Race Report Contributor: Andrew Costello (via RunK2J Race Report Form)
Event Name/Date/Location : Bay to Breakers / May 15, 2022 / San Francisco, CA
Synopsis – what was memorable at this event? (1-2 lines).: This race is a party that includes a run. Lots of costumes, bubbles and tortillas!
My Race Experience: This race is large – with approximately 18,000 participants. It has been run every year since 1912. There are two distance options: 12 km (the traditional distance) and 15 km (the Bonus option).
The race has a great party atmosphere. At least half the participants wear costumes. Some adventurous individuals (men and women) wear nothing at all. There are also many walkers – which can be problematic because they often walk side by side in the middle of the road.
In addition to age groups, there is a special division for ‘Centipedes’. These are groups of 13 who are all tied together with bungee cords or other tethering devices. They all run together for the entire race. They also tend to sing a lot!
While waiting in the corrals for the race to start it is traditional to throw tortillas into the air. I got hit by quite a few!
My first 4 km was very slow due to the very crowded conditions and the presence of many walkers (I have no idea how so many walkers got into the front corrals). At 4 km I hit the infamous ‘Hayes Hill’ – which is longer and steeper than the Valley Inn Road hill at the Around the Bay race in Hamilton). This was brutal. I kept telling myself to just look at the ground a few meters in front of me rather than looking towards the top.
By 5 km the number of people thinned out and I started to pick up the pace and it was clear sailing until the end. Just before I finished I got a magnificent view of the Pacific.
I found the race very inspirational. Everyone was in a great mood and the enthusiasm from everyone was awesome. If was a great race to run for fun!
Would you do this event again? Why? : If I lived in or near San Francisco I would definitely run this race every year. Given the great distance from Ottawa I doubt that I will run it again.
Would you recommend this event? Why? : I would definitely recommend this race. San Francisco is a wonderful city and the race itself is a great celebration of life.
Closing thoughts. Any hints for others planning to do this race? Where to stay? Things to bring? What to wear? : Here are some tips should you decide to do this race:
1. Wear a costume. The crazier the better.
2. Run with your phone so that you can take lots of photos and/or videos.
3. Don’t have a time goal. In fact, consider leaving your watch at the hotel. Focus on just having fun.
Bay to Breakers Info Stats:
Overall Venue Rating: : 5 – Monumentally Awesome
Please rate the course: 5 – Excellent
Briefly describe the overall venue & course (1-5 lines).: The course starts in downtown San Francisco near the Bay and ends at Ocen Beach, which is adjacent to the Pacific Ocean (hence ‘Bay to Breakers)’. The first half of the course runs through the downtown as well as some nice residential areas. The second half is run through beautiful Golden Gate Park.
Please rate the aid stations: 2 – Okay
What was provided at the aid stations?: The aid stations only had water – no electrolytes.
How was the weather? : Perfect weather for running. Cool (approximately 10 degrees C at the start) and sunny.