Bay to Breakers - in the streets of San Francisco
third Sunday in May
Always on the third Sunday in May a 12-kilometer run takes place in the streets of San Francisco. The route stretches across 9 city districts from Bay to Breakers, i.e. from Embarcadero to the well known Ocean Beach at the far end of Golden Gate Park. The steepest part of route which leads up Hayes Hill is measured separately and the fastest racer receives a special prize.
The run dates back to 1912 and takes place annually. The aim of the very first year was to bolster the mood and resilience of city population affected by the devastating earthquake and fire.
This unique event was registered in the Guinness Book of Records in 1986, with up to 110,000 runners.
A pink gorilla named Hashbury is the mascot of the event and was named after the famous street. According to its own statements, Hashbury prepares for the run very diligently:
„Immediately before running, I follow a strict banana diet...
seven and a half bananas a day!“
Well, not only runners get ready for the run. The audience gathers along the route proactively to support the event with their own sound systems and banners. They give out hugs and kisses, incredibly encourage the runners and contribute to the original and exceptional atmosphere.
On this occasion participants wear the most amazing costumes. Some even run naked. If you cross paths with a group of people in salmon costumes running in the opposite direction, you were lucky enough to encounter the famous upstream runners.
At start, everyone is killing time by throwing tortillas while waiting. If you catch one, throw it up in the air and do not break the chain. At some point tortillas are flying above people's heads non-stop. Occasionally, a typical square-wrapped cheese comes your way.
There are no age restrictions for runners. Families with children run, too. But the fact remains that women could not actively participate in the event until its 60th year in 1971.
You will be charged a fee for registration and the price increases with the time as the start nears by. Groups can even race in a special "centipede" category, where 13 or more runners are linked together by a flexible rope. A medal and a live music party await successful racers at the finish line.
However, only those starting from the first sectors are really running because there are so many participants that with time running changes into a walk in costumes, with music and indescribable atmosphere.
Bay to Breakers is first and foremost a celebration of life, diversity and the fantastic city that San Francisco without any doubt is.
And why are we writing about this event? Because if you have a long flight and you travel via the U.S., you can make a stop in San Francisco, e.g. on your way from Hawaii.