Bay to Breakers 2013: Date, Start Time, Route and Race Preview

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 17:  Runners wearing costumes take part in the ING Bay to Breakers race May 17, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  Now in its 98th year, the ING Bay to Breakers 12K is one of the world's largest and oldest footraces, featuring world-class athletes in addition to costumed runners.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Bay to Breakers run, a 12K race in San Francisco, is one of the most entertaining races in the country. At the annual running, you will see both serious runners and folks running in full costume (and yes, even a few streakers). 

Would you expect anything less from San Francisco?

Let's take a closer look at this annual spectacle.


When: Sunday, May 19th at 7 a.m. PT

Where: San Francisco, CA

Route: Info on the race's route can be found here.



Bring your costume!

One of the time-honored traditions is both registered runners dressing in costume and non-registered runners dressing up and joining the fray for a few blocks at a time.

While alcohol is not permitted at the race, there's no shortage of participants that have imbibed before the race, to say nothing of the hordes of people gathered to watch the race, one of San Francisco's largest annual parties.

And yes, nudity is permitted, though not encouraged. So if you are bringing your kids, well, get ready to cover their eyes.

Sure, there are plenty of serious runners at the race who are there to beat personal bests or challenge themselves at the longer distance. But the real color of the run comes from the costumed participants.

Will Kane of the San Francisco Chronicle has more info on the race:

"It's a 12-kilometer art project," said Matt Striker of the San Francisco Travel Association. The race is a "pressure release valve for those of us that live here."

More than 30,000 registered runners will start the 7.5-mile course at Howard and Main streets at 7 a.m. Organizers expect another 50,000 to 70,000 people will turn up to watch the mobile mob huff and puff up the Hayes Street hill or sprint for the finish through Golden Gate Park.

As Kane notes, police and race officials will be at a heightened state of awareness following the bombings at this year's Boston Marathon, and additional security will be enlisted, as well as surveillance cameras being added to several points along the race.

But, of course, the expectation is that the race will go off without a hitch and once again be a blast.

The race dates back to 1912 (then called the Cross City Race) and was started to lift morale alongside rebuilding efforts in the city after a devastating earthquake rocked San Francisco in 1906. It's now evolved into one of the largest—and most memorable—races in the United States.

If you've never seen pictures of the event, it's quite the spectacle. It may not be the most traditional of races, but it's arguably the most fun.


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