100th Bay to Breakers race older, wiser, less drunk and disorderly 

The Zazzle Bay to Breakers race was less chaotic and sloppy in its centennial year than in years past, but it still drew thousands of characters — both costumed and otherwise — to revel in The City’s streets.

Click on the photo at right to view a slideshow of this year's cast of zany characters.

The hunky Elvises, the school of salmon running the race in the opposite direction warning joggers to “turn around” and of course dozens of runners in the buff all upheld the race’s longstanding reputation for being downright wild.  The 55,000 registered runners, enjoying a cool breezy morning without rain, eagerly took over The City from downtown to Golden Gate Park well before most shops and restaurants were even open.

“Show me ‘Thriller!’” yelled Keren Ramirez to a Michael Jackson lookalike in a red jumper as she danced outside her friend’s apartment.

The pseudo-Jackson was staggering up the notorious Hayes Street hill, but he stopped to perform for Ramirez, who danced with him in her pajamas. She said she rolls out of bed every year to watch the race pass her by.

However, this year even with all the usual suspects, the race maintained a certain class. Public urination and sloppy boozehounds were a relatively rare sight and neighbors such as Ramirez said they suspect it was because this year organizers made several major changes.

The course was fenced off and often lined with security guards or police officers who made people empty any apparent alcoholic beverages.

The idea was mocked by some revelers, who wore costumes such as policemen in their underwear with signs that read, “No smiling.”

“Overall, it’s been pretty peaceful,” police Lt. Colleen Fatooh said.  Police reported a total of 25 arrests, including 17 for public drunkenness.

Another big change was the elimination of floats, which were often used to carry booze and would break down and be left behind. Instead, groups made pit stops at houses, such as a pack of Elvises who stopped to dance to “All Shook Up” on a doorstep.

“Yeah, it’s not as mad as I expected it to be after hearing all the stories, but it’s still a lot of fun,” said Nate Jackson, who was watching the race for the first time from the front porch of a house on Hayes Street.


Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the length of the race. The Bay to Breakers race is a 12K.

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Kamala Kelkar

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