Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chaotic fun at the 99th Bay to Breakers in San Francisco...

I'm delighted to report that on Sunday May 16, 2010 I completed the 99th Annual Bay to Breakers 12k.

John and Jason before the race
Jason before Bay to Breakers
It was my first time, but I'm sure it won't be my last at the fun, mad and utterly chaotic race through the streets of San Francisco from the Bay to the 'breakers' at Ocean Beach.

Costumed pre-race preparations
Gruffies 60th birds Bay to Breakers 2010
My goal was to complete the race in around an hour and my actual time was 1:01:18, not bad for my first ever 12k run.

Fantastic costumed running teams
Wet T-shirt contestants Bay to Breakers 2010
I was 1,567th of 24,304 participants, 1,329th male of 11,827 and 422nd out of 3,202 men aged 30-39.

Heading to the staring corral
Bay to Breakers bananas 2010
I'm pretty pleased with those stats, especially as I know for a fact I could have run faster in the first three miles if I didn't have to contend with all the crowds of drunken costumed folks, race walkers and flying tortillas (apparently it's a tradition)!

Moving from the corral to the start line
Start of Bay to Breakers 2010
Not to mention dodging the people dressed as salmon (I kid you not), who like to run in the opposite direction to the rest of the runners.

Picking up speed
Running Bay to Breakers 2010
So on a typically cold and foggy San Franciscan morning we headed to the starting corrals near the Embarcedero Center.

Proof that we ran
Bay to Breakers race 2010
The race started at 8am, but I don't think we crossed the starting line until about fifteen minutes later as we inched slowly forward with the heaving masses.

Bay to Breakers runners and walkers
Bay to Breakers runners 2010
Once you did cross the start you couldn't really get up any speed and it was a bit stop and start. Next time I'd definitely want to be in a corral closer to the starting line.
Bay to Breakers revelers 2010
As I've signed up for the Disneyland Half Marathon I was in race mode and really wanted a good running time, so even though I appreciated all the colourful costumes and characters around me, I just wanted to get past them and start running.
Carrot costume Bay to Breakers 2010
In hindsight, not knowing any of the history behind the annual event, I certainly believe Bay to Breakers is less of a race and more a big party.
Bay to Breakers crowds 2010
Not only are the majority of the runners all dressed up, maybe a little bit tipsy and having a great time, but in addition, all along the route through the city the streets are lined with revelers and there's a real party spirit - it's a crazy atmosphere.
Bay to Breakers costumes 2010
There's music, people dancing on balconies and outside their homes, the spectators are even in costume even though they are not running.
Baywatch Bay to Breakers 2010
You really have to see it to believe it. The weather certainly didn't dampen anyone's spirits.
Naked runner Bay to Breakers 2010
And then there are all the naked people (I'll save you the full frontal view). Unfortunately most of the people really shouldn't be naked, but I'm sure it's very liberating in that bracing morning air.
Tolerance signs Bay to Breakers 2010
So enjoy just some of the highlights from the amazingly fun morning and proof that I actually raced and crossed that finish line by the ocean.

Jason at race checkpoint
It's a great race to do with friends, so thanks to my running mates Travis and John for inviting me.
Chipotle balloon Bay to Breakers 2010
Bay to Breakers is also a great way to see more of San Francisco as you run, although I was mostly keeping an eye ahead and in front of my feet to make sure I didn't trip or collide with a giant carrot, winged fairy or scantily clad fellow runner.
Bay to Breakers tribe 2010
Plus thanks to my other half, Charlie, for chronicling our adventures on film and to Scott for rescuing us in a taxi when our cunning plan to get back to our hotels in a rickshaw failed miserably.
Balloons at Bay to Breakers 2010
If you see yourself in any of these photos do post a comment and let me know how you did in the race and how much fun you had.

Jason crossing the finish line
Jason crossing Bay to Breakers 2010 finish line
Can I just say that when you reach the seven mile marker your heart lifts and then you remember there's about another half mile until the finish.

Jason in the official race t-shirt at the finish line
Jason at Bay to Breakers Finish line 2010
I hope you love all the costumes as much as I did, maybe now you can see why I felt so under-dressed.

Jason at the 'breakers'
Jason after Bay to Breakers 2010
Although I can't imagine seriously running dressed as a Roman Centurion, carrying anything or in something that would chafe.
Jason after Bay to Breakers 2010
However I did manage to find someone in a Wonder Woman costume at the end of the race (which I'd failed to convince my friends to run in). Come back tomorrow for more fantastic race costumes and floats.

'Wonderful' times at Bay to Breakers
Wonder Woman after Bay to Breakers 2010
Roll on the 100th Bay to Breakers race and let more chaos ensue...

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