It feels like there is always a race going on in the Bay Area, I guess we are fortunate in that way. But there is one race in particular that is the oldest consecutively run annual footrace in the world: Bay to Breakers. And here is the kicker, I’ve never done it.
That’s right. A race that has been run every year since 1912 and I have yet to sign up for it. I’ve only been running since 2006, so I’ve only missed out on the last 8 races.
Here is the quick 411:
With a starting point near the San Francisco Bay, a few blocks from The Embarcadero, the 12K race runs west through the city and finishes at the Ocean Beach Parking Lot where breakers crash onto the Pacific Coast’s Ocean Beach. A quintessential San Francisco experience for 102 years, the race is interwoven into the fabric of the city and is a true reflection and celebration of life between the breakers and the Bay.
Recently, Bay to Breakers has been known for its costumes, and party-like atmosphere. BUT, it also draws the super fast, elite racers. Quite the combo, right? The winners of each division (M/W Elite Division, M/W Masters Division and M/W Bay Area Residents Division) get $3k. The course record will get $5k and if a world record is set then the winner will get $10k… and all the fasties are after it. As for the costumes, well, San Francisco is a unique city with lots of character, so we know how to have a good time.
For me, I sort of was hesitant to give the race a try as I tend to be more focused on the running aspects of a race and sadly, alcohol has also been associated with the party-like participants. I just didn’t want a part of it as I would much rather race, THEN “cheers” afterwards.
But over the past couple years there has been a shift to steer away from the disorderly behavior and the race has taken steps towards removing alcohol from the course. With new management and owners this year, Wasserman Media Group, they are focusing on the runner experience — which is great news for a runner like me. There is a zero tolerance policy on race day for alcohol and wheeled devices (including floats). Costumes and centipedes are still allowed as the goal is to:
“KEEP IT SAFE, KEEP IT FUN!”
The race is held on May 18 and I’ll be running the race for the very first time. I’m looking forward to FINALLY being a part of Bay to Breakers. With Under Armour on board as the gear sponsors, the shirts look pretty sweet. Registered participants will receive one for free along with a finishers medal. I’m also enjoying their redesigned website and strong social engagement and giveaways:
$5 off coupon code: PAVEMENTRUNNER5
Registration will increase on Friday, April 11th at 5:00 p.m.
Any local races in your area you have yet to run?