Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bay to Breakers

Runners. Costumes. Naked People. This past weekend was Bay to Breakers and while I fit into one of the mentioned categories all three and then some were out in force. The weather was perfect for the event. Pictures really can not catch the mood of the race. It has been called the world's largest moving party.

Bay to Breakers is the most grand expression of civic pride I've ever been a part of. Bands and DJs rock out on street corners, mobile soundsystems cruise the streets, elaborate floats are built and pushed to accommodate bars, kegs, beer pong, dance floors. There are no spectators. Everybody walks, runs, or rolls. You reach the top of Alamo Square--the halfway point, and the only hill on the course--and look down from the peak. In both directions, thousands of people of all stripes are celebrating life for the best of all reasons: Because it's there.

While The City and race organizers try to shun and stop the boozing and bare bodies, I have always thought they should embrace it. Those are the things that make this race stand out. Race organizers and The City should encourage such behavior and use it as a selling point to get more people involved in the race. Almost gone are the days of the centipedes that used to attrack a lot of attention. I fear the rest will soon follow.

Here are a few ideas I have to encourage more fun to the race:
1. Instead of frowning on alcohol, give it out. Give those over 21 special bibs they can use to get alcohol along the course. Hand it out at the water stops. Nobody is driving anyway. The organizers try to discourage those who do not register and it never works, this gives them an incentive to do so. Sure there are liabilites but don't let that stop it.
2. Have special prize money given to the first male and female nude runner.
3. Bring back the centipedes. If Bay to Breakers can give 20k to the first finisher (male or female) it can give some change to the first centipede.

Those are just three.

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