Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon boasts nearly 7,000 runners

Alex Stassinopolous/Staff

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On Sunday, more than 6,700 runners participated in the seventh annual Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon.

More than 11,500 people ran during the event in total — those who did not run the half-marathon had the option to run in a 10K, a 5K or a 1K, according to Melissa Faukner, director of marketing for the Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon. The half-marathon course, which is 13.1 miles long, started at the intersection of Kittredge and Milvia streets and took participants down Telegraph Avenue, through Sather Gate and around the UC Berkeley campus.

Nearly 500 people helped to plan and execute the event, according to Faukner.

“I think the best part of the race … is the community,” Faukner said. “Everyone in the community comes out and supports.”

Faukner added that the event fundraises for the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, which supports programs to enrich educational opportunities throughout Berkeley. Runners can donate to the fund when they register, and some running bibs are given directly to schools to be purchased by potential fundraisers, according to Faukner.

Erin Rhoades, executive director of the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, said the charity generally receives about $30,000 from the race.

Oakland resident Kenny Rayner, who finished the race in first place with a time of 1:09.24, said he had participated in the Biofreeze Berkeley Half Marathon several times. He added that he ran to challenge himself and meet “nice people.”

“I live in Oakland, and it’s nice to have a good Bay race,” Rayner said. “Fast people come out, it’s a good course.”

He called the race “a good tuneup race” for his next race — the California International Marathon.

Madeline Duhon, Berkeley resident and campus graduate student, finished first for women with a time of 1:16.22. She said she was happy to run in Berkeley because of the “good vibes” at the event.

“I’m going to run the Olympic Trials, which is like 100 days out, so I think this is a nice trial … it seemed like 100 days out was a nice time to run a solid effort,” Duhon said. “Running the streets of Berkeley is unbeatable.”

Campus alumna and Berkeley resident Tara Gallant, who finished her race with a personal record time, said it was the third time she had run the half-marathon.

“I really like this race, because you get to run all over Berkeley,” Gallant said. “It’s a super fun atmosphere because everyone comes out and cheers.”

Campus junior Joe Dangelewicz ran the half-marathon for the first time this weekend.

Dangelewicz — who has previous running experience from high school — said he hoped to run another half-marathon or a full marathon in the future.

“I did it as a personal challenge,” Dangelewicz said. “At Berkeley I’m so focused on academics and school — I wanted to focus on a goal and achieve it.”

Contact Sebastian Cahill at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SebastianCahil1.