This will be the eleventh 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:

  • We will have Pace Groups for the following marathon times:
  • 3:00, 3:05, 3:10, 3:15, 3:20, 3:25, 3:30, 3:35, 3:40, 3:45, 3:55, 4:00, 4:10, 4:25, 4:40, 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 LMJS 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 4:40 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 (7:00 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 2020 Pacers

Full Pacers


Kosuke Amano

Kosuke is a former swimmer who started running and doing triathlons 15 years ago. He moved up to the bay area in the summer of 2018 and finished 2nd in the Oakland Marathon in 2019 with a time of 2:35. He started dabbling in the world of trail running last year and completed his first 50k. He is looking forward to coming back to pace the Oakland Marathon to hopefully help fellow racers reach their goals!

Bill Wheeler (2nd half)

Bill has run the Boston Marathon 3x and has a PB at CIM of 2:54.  He recently joined the 50+ age group and has never looked back. Bill joins the 2nd half of the Marathon ready to help you make it to the finish line!


Russ Fairles

Russ is a veteran marathoner and pace group leader.  He finished ninth in the PAUSATF Cross Country Series last Fall, and was awarded “Road and Cross Country Runner of the Year” for 2019 on his Pamakids Racing Team.  In the photo above, Mr. Fairles is on his way to score at the USATF Cross Country National Championships in Spokane for the Pamakids, who went on to an 8th place finish.  John and Russ know this course and are looking forward to ease the marathon grind and help you to reach your fast finish line time goal.

John West (2nd half)

John West 3:05/Partner w Russ Fairles

John is a RRCA certified running coach, runner and veteran pacer. He has
paced the SF marathon(1st & 2nd halfs); five Alameda half’s; Oakland
marathon last year; as well as being a weekend pacer over the last five
years with the LMJS Oakland Marathon & Half Training Program. He’s run
over 20 marathons including the last eight Boston marathons. John and
Russ know this course and are looking forward to ease the marathon grind
and help you to reach your fast finish line time goal.


William Stitch

William loves to help people achieve their goals. He spends an inordinate amount of time training, thinking about training, talking with others about training, and trying to figure out how to better train to meet his objectives. If you would like help meeting your goals, email him at [email protected].

William has a 2:50:18 PR from the 2019 Chicago Marathon and has run more than 35 marathon-distance events. He was 6th in the 50-mile 2018 Marin Ultra Challenge and 11th in the 2018 Canyons 100k. He has run Boston, New York, Chicago, and Berlin marathons under 3:00, and is trying to lottery into Tokyo and London to complete all six majors.

Calvin Do

Calvin is a 5x Oakland Marathon pacer and known to carry a plethora of anti-cramp pills and ointments to help his runners achieve a strong even-effort finish.  Calvin averages 35-45 weekly miles over 4-5 hours, with 3 key workouts – intervals, tempo and long run.  He recently ran his first 50K race and is officially hooked on the beauty of trail running.


Arnel Calamba

Arnel took on running about 15 years ago after his dad traded smoking for running. Since then he trains almost daily and has participated in events from 5Ks to 50 mile trail runs. He is a 5x pacer of the Santa Rosa Marathon, 2x pacer of The San Francisco ½ Marathon first half, and numerous local ½ marathons for Tri Valley Running Club. This will be his 11th Oakland Running Festival and second time pacing the marathon. Let’s keep it simple and keep even splits, then let ‘er rip to finish strong!


Gang Qin

Gang (Tom) Qin started running marathons in 2011 and has run more than 100 races (40 of them as a pacer). His PR is 2:56:57 made in 2017 and also He has previously qualified for both the Boston and New York City Marathons.

Gang Chen

Because of mid-life crisis and busy work, Gang started running. From 2-3 mile a day to over 60 miles per week, morning run became his daily routine. Gang has good control on pace. For the past 3 years, he raced 9 marathons and PR’d 8 times, most of them were even or negative split. Gang also enjoys pacing other runners. He has paced more than 10 full and half marathons around the Bay Area. 


Ofer Kadar

Ofer has been a long distance runner for over 20yrs ,completing more than 20 road and trail marathons , as well as several ultra runs including several 50 Milers & 100K. Ofer has paced more than 10 marathons including 3 Oakland Marathons. Other than running after his kids, Ofer enjoys trail running with friends, working on carpentry projects and homemade gadgets.

Looking forward to help you achieve your race goals !

Bradley Fenner
Bradly is a veteran pacer for the Oakland Marathon. He will get you up the hills and through the flats and to your goal time.


Yiquan Hu

Yiquan is returning to pace the 3:35 group through a smooth run through Oakland. He has paced this group since the first Oakland marathon and looks forward to sharing his experience with you.



Rick Soper

Rick has run the Oakland Running Festival 10 times, and is looking forward to #11! He knows these streets well, and has pacing experience with the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders, Running Addicts and the TriValley Running Club.

Garrett Chan

Garrett has been running for 4 years now, since he picked it up initially as a college hobby. Over the last four years, he has run 8 full marathons, 20 half marathons, and 1 ultramarathon. Last year, Garrett was a pacer for the Oakland Full Marathon and is happy again to assist runners in achieving their goals. He has paced numerous half and full marathons across the bay area with the TriValley Running Club. 



Simone Angela Winkler

Simone is an avid ultrarunner in the Bay Area! She has paced numerous races (including the Oakland Marathon since 2018) and can’t wait to help you with your running goal this year! When not running, Simone is a professional photographer and biomedical engineering professor!



Hanoch Raviv

Hanoch is an ultramarathon runner with numerous 50Km and 4x 50M and looking for a 100km 5/2019. He has been pacing Oakland marathon since its inception in 2010. Pacing is an opportunity to socialize with runners, to motivate new marathoners and experienced marathoners to get to the finish line




Roni Kornitz

Roni has been running marathons since 2004, completed so far (January 2020) 182 marathons, 153 half marathons, and eleven 50Ks. He has been pacing marathons and half marathons since 2009, paced so far 74 runs. Roni is a permanent member of the Oakland pacing team since the first Oakland Marathon (2010). Roni finished his 6-star (all 6 World Marathon Majors) in London Marathon in April 2019. When not running, Roni is a SCUBA diver and beer homebrewer.

Mark Campbell

Mark has run the Oakland Marathon for the last three years, but this will be his first time pacing.  His greatest weakness as a runner is not pacing himself, until he joined LMJS Training Group.  He is currently a pacer with LMJS, and has enjoyed helping others achieve their goals.  Once a blowout runner, now a steady pacer!


Valeri Kao

Valerie has been an on and off runner since high school; she enjoys leisurely trail runs and (sometimes) training for races in the 15 – 25 mile range. She has run the Oakland marathon every year since 2013. This will be her first time pacing the marathon; she is excited to help you reach your goal

Allegra Kim

Allegra started running marathons in 1998 and has run or paced the marathon or half marathon at every Oakland Running Festival since 2011. She is a pacer for the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders’ marathon training program, and has also paced the Santa Rosa Marathon multiple times. She is looking forward to pacing runners to a strong finish while enjoying a tour of Oakland.


Jennifer Stringham

Jennifer Stringham has been running in the bay area since 2009. She is a RRCA and USATF Level 1 certified coach.  She has paced the Oakland and San Francisco marathon 3 times each. She also has experience pacing with local run clubs including LMJS and Run 365. Jennifer also has a great passion for trails and has several ultra races under her belt. She recently completed her first 100 mile race at Rio Del Lago in 2019. When not running Jennifer works as a psychotherapist in a local startup called foresight. Get ready for a good time touring Oakland.




Paul Tran
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


Sara Kurth
Sara is a runner and an RRCA certified running coach who has completed 27 road and trail marathons, and paced many marathons and half marathons in the Bay Area. She has also been a coach and pacer for the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders Oakland Marathon training program for the past 6 years, and is a blogger at, writing about all things running and marathoning.

Peter Chan

Peter started running in November 2011 for a fundraising 5k event in Fremont, CA. Since then, he has completed (84) half marathons as well as (19) full marathons including the Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Santa Rosa, Mountain to the Beach, Utah, and Canyon City marathons. He enjoys trail running and sharing his ultra-running experiences to motivate runners to live healthy. Additionally, he finished the Tahoe 200 endurance run in 2016, (5) 100 milers in 2015, (4) 100k, (3) 50 miles, and (60+) trail half marathons. Peter has paced the SF Marathon, CIM Marathon, Livermore Half Marathon, Utah Marathon, and many others. He gets the most excitement from being able to assist runners in reaching their personal goals, whether it may be running, fitness, or nutrition related.


Half Pacers


 David Yott
David is excited to return to pace the Oakland Half Marathon on this flat, fast course. David finished his first half marathon in 2007 and has since run numerous distance races and is a four-time Boston Marathon qualifier. His goal for the 1:35 group is to start out the first mile at a nice and easy 7:15 pace and then repeat for 12+ more miles.

Karl Schnaitter

Karl’s passion has been ultramarathon running for the past ten years, but he enjoys all terrains and distances. Karl is excited to be pacing the Oakland Marathon again!


Chen Saperstein

Evan Paul

Evan began running cross country and track in high school. He has run 5 road and trail marathons, as well as numerous half marathons, 10ks, and 5ks. He has been a pacer for the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders Marathon Training Program, as well as the Alameda Half Marathon.


Hiromi Namikawa 

Hiromi has become a long distance runner over the past 10 years, completing over 15 half marathons, several marathons, and half Ironman races. She ran the Oakland marathon last year, and is excited to help you achieve your goals!
When she is not running, she enjoys track workouts with friends, skiing, and baking.

Tom Leibowitz

Tom has been running marathons for over 10 years, and ran the Boston marathon in 2017.  He has paced several full and half marathons, including Marin County, Oakland and Santa Rosa.  Whether you are running your first half marathon, training for a PR, or running for fun, Tom can help you to achieve your half marathon goal.


Dan Tischler

Oakland was Dan’s first marathon in 2014. Since then he has run it every year, including as a pacer in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Dan can’t wait to hit the road again at the 2020 Oakland Marathon and help runners have a great time achieving their goals.

Jim Moxon

This native Oaklander can’t wait to pace you to your 2:00 finish and point out some sights along the way. He is returning to pace his 4th Oakland half.


Beth Carter

Beth Carter is an avid distance runner starting her 29th year of running. She’s been formally pacing half and full marathons since 2013, including 5 times at Oakland! Her motto is “any time, any place, any weather, any pace”

Mary Beth Kierstead

Mary Beth has paced run every Oakland Marathon or 1/2 marathon since its inception. Although she has relocated to Portland, OR, her heart belongs to Oakland. She loves this course and will guide you to a smooth, consistent 13 miles at a 9:54 pace.


Kate Stewart
Kate has been a Pace Group Leader for the LMJS/ORF training group since the very first year of the Oakland Marathon. She has run both the marathon and the half marathon in Oakland, and paced the half last year. Too much fun, so she is back to do it again!

Naomi Azure

Naomi has started running a few years to kick start a healthy lifestyle. She enjoys being active and has completed a few triathlons and half marathons. She loves pacing due to meeting other fellow runners and helping them achieve their goals. This is the second time pacing for her and she is very excited.


Michele Jordan

Michele Jordan began running at 43, and joined LMJS that year 1996.  I began running to assist the cross country team at Corpus Christi grammar school in Oakland, took classes and coached with them for eleven years.  Once our children, Billie and Toni were very settled into highschool and their events, I decided to run my first marathon for my 50th birthday and have run a different one every year since.  This year for my 65th birthday I am headed to Boston. But right before that, I get to pace the Oakland half again. I usually pace at 2:20 or 2:30 and love to show people Oakland and help them reach their goals.

Sarah Moxon


Allison Espejo

Allison Espejo has been running marathons since the Honolulu Marathon in 2002.  She recently ran the 3-day Grand Circle Trailfest which consisted of Bryce Canyon, Zion and the Grand Canyon.  She’s paced many full and half marathons, and belongs to the 50 States Marathon Club. She enjoys pacing to help others reach their running goals


Debbie Espejo

Debbie has been running ever since she completed the 2005 New York City Marathon.  She enjoys races throughout the bay area, having lived in San Jose most of her life.  She has paced runners for the San Francisco Hot Chocolate 15k and is very excited to be a pacer once again for the Oakland Running Festival!


Nghi Chau  

Nghi started running in 2004 and doing triathlons in 2010.  She would consider herself a well-rounded runner, having completed 100+  half/full marathons, numerous ultra races, including 2014 Rio Del Lago 100 Miler and also one Ironman in Texas.  Her half marathon PR is 1:43 and she is a three time Boston qualifier (2013, 2014 & 2015). She very much looks forward to helping you reach your goals  and can count on her to help encourage you to do so.

Hoang Ngo

Alternate Bree Whittveen