Bay to Breakers racers are together for the long run 

When Dale Edwards decided to lead a less-sedentary lifestyle, he knew he couldn’t do it alone.

The 73-year-old Daly City resident, who is legally blind, knew he would need someone to guide him on walks, jogging trails and trips to the gym.

As a result, Edwards began partnering with Daly City resident Mike Stallings three years ago.

The duo walks and jogs a 4.5-mile loop around Lake Merced three times a week. Edwards said he is confident the two will be ready for their second ING Bay to Breakers race on May 16.

“Barring no accidents,” he said, “I think we’ll be in excellent condition.”

Edwards said he is not nervous about running Bay to Breakers, but instead said it is an event he is happy to participate in.

Bay to Breakers is a 12-kilometer race across San Francisco starting at The Embarcadero and ending at Ocean Beach. It has turned in to a popular annual event where an estimated 70,000 people watch runners from around the world complete the race then walk the course themselves. The race is now in its 99th year.

In order to avoid obstacles such as people running the race and potholes in the road, the two use a bungee cord in which they each hold onto one end to maneuver the course rather than hold on to one another’s hand.

“Half the race is the race and half the race is negotiating the crowd,” Stallings said. “[Edwards] can see if it’s light or not light. He’s a very, very, very trusting person.”

Not only is the team doing the race for themselves — they want to do the course in under the 2 hours, 4 minutes they did in 2008 — they are also raising money for Breathe California, a nonprofit organization based out of San Francisco that fights lung disease by advocating for clean air and promoting public health.

Stallings said he and Edwards have had family members affected by lung disease — such as asthma or emphysema — and felt the charity was a good fit for the two to raise money for. Breathe California is an honorary beneficiary of the race.

The team’s goal is to raise $1,000, Stallings said because of the economy they are not asking for more donations.

“We know times are tough,” Stallings said. “We’re really only asking people to pay a dollar per kilometer, so $12 total.”

Edwards said he is confident they two will be ready to walk or jog the course by the time the race starts.

“I’m really excited, not nervous,” he said. “When training we build up confidence; not bad for an old man.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

 

ING Bay to Breakers

Details of the 99th annual footrace through San Francisco:

When: May 16

Start time: 8 a.m.

Where: Start at Beale and Howard streets, finishes at the Great Highway

Length: 12 kilometers (7.46 miles)

How to register: www.ingbaytobreakers.com

Source: ING Bay to Breakers

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