The beautiful Northern Californian city of San Francisco is known for many fun events. However, none are as wacky or as popular as the Bay to Breakers, a 12K (7.45 mile) road race that spans across the city. Started in 1912, as a way to bring some cheer to residents who were still recovering from the devastating 1906 earthquake, it is the oldest consecutively run annual footrace in the world.
Over the years, the race has become increasingly popular largely due to the fact that it is the only competition in the world in which some of the world's fastest runners share the starting line and the limelight, with adults dressed in all kinds of imaginative costumes. This year was no different.
On Sunday, May 18th, 40,000 official competitors and thousands of unofficial ones, gathered at the city's picturesque waterfront impatient to get going. While the elite runners were there to try take home their share of the $70,000 USD prize money that was up for grabs, for most, it was an excuse to have some Halloween-like fun in May!
This year's wacky line-up included a tetris group, clowns with orange wigs, a pink gorilla, a cluster of ripe bananas, and a pat of flamingos. Of course the craziness is not just limited to the participants but also extends out to the hundreds of thousands of spectators that join in from the sidelines. As has been the case for a few years, some tossed corn tortillas through the air at the race's starting point, a tradition borrowed from Mexico's 'Lucha Libre' wrestling events, while others, helped keep the runners and fun seekers cool, by sprinkling them with water.
As is always the case, the elite runners made short work of the 12K route that includes some of the city's steepest hills. Kenya's Geoffrey Kenisi was the first person to cross the finish line in a speedy quick 35:04 minutes. Though impressive, it was not enough to beat fellow Kenyan Sam Kitware's 2009 record of 33:31. But Kenisi didn't care - he was so happy that he entertained the cheering crowd of fans with a celebratory jig. Diane Nukuri-Johnson from Burundi snagged the women's title for a second year in a row, with an official time of 40:19. Both winners took home $3,000 USD each.
As for the rest? They spent the day strolling across the city entertaining the crowds that had gathered to cheer them on, before joining the traditional annual party on Ocean Beach to reminisce about the fun day and make plans for next year's race!
Resources: sfgate.com, bleacherreport.com,sfist.com