On Sunday, May 19th over 30,000 official competitors and thousands of unofficial ones, took to the streets of San Francisco, to participate in 102nd Bay to Breakers, the city's most famous road race. Started in 1912 to bring some cheer to the residents following the devastating 1906 earthquake, the unique event celebrates not only athleticism, but also, the fun-loving spirit of the residents of San Francisco.
The annual 12K race that spans from one end of the city to another, is the only competition in which some of the world's most elite runners share the starting line and the limelight, with adults dressed in all kinds of imaginative costumes. This year's line up included a hula girl, the smurfs, a group of Elvis impersonators and even, bunches of grapes complete with vines.
As these colorfully dressed runners made their way across the city's most treacherous hills, residents and visitors, some from as far away as Australia, cheered them on. Some even extended their hospitality by sprinkling them with cold water, a welcome treat given the day's sweltering temperatures.
Amidst all the craziness, it is sometimes hard to remember that the Bay to Breakers is a real race, one that carries a grand prize of $25,000 USD. It is therefore not surprising that it attracts some of the world's best runners. This year, the first person to cross the finish line was 23-year-old Tolossa Gedefa Fufi of Ethiopia, who completed the 7.56 mile trek across some of the city's biggest hills, in 35.1 minutes.
Though impressive, it was the slowest time since 2003. Some of the elite runners believe that the slower time was caused by the slight change in the route, but It did not matter to Tolossa who was amply rewarded for her half-hour effort. 30-year old Ryan Hall who was trying to become the first American to win the race since 1986, came in a close second, clocking in at 35.40 minutes. The overall women's winner was Burundi's Diana Nukuri-Johnson, who made it to the finish line in 40.12 minutes, with second place winner Adrienne Herzog, following close behind.
Though the elite runners soon went home, the rest stayed on to celebrate the occasion by joining the party that awaited them at the finish line. After a full day of fun, all the participants trekked home to check their calendars for other upcoming events - That's because there is always something exciting going on in this beautiful city by the bay, where people love to have a good time!
Resources: sfgate.com, bleacherreport.com,sfist.com