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On Sunday, May 15th, over 50,000 competitors took to the streets of San Francisco to participate in the centennial year of city's most famous road race - The Bay to Breakers. Started in 1912 to bring some cheer to the residents following the 1906 earthquake, the unique event celebrates not only athleticism, but also, the fun-loving spirit of the people of San Francisco.
The 7.5 mile race is often referred to as the world's wackiest race - An apt description considering the starting line is shared by some of the world's fastest runners and . . . . . adults dressed as horses, pigs and even infants complete with binkies! This year's lineup included the muppets, Spongebob Squarepants, a cow, bunches of balloons and even a large group of gnomes!
Amongst all this mayhem many people forget that this is a real race - one that carries with it a grand prize of $25,000USD. It therefore is not surprising that it attracts elite runners from all over the world. While Kenyan runners have dominated the event in the past, this year's winner came from Morocco.
31-year old Ridouane Harroufi took top honors and the cash prize by completing the grueling race in a swift 34mins 26 secs. He made history by not only winning the 100th Bay to Breakers, but also, by becoming the first Moroccan athlete to do so, in the history of the race.
The fastest woman athlete was 23-year old Lineth Chepkurui from Kenya, who overcame an injured hip to win the race for the third consecutive time in an impressive 39 mins 12 secs, earning herself a cool $7,000 USD. In addition to that, she also won an extra $5,000 USD for being the first athlete to climb the notorious Hayes Street Hill, that rises from sea level to a height of 215 feet, in five short city blocks.
While the race may be over, the centennial celebration of this revered tradition continues all week, with special events planned in different parts of San Francisco every day. Not surprising, for a city that loves to have a good time!
Resources: gilroy.patch.com, sfgate.com, sfexaminer.com,wikipedia.org