You’ve Come a Long Way Bay to Breakers!

At some point last year my sister and I decided to run a race together. She lives in New Hampshire and I am in Chicago so we looked for a race in a neutral location. We settled on the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco. My sister has wanted to run it for over 15 years, I had never even heard of it. As it turned out by borhter-in-law in Connecticut was planning to head out West for the race as well. A few weeks ago we all headed to San Francisco to run the race. What an experience! I ran with my camera and took picture best I could.
For starters the race is huge, runners and spectators aplenty. This was the 99th year for the Bay to Breakers. The race began in 1912 with 200 participants, this year there were 60,000 + participants and 100,000 + spectators. Throw in the fact most people (runners and spectators) dress in crazy costumes, while others are tied to team mates, others choose to be in their birthday suits. The race is a huge city wide party. Despite the craziness of the race, Elite runners show up. Actually, they were all staying at out hotel. We had fun starting them down like we were a threat. The fact we were generally headed to or from a bar was not lost on them.
I was fairly nervous for the 11% grade increase on the course via Hayes St. Hill. The hill actually turned out to help me. About a ½ mile in my legs from my knees to me toes decided not to co-operate with me. My feet felt like cement blocks and when I pulled over to stretch my legs the muscles were so shaky I could not get any leverage. I pushed on, luckily the runners and spectators were distraction enough, not to mention spotting all the bars we stopped in and the sights we saw from the top of the bus. The first two miles sucked and then came the hill. Coincidentally enough the magazine I read on the plane flying in had advice on running uphill. I tried to focus on that, keep your feet under you and take short strides. It was a huge help, it gave me something to focus on and it was practical advice that kept me from leaning forward and tiring me out. The hill actually left me feeling like a million bucks. Of course it didn’t hurt that I was going downhill from there on out. But really I think it gave my legs just the stretch they needed.   The rest of the course was beautiful, heading through Golden Gate Park and ending at the Ocean. And what competitor doesn’t love the site of the finish line!
Here are some highlights in pictures…
Saw him a few times on the course.
“Help us get to graduation today by 2 pm”
Go Hawks!
well accessorized
Accessories are key to a good race!

My favorite moment of the race? Four men, maybe in their 80’s running arm in arm. As I passed them I realized the two men in the middle were blind. Their shirts said it all.
Conquering Hayes St. Hill certainly did feel good!  At one point near the top I took a moment ot look back and get a picture…
Hayes St. Hill Conquered
I’ve hardly done the race justice, so much more to say.  Really is something that needs to be experienced.  Plenty more pictures here.  I would love to run this race again, though I think I want to be a spectator more.  It would be so fun to watch all the crazy runners go by and cheer the on.  Looks like the race is going to need to find a new sponsor for the 100th year. 


  1. jilly says:

    Oh my gosh, that looks like SO much fun! Let me know if you decide to go back, I will get Scott to dress up to cheer you on!

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