The partiers who managed to make it to the top of the Hayes Street Hill were met by a line of police officers on the lookout for anyone with an open container.
The new zero tolerance policy in effect this year meant no alcohol and no floats. But not everyone got the message
"I honestly wasn't aware that they weren't allowing me to drink," race participant Martin Sheehan said.
With 55,000 registered runners and thousands more along way just for the party, police were outnumbered and those who really wanted to drink their way from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach did just that.
"Well, as long as you put it in a plastic cup, it looks family friendly and it's all good," a race participant said.
Neighbors who complain of the mess left behind after the race say they did notice at least one difference.
"I don't think there's as much urinating this year so far," San Francisco resident Matt Darling said. "I love it, this is awesome, this is what it's all about; I run it and then come back and just watch the chaos happen."
The chaos included multiple arrests and in the Panhandle a 30-year-old man dancing on the roof of a home fell 30 feet to the ground. Police say he suffered life threatening injuries.
"Honestly, it's a party house, Bay to Breakers people get out of control, we try to regulate as much as possible, but people climb up fire escapes," witness Chelsea Bradford said.
"They try to regulate but it's still the most fun ever, we still find a way to have fun," the race participant said.
The race organizer is still calling this a success and points to a number of changes this year, saying the earlier start, gated raceway and the police enforcement, all made this less crazy than years past.
Preliminary reports say that 25 people were arrested during the race Sunday, almost all for public intoxication.