I was almost going to do another edition of ,”Aren’t you glad you don’t live here”, but a road race involving puddles of vomit, naked people, wild costumes, drunken collisions, and a genuine atmosphere of wild reveling might be your c’est la mode, so lace ‘em up.
If there’s one thing people here seem to agree on, it’s that nudity during an athletic event isn’t a problem. But the city’s tolerance for other forms of debauchery during Bay to Breakers, its annual cross-town footrace, has finally run out.
This Sunday, on the race’s 100th anniversary, officials have banned inebriated and unregistered runners, as well as any wheeled objects. Those prohibitions wouldn’t be controversial at most road races—but for many participants, Bay to Breakers has little to do with running and a lot to do with finding creative ways to transport alcohol for 7.5 miles.
I would think that just about everyone in the civilized world has heard of the Bay to Breakers. Not only is it the world’s oldest sanctioned organized foot race but when you are talking about an estimated 100,000 people getting together to party, as the saying goes, shit usually happens.
Even a cursory check on youtube reveals literally dozens of videos that feature the Bay to Breakers race, so picking one was a fool’s errand.
I ran the Bay to Breakers once about 20 years ago (my wife-a Berkeley grad-has run it about 4 times) basically to say ,”Yeah, of course I ran it, who hasn’t?”, even then the runners numbers around 85,000. The only way to get in was by BART. Serious runners go up to the front. When the race starts it took probably 30 minutes just for the pack to start moving. The next 20 minutes is all a crawl but then things open up and if you want to run the damn thing, like I did, you can stretch out. Things bog down again at Hayes Hill, a fairly steep incline two thirds into the race, but every house on the street has their stereo equipment outside blasting tunes, with bars set up on the front porch, people dancing. Getting through without beer getting spilled on you is harder then getting that last slice of pizza off of
Jabba The Hut Michael Moore’s dinner plate.
But organizers and some people who live along the race path say the party has gone from fun to disgusting. Last year, participants left behind 47 tons of trash and 32 people were taken away in ambulances, mostly for alcohol-related injuries.
Howard Chabner, who lives at the halfway point of the race along Fell Street, says his wife got ready last year with a garden hose to spray away all of the drunks using their doorstep and side of their house as a toilet. (They had to use the hose.)
And a word about naked people, why is it that the only naked people I see are those that got no business running around naked in the first place? You never see people like this running naked?
I think the cops would have an easier time getting Jerry Falwell elected as mayor then trying to curtail the public drinking at this event. And it is suppose to rain tomorrow, but no raining on this parade, me?, I’ll be checking it out on my big screen, much safer.