If you are looking for a true San Francisco experience, then head to the city on May 18, 2014 for the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race. In its 103rd year, this event is a San Francisco original.
This 12k race is one of the largest and oldest running events in the world. It attracts more than 50,000 runners and 100,000 spectators every year.
Why is it so popular? It showcases the true San Francisco with fun, chaos and an unmatched community spirit.
This race includes both serious runners and those out for a fun Sunday run. Many of them wear fun and funky costumes to show their spirt. You will also find a few people that decide to only wear their birthday suit.
The party atmosphere along the race route also offers spectators the chance to be part of the action.
If you happen to be in SF on this day, you must join in on the fun!
The race starts with some serious runners. These runners are competing for the top spots and prizes.
After these athletes are partially done, the next group starts. Toward the front, you will always see the pink gorilla.
About 30 to 45 minutes after the official start of the race, it starts to get chaotic. This is when the fun individual costumes and groups start to appear. Some groups pull together large structures and for a while the race resembles a parade - a really unorganized, yet fun parade.
Here are just a few photos from past Bay to Breakers that I took the last few years.
Look out! The British are coming!
Additional entertainment along the road during the race
The race starts near the Embarcadero in downtown SF (the bay). Runners head through the city and end near the Pacific Ocean (the breakers). This is where the San Francisco Bay to Breakers got its name.
The first group starts at 7am. The course officially closes around noon.
After running through downtown San Francisco, the racers head down Hayes Street. This is where you will find some great viewing spots.
I like to watch it either from the Hayes Valley neighborhood or in Alamo Square Park. From both of these places, you will get some great views and also get the chance to mingle with a few of the runners.
I like to get to these places early to get a spot. I recommend that you arrive no later than 8:30am or 9am if you want to catch some of the best parts of the race. This is when the streets start to get crowded and thousands of costumed runners and groups provide unmatched entertainment.
Are you interested in running in the race? Check the official Zazzle Bay to Breakers website for more details.
Does the San Francisco Bay to Breakers have people running in the nude? Yes. Every year, you will see several people running in the nude.
Public nudity is legal in the state of California. However, in a controversial move, the SF Board of Directors approved an ordinance that makes nudity illegal in the city. It passed in a 6-5 vote on November 20, 2012.
This is a small part of the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race, but there were still several people running nude in 2013. I didn't see the police cracking down on them, but am not sure what will happen in 2014.
People in the city like to bend the rules just a little, which is why I'm guessing you will still see a few brave souls running in the nude again during the 2014 San Francisco Bay to Breakers race.
Are you planning on attending this year's San Francisco Bay to Breakers? Click on the links below for SF hotel recommendations by budget, neighborhood and amenities.
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