There is no sporting event quite like Bay to Breakers. What other race combines world class runners with costumed party-goers on such a grand scale? It’s a testament to San Francisco, the city of creative spirit, that a footrace can be turned into such a massive demonstration of uniqueness, audacity and jubilation.
Each year, more than 50,000 people participate in the race itself while more than double that number line the streets to watch. The route itself is challenging and beautiful. Starting on the Bay side of the city, it cuts through downtown, chugs up Hayes Street Hill, embraces the edge of Golden Gate Park and finishes at the crashing waves of Ocean Beach.
The first ever Bay to Breakers, then known as Cross City Race, was held January 1, 1912. With only 218 registrants, the winner was Robert Jackson “Bobby” Vlught, a St. Mary’s College student who finished with a time of 44:10. Now a major destination for the world’s top runners, thousands travel from around the globe to compete. Last year’s winner, Sammy Kitwara from Kenya, completed the course in just 34:45, which was a just a bit slower than the race record of 33:31, which he set himself in 2009.
From start to finish, today’s race route is packed with vibrancy. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the first costumed runner didn’t show up until 1940. He dressed as Captain Kidd and finished last. It is him who we may thank (or blame, depending on how you look at it!) for introducing non-traditional race attire to Bay to Breakers. It was just the beginning of what we enjoy today.
So on Sunday, May 19, whether you’re on the race route cheering on the participants or comfortable in your quiet and cozy home, you can expect a good show. For more information about Bay to Breakers and the street closures or to register, visit www.baytobreakers.com.
Posted on May 18, 2013 at 8:28 am by Kim Barnes