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Bay to Breakers 2004: San Francisco

On Sunday, May 16, 2004, Marathon Man conquered Hayes Street Hill to finish in 1,429th place of over 32,000 participants.
Actually, there were somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 runners and walkers, but who's counting? I flew in to San Francisco on the afternoon before the race. On Sunday morning, I caught a 610am BART train from Castro Valley to the Embarcadero station in the city.

It was already sunny at 7am (unusual for S.F.) when the air was filled with flying tortillas, a B2B tradition. The constant pelting with tortillas continued for an hour until race time.

2004 Albertson's Bay to Breakers Photos - San Francisco, CA

View movie of Flying Tortillas prior to start of race >>>

Bay to Breakers Background...
The Examiner Bay to Breakers has become an important part of San Francisco history.
The 12K (7.5 mile) race starts at San Francisco Bay and crosses the city ending at the breakers at the Pacific Ocean. Each year more than 75,000 runners, ranging in athletic ability from couch potatoes to elite athletes, fill the streets.

The race was created in 1912 to lift the spirits of San Franciscans during the tedious reconstruction following the 1906 earthquake. Runners have been known to dress head to toe in crazy costumes. No one really knows how the phenomena started but the costume portion of the race has become its defining characteristic.
Amid the havoc hide the elite athletes. Fifteen of the world's top athletes compete on a world record course, which includes the well-known challenge of the Hayes Street Hill, for a $60,000 purse.

Bay to Breakers runners
Albertson's Bay to Breakers
One wacky 12K!

Bay to Breakers runners Bay to Breakers runners
official race shirts Bay to Breakers runners Bay to Breakers runners Bay to Breakers runners the Gropenator (in honor of Arnold) Elvis relieves himself...So does Elvis...and Elvis does too!

Serious runners!!!

the Kenyans dropped by Bay to Breakers runners very serious runners, indeed

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Facts (from official race website)
  • The 12K course (7.46 miles) starts at the edge of San Francisco Bay, crosses the city, and ends in the breakers of the Pacific Ocean.
  • The race is the longest consecutively run footrace in the world.
  • The international scope of the Bay to Breakers attracts elite runners from countries throughout the world, including Great Britain, Kenya, Brazil, Australia, Colombia, Tanzania, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Belgium, Portugal, China and Ukraine.
  • More than 70,000 runners participate annually. They run the gamut from serious world-class athletes, through more modest weekend warriors, to the costumed contenders who set this race apart from all others.
  • The first race hosted 150 runners. Bobby Vlught, a St. Mary's College student and part-time newspaper copy boy, was the first to cross the finish line in 1912, with a time of 45:10.
  • No women participated until 1940, when Bobbie Burke unofficially entered and finished the race. It was not until 1971 that the first officially registered woman, Dr. Frances Conley, crossed the finish line.
  • In 1994, American runners were able to use their times to meet the standard required for entry into the Olympic trials.
  • From 1993 to 1996, the Examiner Bay to Breakers was the first official 12K National Championship recognized by United States of America Track and Field Association (the governing body of U.S. running).
  • Each year, our Medical Staff will treat about 450 runners, mostly for blisters and muscle strains.
  • There are 520 portable toilets at the event.
  • 8,500 cases of water will be distributed along the course and throughout the Bay to Breakers weekend.
  • More than 3,000 volunteers line the course and the Footstock celebration.

Finish line and "Footstock" celebration area in Golden Gate Park

finish line cool-down walk to Footstock Footstock in the park Catching some rays - yeah, baby!
Click for Naked runners and more costumes.

Click here for more Bay to Breakers.

Warning: This page contains nudity

If you are under the age of 18 or are offended by naked runners (and who isn't)...

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"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."

Emil Zatopek

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