Digital News Report – With a new record set by Sammy Kitwara at 33 minutes 31 seconds and the last of the walkers having crossed the line, the 98th annual Bay to Breakers race has finished. The race was one of the hottest on record, with temperatures in the mid eighties during the 8:00am start, but that did not dissuade the 30,000 official entrants and tens of thousands of non-registered participants from running, or more likely drunkenly stumbling, down the race course. The race is a USA Track & Field Certified 12K spanning the width of the peninsula. Starting at Embarcadero street, racers were corralled between Howard and Mission streets based on their estimated finishing times. The race then ran along Howard street, down Hayes and Fell street, and then on through Golden Gate Park until hitting the “Breakers” side of the peninsula at the Great Highway.
The race has long been seen as a huge party where anyone can come out and have a good time. This year, however, there was a major crackdown on floats, drinking, and public nudity. Originally the three were banned in the new rules, but after major public outcry floats were allowed if registered and, while still banned, the harsh punishments for nudity and drinking were removed. With the new wording came less public nudity and fewer public intoxication arrests. Along with the toned down drinking, a red cross volunteer said he hadn’t had any major problems as of 2:30pm, and despite the few cuts tended to and heat stroke patients, there was overall fewer cases than last year. The volunteer stated that the “major ones [health issues] are usually by the people who aren’t even registered in the race.”
This is not to say the partying was in any way diminished. One group calling themselves Team Pink Pleasure-tron were clad in pink spandex outfits and pink regalia. Originally 30 members, they had dwindled down to five as they reached the sixth mile of the twelve kilometer (7.5 mile) race. Kevin Morris, one of the group’s members, came from Eugene, Oregon just to partake in the festivities. Having planned the costumes since the end of last year’s race, which was also the first he participated in, he was absolutely thrilled to be there again.
Other groups, like the twelve person Swine Flu Vaccination Team, decided to take a more topical approach to their costumes. Juan Scarlett, the leader of the group, laughed “it was Wednesday and we didn’t have an idea, so we looked at current events.” Passing out syringe-fulls of “vaccine” to anyone asking, they were a definite hit on the race route. As for the floats, well, as one Menlo Park resident put it, they were brought into the race with “a big trailer and a lot of motivation.” With the rules stating all floats must be person-powered and some weighing as much as 500 pounds, that’s a lot of motivation.
The official site for the Bay to Breakers race is http://www.baytobreakers.com