How To Win Bay To Breakers

bay-2-breakers-salmon

During my first Bay to Breakers in San Francisco some 7 years ago, I was lucky enough to witness a scene that changed my life forever. I saw Superman shamelessly hitting on Princess Jasmine and getting her phone number, then I saw Superman’s girlfriend (dressed as Wonder Woman) come out of nowhere and begin scolding Superman violently and then beating him with her Lasso of Truth, prompting him to retreat while covering his head. I thought, where else in the world would I get to see the domestic squabbles of my childhood heroes? There aren’t many costumes at the NYC Marathon, and there isn’t nearly enough beer at San Diego’s Comic Con to inspire superhero love triangles. Bay to Breakers is a 12k foot race to some, but to most, it is a 4 hour tour of the city and one of the biggest and most fun parties of the year.  Here are the guidelines to WINNING the legendary 103 year old event.

1. Wear A Costume

Eat a solid breakfast, wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, and most importantly, wear an awesome costume. Bay to Breakers is the Halloween of athletic events, have you ever been to an awesome Halloween party without a costume?  Yeah, it’s like that.  You can watch the fun or you can be part of the fun.  Better yet, get your friends to do it with you.  Nothing takes the edge off looking ridiculous like looking back and seeing that your friend is totally on board

b2b gg bridge

bay-to-breakers-costumesFull disclosure, your costume does not have to be awesome, but it would be a lot cooler if it was

2. Bring Your Own Cup

Yes, this means putting your favorite beverage inside a neutral container like a Nalgene bottle.  You can drink bottles of beer on the street if you enjoy pouring them into the gutter for police officers.  But if you have your own container you can drink whatever you like, as well as fill up at that insane panhandle party you stop at. b2b bear and copOpen containers can make for sad bears

3. Run Real Slow

Or better yet, walk.  You’ve got a lot of ground to cover, and the odds of you beating a handful of skinny, fast people are slim. If The Princess Bride taught you anything it’s never get involved in a land war in Asia, and never challenge an Ethopian to a foot race. Seriously, Tolossa Gedefa runs like a gazelle.  You will not win B2B thinking like a rabbit, you are far better off as a tortoise, or better yet dressed like one. b2b tolossa gedefa

Last year Tolossa Gedefa may have crossed a finish line first

b2b turtlesBut the turtles had a WAY better time doing it.  Aesop was no fool.

4. Make Friends With People Who Live On The Race Route

If you don’t already know someone who lives near the panhandle, then you are not thinking strategically. Having 1 or 2 places to pee along the course is a very valuable commodity.  I’ve seen money exchanged and favors granted between perfect strangers for the privilege of using their bathroom. I’ve also seen people get drenched by the garden hose of angry residents for peeing on their driveways. Perpetrators beware!

b2b elvis Don’t be like Elvis, make a friend with a bathroom, or find a porta-potty.  The #1 thing pissing-off local residents and city workers…is your piss.

5. Know Your Watering Holes

The good samaritans at sfist.com put together a map of all liquor stores within walking distance of the race.  This may come in handy when you get thirsty (click on it to enlarge…that’s what he said): b2b map

6.  Cell-Phones, They Will Betray You

A lot of the time phones will not work because of the 100 thousand racers overwhelming the cell towers. So make up a rendezvous point with your friends, if it’s not someone’s house along the route, then make it a cross street like Lyon and Fell St. The only thing guaranteed on Bay 2 Breakers is that YOU WILL get separated from your friends at some point.

7. Alamo Square Park Is CLOSED This Year

Yup, the race organizers have to take something away from us every year, last year it was backpacks, and this year it’s the park at Alamo Square.  Frowny face. They already took our floats, moved our start time, and banned parties in Golden Gate Park.  What’s next you ask?? Who cares! No amount of restrictions can stop San Francisco from having a good time, onward and upward! b2b alamo  Don’t meet at Alamo this year, it will be fenced off: Alamo Square Online

8. Prepare Yourself For The Odd Naked Person

SF Supervisor Scott Weiner made public nudity illegal in 2012, EXCEPT for in certain ‘appropriate’ times. B2B is one of those sanctioned times, the exhibitionists will be out!

b2b naked guy

9.  Have Fun With Complete Strangers

Psssst… people with amazing costumes are usually pretty amazing, when’s the last time you made friends with a pinata or made-out with a mermaid?  Did you ever have a beer with Bender or dance with Kermit the frog?  Let your hair down, this is San Francisco, and better yet it’s Bay to Breakers.

b2b mermaids 2b2b pinadab2b muppets

 

b2b bender

b2b scrabble

10. Have An Exit Strategy Make sure to remember where you live, that’s number one. Number two: have a clue as to how public transportation works because getting a cab may be difficult. Number three: Stop being a weenie and come to the after party. B2B house parties are a sloppy mess but a great deal of fun. And if you want to go out, here’s a list of venues throwing B2B after parties starting at 12pm Sunday.

SOMA: Audio Discotech 12pm-10pm $5 – $15   The Haight: Milk Bar 12pm – 8pm $5   Nob Hill Top Of The Mark 10am – 9pm Just Kidding (although it would be hilarious if you showed up here)   The Marina: The Matrix 2pm -2am free   Eastside West 11am -8pm free   Ocean Beach: Finish Line Festival (Concerts) 8am-1pm If you make it all the way to the finish line at Ocean Beach, they’ll have bands playing for you.

b2b passed out

Number four, don’t pass out under a tree that was urinated on 4,000 times that morning

Share This Page

About the author

Alex Mak - Broke Broadcaster

Alex is incredibly strong and an amazing lover. His modesty is only matched by his extraordinary use of words. People sometimes mistake him for the estranged son of Ernest Hemingway but Alex prefers comparisons to Dolemite. If you would like to find Alex on any given day, go to the Mission or Duboce Triangle and yell out "Hey Alex, I want to buy you a sandwich", and he will appear within hours.
  • http://mermaidscientist.com Claudia Makeyev

    This article is both informative and hilarious. The maps, photos and costume tips are very helpful and I am relieved to learn that my nudity will not be prosecutable.

  • http://exercisingwhileintoxicated.wordpress.com/ JoeK

    Oh an that Liquor Store Map has been updated for 2014! This year it has little cocktail glasses and ‘escape routes’ mapped in Golden Gate Park.

    http://exercisingwhileintoxicated.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/bay-to-breakers-liquor-store-map-2014/