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Ambassador: Gabe Abastillas

Personal trainer, nutrition coach and run club co-founder, Gabe does it all. Hailing from Oakland, CA Gabe is an accomplished runner with results all over California. As a run club co-founder, Gabe brought beer running to the Bay Area, bringing together a diverse group of runners to celebrate local craft brewing, an active lifestyle and the East Bay.


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Ambassador: JOHN LEE

John caught the running bug in 2012 after he was prompted by his doctor to lose 10 pounds.  One month later he hit the initial goal of losing 10 pounds and the stretch goal of being able to one run mile without stopping.  In 2013 he ran his first marathon in the Oakland Running Festival.  Although it would have been easier to put off training for a marathon, he didn’t want to wait another year to run a marathon in his favorite city.  When he’s not training for the next race, John enjoys traveling and trying to keep up with the new restaurants, bars and breweries that keep popping up in Oakland.


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Ambassador: FELIX PAYOMO

As an Oakland Native (born & raised), I have had the sincere pleasure of observing the evolution of my city and home. One in particular, finally having a Great Marathon to call our own – The Oakland Running Festival!  As a fitness enthusiast and local business owner with a private massage & bodywork practice in this great city – my circle of friends, clients, and colleagues have come to know my passion for fitness, recovery, and running in my favorite city.  From the neighborhood streets – north, west, east, and to the trails in our foothills and great regional parks, there’s no nook and cranny of Oakland that I have yet to explore or intend to discover.  My race training and preparation for 8 marathons (3 Consecutive Oakland Running Festival Marathons 2014-2016), 2 50K Ultramarathons (1 in Redwood Regional – Oakland Hills), 14 Half-marathons (2 The Town’s Half), and countless 5k’s and 10k’s over these many years, has afforded me lots of opportunities to discover and re-discover Oakland – “Again for the first time.” I am extremely excited and honored to represent a “Branch” in The Oakland Running Festival 2017 and intend to share my passion for running this great city and a great race! [email protected]

Clara Denise Oden

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Running takes your body, mind, and spirit to a better place. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward can make you healthier, happier, and more confident.  It my goal to inspire  everyone on the planet both a reason to run and the means and opportunity to keep running and never stop.  I have been running over 20th years. I am member of New York Road Runners Club and Black Girls Runs.

[email protected]

Gary Tang

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Ambassador: GARY TANG

I am a real estate appraiser, a Realtor, a Kung Fu instructor, a published author and working toward an energy broker certificate. Because of the stress and eating habits of the past, I got myself to the border of Type II Diabetes. I started running my first mile at age 54. After about 12 months of consistent running, I crossed my first Marathon finish line with tears. I have avoided Diabetes medication by running. I entered two Marathons and several half marathons per year for about four years and had ran Marathons in Hong Kong and Canada

Eileen Joy


Ambassador: EILEEN JOY

I ran the first Oakland Marathon in 2010 to become a Marathon Manic (2 marathons w/ in 7 days).  Since then I have run each Oakland Running Festival, Marathon Distance.  I live in Monterey County, but the majority of my races are in the bay area, and I am a bay area girl.  I’ve been running half marathons since 2007, marathons since 2008 & I’ve been pacing with Running Addicts since 2010 (half marathons only).  I am a very energetic, consistent and positive person who has been on a running streak since April of this year.  Running is my major coping skill, and I am a therapist (Licensed Clinical Social worker).  I’m also a yogi, and just love being active.

Todd Glieden

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Ambassador: TODD GLIEDEN

“hills for breakfast”, I can be found at various trail throughout the Bay Area from the Marin Headlands to Tilden and Redwood Parks in the Eastbay I am Originally from Danville and live in Castro Valley I run nearly every day with weekly mileage ranging from 35-40 miles. I am a member of LMJS Running Club, Transports and Salomon run clubs and I have participated in charity events such as One Run for Boston and the United Relay.  I have run the Oakland Running Festival in the Half Marathon, 5K and the Relay. I trained with the ORF Training Program which helped me become a much better at pacing myself. When not running you can find me with the 510Hikers or HEAT hiking groups promoting better health and my passion for being out in nature. I love taking pictures of my adventures and travel to run. I am vegan and a 15 year survivor of Lymphoma. [email protected].

Jill Walker

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Ambassador: JILL WALKER

 I started running seriously in 2012, when I decided to run a half marathon with Team in Training. Since then, I’ve run countless more half marathons, as well as two full marathons and two Ragnar relays. When I’m not running races, I’m a secondary teacher and instructional coach for Pittsburg Unified School District. I help to advise a running and fitness club and I’m super excited to bring some of the high school students to experience the Oakland Running Festival. The energy and community support of this race are unparalleled.  This year will be my fifth time participating in the ORF—it’s my absolute favorite race! [email protected]

Michael Rouse



Two and a half years ago, I started running to participate in a triathlon and to bond with my dad. He taught me to believe in myself and to never lose focus on the goals set. At first, I hated running because I was horrible at it, but became hooked when I experienced my first runner’s high. I am mainly involved in triathlons but have done dozens of 5ks, five half marathons, and my first marathon was at the 2016 Oakland Running Festival. I have lived in Oakland since 2015 and am in love with its running community. I appreciate the social aspect the sport brings, as the various people I have met helped me realize my potential and love for the sport. Redwood Regional Park is my favorite area to run. The tall trees, the quietness, and the fact you can get lost in nature make this an amazing spot to self-reflect and run off all the stress.

Jamie Wisto


Ambassador: JAMIE WISTO

I am an endurance runner, running blogger, fitness instructor and bartender! Shortly after moving to California from Arizona five years ago, I was inspired by the running culture of the Bay Area. I trained for my first half marathon in 2012, and I have continued running and training for many races since. I currently live in San Francisco with my fiancé and my greyhound, Emmi (yes, my dog likes to run too!) Besides running, I LOVE Pilates, yoga, traveling, going to concerts, and dark chocolate. I have run in the Oakland Running Festival multiple times, and it easily the most entertaining and fun running event I have had the pleasure of being involved in. I cannot wait to hit the streets of Oakland again in 2017!

Alison Cooksey



I first started running in high school on the cross country team and then the track team. After high school, running on the team for college clashed with my required classes, so I started signing up for road and trail races on my own, which eventually led signing up for a full marathon-my first marathon ended up being the Oakland Marathon in its first year! Even after a few other marathons, the Oakland Marathon has remained my favorite course-I’ve ran it every year and I hope to continue running it every year! I love the course and the community that this event brings together for a fun day of running!

Melissa Lopez



I fell in love with running about 3 years ago and haven’t been able to stop signing up for races ever since. Lacing up my shoes and hitting the pavement helps me feel not only physically stronger, but mentally tougher and more aware of what I CAN do, rather than what I think I can’t do.

When I’m not running, I’m probably playing in my kitchen, making art, planning a future getaway, or writing for my food and fitness blog

Olivia Bair


Ambassador: OLIVIA BAIR

Olivia Bair is a native to Oakland and loves her hometown. She graduated from Bishop O’Dowd High School in 2006 and from SFSU in 2011. She grew up playing soccer and always thought running a marathon was out of reach. That all changed when she joined Team in Training in 2011 and ran her first marathon, Oakland Marathon 2012. With the help of her coach, Alphonzo Jackson, she finished strong and with a runner’s high. Since then, Olivia has run 4 marathons, countless half marathons and short distance races. After having a baby in 2015, she is ready to get back in to running with the ultimate goal being the Boston Marathon. Olivia lives in Lafayette with her husband, Chris, and their children, Annie and Cruz.