Right on your doorstep, the Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders running club (LMJS) is one of the Lake’s hidden resources. The club was founded in 1977 by a small group of runners training at Lake Merritt. LMJS is the East Bay’s oldest running club and next year we celebrate our 30th anniversary. The tradition of the monthly Fourth Sunday Run began in 1977 and it remains emblematic of our commitment to provide regular races over a fast certified course at low cost. We consider ourselves a community resource and are recognized as such by the City of Oakland and the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department.

Over the past 29 years, LMJS has put on more than 350 Fourth Sunday races, in which an estimated 35,000 runners/walkers have participated. Everyone is welcome to our Fourth Sunday races, from the beginner to the more experienced runner/walker. LMJS has about 170 active members ranging in age from 15 years to over 80 years. Membership is open to anyone. Dues are very modest and most of our members are Oakland residents, many of whom live within easy running distance of Lake Merritt.

Beginning of a Kid’s Race. Click to enlarge

Ten of the Fourth Sunday Runs consist of concurrent 5K (1 lap), 10K (2 lap) and 15K (3 lap) races around Lake Merritt. (See race overview.) The February run is the two-person Couples Relay with each running one 5K lap. The July run is the Time Is On Your Side Run in which the winners in the 5K and 10K runs are those that most accurately predict their times with no watches or pacing allowed. In addition, every other month, the club hosts a “Kid’s Race” for children 10-and-under in conjunction with the Fourth Sunday races. It takes place in the parking lot of the Lake Merritt Sailboat House, is free and every child receives a medal.

Additionally, on the day of the Bay-to-Breakers race in San Francisco, LMJS presents an alternative race in the Berkeley Hills—the Tilden Tough Ten. This is the first race in the renowned Triple Crown Trail Championship series.

The Club participates, as a group, in two major Northern California races. We field several seven-person teams at the Tahoe Relays in early June and four-person teams at the Christmas Relays at Lake Merced in San Francisco in mid-December. Entry fees are subsidized by the Club. Very inexpensive housing is available at Lake Tahoe in cabins which we rent every year.

LMJS issues e-mail bulletins several times a month with the latest news and articles of interest. Several times a year the club produces a newsletter mailed to club members containing training tips, race results, members’ achievements and articles (serious and otherwise) pertinent to running. Also, our website is another resource for members and non-members, including a message board for making running related postings.

Three times a year club members and their guests share running stories and food at potluck dinners. Prominent guest speakers hold forth at these dinners. At our Spring potluck, Total Time Competition certificates are issued to all members who have completed at least one race at each of the three Fourth Sunday Run distances in the previous calendar year, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place certificates given based on the sum of the best times achieved for each of the three distances. The Summer potluck is a picnic held outdoors, usually in the Oakland Hills, preceded by an optional group run.

A new tradition, recently started, is the 2nd Saturday of the month fun run at which club members and other runners meet for a fun run somewhere in the East Bay, followed by socializing over a cup of coffee.

Dues and fees have always been absurdly modest. Members even get a discount on the Fourth Sunday Run registration fee. In addition, many local running stores give our members a 10% discount on most non-sale merchandise.

LMJS welcomes all those interested in running, walking and jogging from a beginning to a competitive race level. Volunteers at the races and those participating in the Club’s administration are rewarded and recognized at an annual dinner at a local restaurant. For more information about the club, check out our website at: www.lmjs.org.

The next Fourth Sunday race is September 24. Race start at 9 a.m. Registration on race day only at 8:30 in the parking lot of the Sailboat House, 568 Bellevue Avenue.