Bakesfield Marathon

A large crowd takes off at the start of the third annual Bakersfield Marathon at CSU Bakersfield.

Jocelyn SanduskyPresenting sponsor Dignity Healthy joins local and corporate business sponsors to put on one of the largest events of the season. Runners from all over the country and the world have attended the past three events. Mexico, Canada and even Ethiopia have experienced a jaunt through historic neighborhoods and the unmistakable Kern River Parkway Trail.

The starting pistol rings at 7 a.m. on Nov. 17 at the home of the Roadrunners, CSU Bakersfield. This USA Track and Field-sanctioned event is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and more than a few dozen runners sign up in Bakersfield yearly, not only expecting to qualify for Boston but to also enjoy the amenities, celebrations and the town itself.

The race includes cash prizes for the top three male and female marathoners and half-marathoners and appropriate guitar-shaped medals for each participant, paying homage to the history and sound of Bakersfield.

“We don’t set up a typical run; we wanted to make it a true city race that shows off the city that we’re proud of. We keep our amenities high like the New York or Chicago marathons, and it is a great event,” said David Milazzo, co-founder and executive director of the Race Active Bakersfield Alliance, the nonprofit organization that hosts the event each year. “We’ll have craft beer from Temblor and Michelob Ultra, which is the runners’ favorite, after the race in the Beer Garden. Broken Yolk will be doing burritos in the morning.”

Upward of 3,000 people are expected to run through the streets this year in either the full marathon, half-marathon, 10K, 5K or even a virtual run for athletes who are not able to make it on Nov. 17. The day includes breakfast and post-run hot fudge sundaes, beer and massages for athletes. All races are supported with water and gel stations and pace teams, along with text results from RaceJoy tracking participants’ progress and times. Fans can partake in the great food and send cheers to runners through the RaceJoy tool.

The celebration lasts until 2:30 p.m., and it is not just for the runners but for families and supporters as well.

“You can just come out the event for free. Otherwise, food and beer tickets are $8 online or $10 on the day of the event,” said Milazzo, also noting live entertainment will be available throughout the morning courtesy of local band Last Call.

Packet pickup is the day before during a Health and Fitness Expo featuring local and corporate vendors like Pair and Marotta Physical Therapy, but just like the day of, it’s for more than just the runners to enjoy.

“It’s not only health and wellness vendors. We are really trying to tune it just right so it’s enjoyable for all visitors,” said Milazzo. “We’ve finally cracked the code.” 

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