There’s only one logical way to use 5 miles of yellow tape and thousands of people: Tether them in a single-file line to break the record for the world’s largest human centipede.
This year, registered athletes were asked to help shatter the record for the world’s longest human centipede, binding themselves together for the first 30 meters of the 12-kilometer race from downtown San Francisco to Ocean Beach.
The current record is 2,026 people, from a race in Japan, organizers said.
ING Bay to Breakers centipede organizer Kay Luo said the morning of the race, 1,200 had registered to try to break the record. However, organizers recruited hundreds more participants in the morning to use pieces of what looked like caution tape to connect to one another.
But now, Luo has her counting cut out for her to come up with a final number.
While the Guinness World Records could ultimately reflect a new centipede record set at Bay to Breakers this year, organizers are not sure whether it was documented properly.
“We have hundreds of sign-up sheets to go through,” said Luo, who was carrying slips of yellow tape around her neck, a megaphone and a clipboard. “And I don’t know if it’s documented correctly for the world record.”
Fortunately, they had a dedicated cutter too, she said, who followed the participants with scissors and detached as many people as she could after they finished the required portion of the race.
“I’m pretty sure we missed some, though,” Luo said. “We probably had little centipedes all over the race.”
Elite runners miss time for top centipede
While his LinkedIn team won the elite centipedes division of the ING Bay to Breakers on Sunday, Armen Vartanian was disappointed the team failed to reach its goal of breaking the course record set in 1990 of 37 minutes, 39 seconds.
Centipede racing — a huge deal among the elite athletes competing in Bay to Breakers, which simultaneously is host to the World Centipede Running Championships — involves 13 runners who must stay connected from start to finish.
Vartanian’s team included several marathoners who have qualified for the Olympic trials, college stars and a Dipsea Race champion.
But they weren’t enough to break the course record.
On Sunday, Vartanian’s team of superstar runners finished in 37:58.
“We had a slow start, but we came out of it and finished really strong,” he said.
Overall, Vartanian remained positive about the finish.
“But we all worked hard together,” he said. “That’s all that really matters.”
-- Mike Aldax