Get ready folks! This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of Bay to Breakers, the notoriously rowdy 12K race run by the costumed, the inebriated, and the butt naked.
Photo courtesy of Nick.Fisher/Flickr
If you happen to be visiting San Francisco on Sunday, May 15, it will certainly be a sight to see. One the largest footraces in the world starts at 7 a.m. at the intersection of Howard and Beale streets, cuts across to the Hayes Street Hill (it’s no Heartbreak Hill, but when drunk, it sure feels like it!), cruises through the Panhandle, then descends to the Pacific Ocean through Golden Gate Park, finishing up at Ocean Beach. If you’re inclined to run, registration is closed, but who says you can’t jump in somewhere?
Photo courtesy of sportressofblogitude.com
The race has been under particular scrutiny since its principal sponsor, insurance giant ING, pulled out last year. Despite an attempt in 2009 to ban kegs and bottles, ING was sick of the bad press accompanied by all of the urinating, defecating, and barfing in public along the course. Fortunately, Zazzle stepped up to the plate as lead sponsor of B2B.
Photo courtesy of The Examiner
One hundred years ago, Bay to Breakers began as the Cross City Race, and was planned to build public moral after the 1906 earthquake. According to the Examiner, there were 186 starters and 121 finishers. The remaining 65 got drunk and passed out in the Panhandle, or were carried away in shopping carts to “nap tents” near what’s now the Conservatory of Flowers. Okay not really, but it’s possible!
The first woman, Barbara “Bobbie” Burke, raced in 1940 (though women were not officially allowed to run until 1971). She was joined by the first costumed runner, who dressed as Captain Kidd and came in last place. In 1986, Bay to Breakers set a Guinness World Record for largest footrace with 110,000 participants.
You can’t be a San Francisco Local Expert without experiencing Bay to Breakers, and after many years costumed on the sidelines, yours truly will be attempting to run my first race (ever!). So, I’ll see you all out on the course, (and someone please have a brew and a shot waiting for me at the finish line!).