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The Bay to Breakers has been around since the beginning of the sport. A moving freak show, which has a real race up front, tens of thousands of fun runners and, in past, a reputation for
all kinds of excesses, has made it to year 100. As the city and race management has tried to
provide some sense of decorum, they have been excoriated by groups that see that any rules
for the Bay to Breakers is just plain wrong. In essence these B2B liberation groups want a
12k long anarchists wet dream: come run, come walk, come drink, come do your thing, and by the way, let the city pay for it. Not happening in 2011, says the city.
Let’s face it. The Bay to Breakers is one of the largest events in the world. The city has gotten tired of public drunkenness, and put a few rules down. Nothing that one does not find at most other road races. Reality has stuck its strange and wonderful head in the window of reality in the Bay Area, and while some may find it distasteful, take a deep breath, perhaps three, jog the B2B course (which is quite beautiful, by the way), have a nice picnic in Golden Gate afterwards or visit the Stinking Rose (a purveyor of garlic enhanced foodstuffs) or North Beach Pizza (best SF pizza, seriously), and have a Stella there!
Breakers 100th running announced for May 15, 2011
with City and Neighborhoods will result in improvements for 100th
running of “Civic Treasure”
San Francisco, July 7, 2010–The organizer of the Bay to
Breakers road race confirmed that the 100th running of the venerable 12k race
will take place on May 15, 2011. The race, a unique celebration of San
Francisco and its culture, will institute new measures this year as part of its
“We cherish the fun aspects of the race that have made it unique
worldwide–runners dressed in costumes, centipedes, group running–that add to
the excitement of a professional internationally important 12K footrace,”
said Angela Fang, general manager of the Bay to Breakers race. “In the
coming months we will be announcing a number of compelling programs to enhance
the race and the racing.”
Fang said the race has been meeting with residents, neighborhood
associations, race participants and representatives of the City and SFPD and that
they have collectively highlighted a number of changes which are required to
make the race a fun and safe event that can be enjoyed by everyone–runners,
walkers, families, children, neighbors and the City as a whole.
Concerned about threats to public safety, particularly as it relates to
illegal and excessive alcohol consumption, Fang stated the race is working with
San Francisco Police Department officials, the Mayor’s Office, neighbors
and neighborhood associations to enforce public alcohol consumption and public
drunkenness laws at the 100th anniversary of the event.
She said this year’s 99th running of the race on May 16 had more
than 30 ambulance transports, the majority of which were alcohol related. Bay
to Breakers had many times the number of ambulance transports as other
comparable races in the United States.
Alcohol consumption and its negative impacts garnered the attention of
civic leaders, many of whom want to see a positive change. “Another of
San Francisco’s cherished special events is being threatened by people who
consider bad behavior a good time…There is no “right” to party
when the party turns into destroying or defacing the property of others,
threatening the safety and lives of those around you or leaving a trail of
debris…behind you,” wrote Joe D’Alessandro, CEO
of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, in the aftermath of the
race this year in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“The illegal and dangerous abuse of alcohol must stop if the race
is to continue as a fun and safe event that can be enjoyed by
everyone–runners, walkers, families, children, neighbors and the City as
a whole,” Fang said.
“Drunkenness, and drunks, take away from the individuality and
creativity that make the Bay to Breakers a unique and compelling civic
tradition” Fang said, adding that these individuals will be arrested,
cited and fined by SFPD next year.
“We are concerned for public safety, for the participants, for
spectators and for neighborhood residents,” said Jeff Godown, San
Francisco Police Department Assistant Chief of Police. “We want to help
everyone safely enjoy a wonderful tradition.”
A large crowd is anticipated for the 100th anniversary of the event, which
was established in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake by civic leaders who
wanted to boost morale and promote the image of the recovering city. In 1964,
the race was dubbed ‘the Bay to Breakers.’
The first annual Cross City Race, held Jan. 1, 1912, was won by student
Bobby Vlught, who crossed the finish line with a time of 44:10. By contrast,
this year’s women’s winner, Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya, made world
history finishing in 38:07 and the men’s winner, Sammy Kitwara of Kenya,
became a back to back winner at the race with the time of 34:15.
“The Bay to Breakers is a San Francisco civic treasure,”
Fang said. She added that the race will also make other changes to the 100th
anniversary event, including:
–Allowing only registered participants on the race course will reserve
the right to fence the course and to remove non-registered
–Working to have all streets opened by noon.
–Eliminating floats, which have to an unacceptable extent become
alcohol delivery vehicles and magnets for unacceptable behavior
–Limiting the number of registrations for the 100th anniversary.
“We are making these changes so that neighbors, the community,
registrants, and spectators alike can enjoy the event in the spirit in which it
was founded. We want our 100th anniversary to be a shining success for San
Francisco and its residents,” Fang said.
She said the race is “working closely with SFPD to ensure that
there is a sufficient police presence to enforce the law, including
arrests” and will make a significant investment in advertising and
promoting the rule changes so that the public will know that there are serious
legal consequences for abusing alcohol and defacing the neighborhoods. She said
that irresponsible individuals who have taken advantage of a fun civic event to
trash San Francisco’s neighborhoods, homes, parks and streets and
endanger themselves and others with reckless behavior “are not welcome at
Bay to Breakers 12K
to Breakers 12K is one of the world’s largest and oldest footraces, held
annually in San Francisco, Calif. The name reflects the traditional course
which takes tens of thousands of participants from the northeast end of the
downtown area near the Embarcadero (the “bay” side of the city) to
the west end of the city and the “breakers” of Ocean Beach.
The 7.46 mile (12 kilometer) race features world-class athletes in addition to
costumed runners and ‘fun-loving’ folks out for a great day of
running and walking through San
Francisco. For more information, visit www.baytobreakers.com.
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