SF set to host 101st Bay to Breakers race

(KGO)
May 19, 2012 1:03:39 PM PDT
Boston has its marathon, Pamplona has the running of the bulls, and San Francisco has Bay to Breakers.

The 101st edition of America's most unique footrace is coming up on Sunday. It's an iconic San Francisco tradition filled with diversity, creativity, and even passion. On Sunday, 40,000 people will take to the streets. Some of the world's best runners will participate in the 7.5-mile run followed by thousands of others in (or out of) costume.

Some of the elite runners spoke Friday. Kenya's Sammy Kitwara has won it twice and holds the record of 30 minutes, 30 seconds. He'll face challengers. "The race is unique. I did it last year. A lot of people come here to just have a good time and enjoy it moderately, and just to be part of it is huge for me," he said.

Kate Niehaus has been on Stanford's two-time national champion cross country team. It's her first Bay to Breakers. "I think it will be not a distraction during the race. You start the race, you're going, and you're in your own mind at that point," she said.

There are changes to take advantage of Bay Area tech. "And then we've got this Mobile Walk app that people can interact with the race course and Tommy. I encourage people to download that app and check it out on race day race day," explained Race Director Angela Fang.

Hayes Street Hill or "Heartbreak Hill" separates the elite runners from the wannabe runners. Also, there is prize money for the first man and the first woman who cross over the hill. Last year, what greeted party runners after the hill were police cracking down on drinking. "Last year, we really drew a line in the sand and we are continuing with zero tolerance on alcohol. And, people must be registered in order to run this race," Stephanie Reichin.

But by the time they get to the Panhandle, it gets a bit wild and messy. Many runners take to driveways or gardens to relieve themselves. Homeowners have reacted. "My dad's got plans to put a whole barricade up, make it look like a construction zone to deter people from wanting to come back here," Rafael Villet said.

"We always say, 'Come naked. Come in costume. Just don't come drunk," Reichin said.

The winner of the 101st edition gets $25,000. That smartphone app is called Mobile Adventure Walks. And, the race is also on Facebook, of course.


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