Bay to Breakers Celebrates San Francisco

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May 20, 2019
Bay to Breakers Celebrates San Francisco

Bay to Breakers 12K Race: Celebrating the Spirit of San Francisco

The Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers is one of the world’s oldest and most festive footraces. In 1906, San Francisco was hit by a devastating earthquake but San Franciscans, with their signature enterprising spirit, immediately started rebuilding and the city hosted events to lift morale. One of these events, the Cross City Race, took 121 runners from the northeast end of town near the present day The Embarcadero (the “bay” side of the city) to the west end of the city and the “breakers” of Ocean Beach. Renamed Bay to Breakers to reflect its traditional course, this 12K race has maintained a celebratory spirit since its humble beginnings in 1912.

Held each year on the third Sunday of May, tens of thousands of athletes compete and fun-loving folks flood the streets clad in everything from outrageous costumes to birthday suits — earning Bay to Breakers a reputation as the Mardi Gras of the West. Whether you’re running up Heartbreak Hill or cheering from the sidelines, here are a few tips to help you enjoy the race on May 17, 2020.

1. Don’t dress warm. It may be a little chilly in the morning, but, trust us, taking to the streets with thousands of people as temperatures start to rise mid-morning means you’ll be stuck carrying your jacket all day long.

2. Be prepared for nudity. You may even be that guy or gal, but be prepared to see people in their birthday suits.

3. Stay hydrated. Water is your friend on a day like this, especially if you plan on drinking.

4. Pace yourself. It can be a long morning. Take your time to enjoy the full event.

5. Wear a costume. San Francisco loves to dress-up. Join the fun and come prepared.

6. Food. Hellman Hollow (formerly known as Speedway Meadows) in Golden Gate Park will be filled with pizza and other tasty treat vendors. There are also a ton of restaurants and cafes along the way.

7. Transportation. Cabs will be difficult to find and public transit packed after the race. Plan ahead.

8. Make pit-stops. There are a slew of open house parties, bands, food vendors and other random happenings along the way. Don’t be shy. Stop and enjoy yourself.

9. Be respectful. It may be difficult to find a bathroom. You may bump into a police officer on a horse. You may really want to read the tattoo on that naked guy. Please, remain courteous and respectful throughout the event.

10. Have a blast. Go wild. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Find details about the race on the 2019 Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers website:


Photo by David Yu / CC-NC BY

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