At Large Unreal: Bay to Breakers
posted by May 22 at 12:15 PMon
I can’t figure out the right way to Slog about Bay to Breakers. Words and even pictures hardly do it justice.
This past weekend marked the 97th year the 7.5-mile footrace has been run over the same course through San Francisco, making it the longest consecutively-run race in the world. Every year, some ten thousand competitors register and run the course, starting at the Embarcadero (the Bay), weaving through downtown, the Western Addition, and Golden Gate Park, to finish at Ocean Beach (the Breakers).
Another 70 thousand runners walk the course, mostly in costume, or naked, and in various states of inebriation. It’s a block party a hundred blocks long. It’s the best San Francisco holiday out of many. Like Burning Man, it’s one of those things that everyone should experience once in their lives. Unlike Burning Man, it’s something I see myself doing every year for the rest of my life, as long as I’m able.
Bay to Breakers is the most grand expression of civic pride I’ve ever been a part of. Bands and DJs rock out on street corners, mobile soundsystems cruise the streets, elaborate floats are built and pushed to accommodate bars, kegs, beer pong, dance floors. There are no spectators. Everybody walks, runs, or rolls. You reach the top of Alamo Square—the halfway point, and the only hill on the course—and look down from the peak. In both directions, thousands of people of all stripes are celebrating life for the best of all reasons: Because it’s there.
This year was a spectacularly sunny day. Along with 20 or so friends dressed in vintage track suits, I helped pull a granny basket and a tricked-out shopping cart, filled with 14 cases of iced PBR. We made it a few miles before we pulled over in Golden Gate Park and sat in the shade, drinking beer and freaking out with the freaks.
I’m a man of simple pleasures. All it takes to make me happy is 80 thousand costumed revelers drinking cocktails at 9 in the morning, parading through San Francisco on a gorgeous day, listening to a GnR cover band crank out “Paradise City” from a float being pushed by 12 women in bikinis.
More pics after the jump. Like I said, words, pictures, video—its all not even the half of it.