakland Marathon, and now he’s decided to become a pacer to help others achieve their goals.



Tzach Segal has been running since his high school days. He has paced SF marathon and  the Morgan Hill marathon for the last 5 years. Tzach has participated in different long distance races and in the last 2 years has been focused on long distance triathlons. Tzach completed 3 ironman races in Coeur d’Alene and Arizona. Tzach is looking forward to running with you and helping you achieve your goals!

Liang ran his first marathon at the 2015 Oakland Running Festival (ORF) and finished at 3:54. He followed the 3:50 group paced by Linh/Beth and was inspired by these two pacers on how runners can help each other. After his first ORF, he set his goal of becoming a 2016 ORF pacer to help others achieve their marathon goals. His marathon PR was set at his second marathon (2015 CIM) finished at 3:10. Liang is looking forward to running with you and pacing you across the finish line.


Pei has paced/raced 30+ full & half marathon since he started running ~4 years ago, with a full marathon PR of 2:59:56(set in 2015 CIM).  He enjoys running & enjoys pacing even more(yes, he paced more events than he raced :-).  He ran his 1st ORF in 2014, and was going to pace for the 2015 ORF event, but had to withdraw due to injury.  He’s very happy to be back for the 2016 event, and look forward to seeing many fellow runners and helping them reach their marathon goals.


Roni has been running since 2002. Roni ran so far (as of December 2015) 100 marathons, 90 halves, and 10 50Ks. His first marathon was San Francisco, and that’s the marathon he paced for the first time in 2009. He set his PR in California International Marathon (CIM) 2014: 3:25:20. Roni paced so far 30 marathons and 11 halves – it will be his 6th time pacing Oakland Marathon.

World Marathon Majors history: Roni ran Boston Marathon every year since 2012, Chicago Marathon every year since 2013, New York Marathon in 2013 and 2015, Tokyo and Berlin Marathons in 2015. In 2015 Roni ran 5 of the 6 majors – missed London.

In March 2014 Roni ran 3 marathons in 3 continents in one week (Barcelona, Jerusalem and Oakland).

His favorite run is The Relay – He ran it as the captain of Runners Anonymous team 10 times since 2005, and starting 2009 Runners Anonymous team is also running Lake Tahoe Relay every year.

Roni has been a coach of Run365 (San Francisco Marathon training program) from 2011 until 2015.

Ambassador history:

–          The San Francisco Marathon Ambassador in 2012.

–          Oakland Marathon Ambassador in 2015-2016.

–          Abbott World Marathon Majors Ambassador in 2016.

When Roni is not running – he is SCUBA diving and homebrew beer.

Ofer ran his first half marathon in 1998 and since then completed >40 halves ,7 marathons and 50K. Ofer paced Western Pacific & Morgan hill marathons in 2015.

In 2015 Ofer also started doing triathlons and completed several Olympic triathlons as well as his first IM 70.3 last September in Santa Cruz.

Other than enjoying trail running with friends , Ofer likes to spend time with his family , doing carpentry or home made gadgets.

Looking forward to help you achieve your goals !


Jonathan Zingman has paced all of the Oakland Marathons and been a part of the LMJS training group every year as well.  He’s completed 19 marathons, including Boston 3 times.  He has been an Oaklander for over 30 years, so not only will you finish on time running with him, but you’ll get a local’s tour of the city as well.


Hanoch will return for the Oakland marathon for the sixth time as a pacer. Hanoch was the pacer for the Oakland Marathon since its inauguration on March 28th, 2010 and the picture above is from the inauguration of the race in 2010 which was my first pacer assignment. Since then, other than Oakland marathon, I paced the following marathons San-Francisco, San Luis Obispo,, Mountain to the beach, Modesto, Morgan Hill. Other than marathons. so far I did 74 marathon, 20 50K, and Triathlons. Recently, together with Zachary seal and one other runner we completed a self supported run through the Grand Canyon from south rim to north rim and back. When I am not sleeping or running, I like to bike, hike and listen to books on tape, and software coding. My favorite point for the race is “crossing through fire” around Mile20.

Brian Lee has run the Oakland Marathon 5 times and has been a pacer for the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders Oakland Running Festival Marathon Training Program for the past 4 years.  He is an Oakland resident and looking forward to helping runners both achieve their goals and enjoy their race.


Ed is a proud Oakland resident and this will be his sixth consecutive year running the ORF Marathon.  This is definitely his favorite race and he has many wonderful memories from past races: great volunteers, families offering snacks from their front yard, running through the arch of fire, cheering crowds and the musicians along the way.  If you’re up early enough, you can catch him running around Lake Merritt before dawn.

Allegra started running marathons in 1998 and has run or paced every Oakland Marathon since 2011. She is a pacer for the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders’ Oakland Marathon training program, and has also paced the Santa Rosa Marathon, See Jane Run Half Marathon, and Zooma Half Marathon. She is looking forward to pacing runners to a strong finish while enjoying a tour of Oakland.


Boaz has been actively running since 1998. So far completed 15 official marathons and as many “unofficial” marathons – just running 26.2 for fun. Paced two full marathons before – Mountain to Beach in Ventura and the Western Pacific in Fremont. Lost count of half marathons ran and paced … His wife ran Oakland in 2013, his son in 2014, and now he is looking forward for his first time running Oakland. Paul began running in high school as a sprinter in track in the late 1990s, competing in distances ranging from 100 meters to 400 meters.  In recent years he converted to distance running, completing ultramarathons and qualifying for Western States multiple times.  He completed his first 100 mile ultramarathon (Rio Del Lago) in 2015 and aspires to complete his first 200 mile ultramarathon in the coming years.  Paul has paced various races such as the San Francisco Marathon, Morgan Hill Marathon, Berkeley Half Marathon, and Brazen Western Pacific Marathon.  


Melissa has been an avid long distance runner since 1999, running her first marathon at Silicon Valley and has run about 50 – marathons, 50ks, and 50-miler races since. She has paced multiple Oakland Marathons, San Francisco Marathons, and Morgan Hill Marathons and is looking forward to meeting new runners at the Oakland Marathon this year.  


Mike is a pacer for the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders’ Oakland Marathon training program and will be running the Oakland Marathon for the fourth time.  

Half Pacers


David is excited to be pacing the 2016 Oakland Half Marathon—his sixth time participating in the Oakland Running Festival.  He has completed 15 half marathons including a third place finish at the 2015 Running of the Elk in 1:23:11.  David has also finished 8 marathons with a PR of 2:56:30 and is a two-time Boston Marathon finisher.  David looks forward to running nice even 8-minute miles on a flat, fun tour of Oakland.


Junjie started running in 2013. After that, he also started road cycling and swimming and became a triathlete. He finished his first half IRONMAN in 2015 and first Marathon at Mogran Hill Marathon at 3:45:33 (with 1300 feet climbing). He paced bay breeze HM at 1:55 earlier this year. Let’s all run together and enjoy the nice outdoors in California!

Xin Michelle Shao. Michelle Shao started running Marathon in 2013. She finished full Marathons in South Africa, Paris, North America so far, and she is aiming to participate the 2016 Golden Coast Marathon in Australia and 2018 Antarctica Marathon. Michelle finished 2015 San Jose Rock’ n Roll Half Marathon at 1:45:57 and 2015 California International Marathon at 3:33:36. Let’s run together to run further.


John Martin is running the Oakland Half Marathon for the fourth time. Originally from Canada, John is living in Oakland and enjoying the Bay Area weather. John is looking forward to helping runners achieve their best time this March!


Mary Beth Kierstead has been an addicted marathoner since she ran her first in 1997.  She is an experienced pacer with over twenty marathons under her belt.  She is a member of Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders and Pace Group Leader for the Oakland Marathon training program.  This is her sixth year in a row pacing for the Oakland Marathon.

Lisette loves running and can’t wait to pace you to a 2:10 ½ Marathon. She is an experienced ½ marathoner and promises to bring 13.1 miles of fun as you tour her hometown.


Yavanna Reynolds has helped as a pacer for the Oakland Running Festival training program with LMJS for the last 4 years and has participated in numerous half and full marathons over the last decade. She is known for her steady, predictable, even pace and cheerful disposition.

Michele has been running for 17 years, paced Oakland and SF and run several marathons and half marathons.  She keeps a steady pace and a good attitude.  She is looking forward to running with you!


Sara is an experienced pacer and prides herself on her metronome-like pace. Even splits is her goal as she takes you to your 2:30 finish.


Nnenna believes that running should be fun. As an experienced pacer she will make sure you meet your 2:40 finish with a smile on your face. Nnenna has run numerous half marathons and 4 marathons since she started distance running 3 years ago. If you see Nnenna on the course, feel free to chat with her as the miles roll by.


Pierre Thiry ran 8 marathons (it will be 9 after the March 6 Napa Valley) and more than 25 half marathons since 1991. He ran the ORF marathon twice (2011 & 2015) and the half once (2010). He was recruited as a pacer for the LMJS training for the ORF this year. Based on this experience he is looking forward to his first race pacing for the ORF half and plan to volunteer to pace other races in the future. He runs steady and slow.