Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My wonderful Bay to Breakers Centennial race day...

Everybody who participated in the Bay to Breakers Centennial 12k race will have their own memories and experiences, this is my 'wonderful' story of the crazy day.

Wonder Woman leads the pack
Wonder Woman Bay to Breakers 2011
My Sunday morning started at 5.40am and I quickly grabbed a banana for energy and jumped in the shower to warm up my muscles.

Entering Corral A before the race
Wonder Woman before 100th Bay to Breakers
We were staying right in the heart of the start of the annual race at the Harbor Court Hotel right down along San Francisco's Embarcadero, with the entrance actually opening out onto Corral D.

Bay to Breakers Starting Line
100th Bay to Breakers start line
Even though I managed to get into Corral A this year, I still had to queue to get into the corral and ending up joining the race just after the 7am start with the rest of Corral's B and C stampeding to the Start Line.

100th Bay to Breakers sponsor Zazzle billboard
on the freeway from the airport
Bay to Breakers Zazzle billboard
This meant I had to do the same amount of dodging and weaving for three to four miles before I could comfortably pick up my pace.
Walk 100th Bay to Breakers
100th Bay to Breakers runners
As you can gather, this is not the first time I've taken part in the 7.46 mile fun run. Last year I ran the 99th Annual Bay to Breakers and was totally unprepared for the party spirit and costumed shenanigans, so this year I came prepared - hence the Wonder Woman outfit.
100th Bay to Breakers green lycra suit
100th Bay to Breakers Jack in the Box
If you're wondering where my fellow Justice League members were, my friends had either partied too hard the night before around San Francisco, or had been scared off by the threat of thunder showers. Wimps! They are no heroes (but there were plenty to go around on the day).

Bay to Breakers superheroes
100th Bay to Breakers superwomen
100th Bay to Breakers superheroes
Luckily as you can see, the rain kept away and it was a beautiful morning for a 12k costumed race.

The Cat in the Hat at the 100th Bay to Breakers
Cat in the Hat 100th Bay to Breakers
The sun was shining and there was a nice cool breeze in the air. Only after the finish was there a few showers.

Bay to Breakers feather boa monster
100th Bay to Breakers feather monster
I also had my trusty camera man (and partner of almost twelve years) to capture the fun, whilst I ran the course.

Plenty of flesh on display
100th Bay to Breakers hunks
Naked Bay to Breakers
Along with the traditional tortillas flying at the start of the race and beach balls being thrown aloft, there was plenty of flesh to be seen, including the infamous naked runners.
100th Bay to Breakers Wonder Woman100th Bay to Breakers Wonder Woman
Even though alcohol and parade floats were banned from the event this year, spirits were still high and there were still plenty of drunken folk along the course.

Royal Bay to Breakers costumes
100th Bay to Breakers Royals
What I love about Bay to Breakers is the diversity and also the inclusivity.
100th Bay to Breakers family
There are old and young runners and walkers, families, friends and groups.

Bay to Breakers parrots
100th Bay to Breakers parrots
There are elaborate and topical costumes, familiar faces, group themes and people simply there to soak up the atmosphere.

Bay to Breakers Muppets
Muppets 100th Bay to Breakers
Some people really are creative and original with their costumes and put my shop bought costume to shame.

Bay to Breakers bag lady
100th Bay to Breakers baglady
As I was at the front of the pack, with most of the serious runners (although many still in costume), we kept a healthy pace.

Bay to Breakers 100th Birthday table tops
100th Bay to Breakers table tops
Not only do thousands of people actually participate in the race, but all along the course the City by the Bay residents join in outside their homes.
100th Bay to Breakers blue car
I was so glad that the rain kept away as I didn't relish the idea of running in torrential conditions like this year's L.A. Marathon again.
Wonder Woman 100th Bay to BreakersWonder Woman runs Bay to Breakers
My goal this year was to beat my personal best and I did by around four minutes, with a finish time of 57.07 minutes.

Sprint for the Finish Line by the ocean
Wonder Woman Bay to Breakers finishWonder Woman 100th Bay to Breakers finishWonder Woman finishes Bay to BreakersWonder Woman crossing Bay to Breakers finishWonder Woman Bay to Breakers finish
Even though the crowds seemed slightly subdued by a lack of alcohol and maybe the earlier start, you can see a fun time was had by all.

After the Finish Line
Wonder Woman 100th Bay to Breakers
I have to say I'll probably hand up my cape after this race as it's hard to run in a costume, I'd especially forgotten how steep and unforgiving Hayes Street Hill in San Francisco is. I can't imagine how people run marathons in them, completing 26.2 miles is hard enough.

100th Bay to Breakers finisher medal and t-shirt
100th Bay to Breakers t-shirt and medal
After finishing the race by the ocean by 8.30am (when some of the 50,000 runners had yet to start), I headed back into Golden Gate Park to pick up my finishers medal and official race t-shirt to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of this fun run.

Wonder Woman with 100th Bay to Breakers medal
in front of the Ferry Building
100th Bay to Beakers Wonder Woman medal
After taking forty minutes to find a shuttle bus home (I have to say the post-race festival is not very well organised, the signage extremely poor and staff slightly clueless), I headed back to the Start Line to see the street clean up in progress and take a well deserved hot shower.

Tortilla strewn streets after the starting celebrations
100th Bay to Breakers tortillasTortilla strewn start 100th Bay to Beakers
After negotiating with police officers and street officials over the road closures, we finally made it back to our hotel and then we were able to enjoy the rest of the sunny day in San Francisco.

Be sure to come back soon for even more great highlights from the Bay to Breakers Centennial 12k race...

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