(credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Bay Area racing season kicks into full gear with the Bay to Breakers leading the way in a matter of days. Still, not everyone will want to spend a morning with a sea full of runners, let alone thousands more lining the streets to cheer them on. Luckily for those who prefer a smaller crowd or even a shorter race, there will be running events held every weekend way past summer and well into October. Along with one of the world's largest and most famous races, here are five of the best upcoming spring races in San Francisco.
Bay to Breakers (credit: Randy Yagi)
Bay to Breakers
Main St. and Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Date: May 15, 2016, 8:00 AM
Held annually on the third Sunday of May, the Bay to Breakers is the premier running event in San Francisco. First held in 1912, the famous event is also known as the longest consecutively run footrace in the world, and at one time was also the world's largest with 110,000 participants. Extending 7.46 miles (12K) from the starting near the Embarcadero to the breakers at Ocean Beach, the wildly popular event continues to draw about 50,000 registered participants, including scores of Olympic caliber runners and thousands more dressed in colorful, sometimes elaborately made costumes. Recently named one of the 10 Most Iconic Races in the U.S., the Bay to Breakers might be second only to the Boston Marathon in terms of fame and popularity in the country. Late comers can still register online or at the Runner's Expo at Pier 35.
South End Rowing Club (credit: Randy Yagi)
DSE 50th Anniversary 5K
East Beach, Crissy Field
1199 E. Beach St.
San Francisco, CA 94129
Date: May 22, 2016, 9:00 AM
This year marks the 50th anniversary of San Francisco's oldest and largest running club, the Dolphin South End Runners. To mark the occasion, the famed club founded by members of the historic South End Rowing Club, and the Dolphin Club will host a 5K event at Crissy Field near the St. Francis Yacht Club. An excellent race for both experienced and beginning runners and walkers, the 3.1-mile course loops around Crissy Field with its sweeping views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Although T-shirts were guaranteed only to those who registered early, all participants crossing the finish line will receive finisher medals. A post-race celebration follows the event with assorted snacks and refreshers.
San Francisco Bay Trail (credit: Randy Yagi)
The Chardonnay Run
Old Mason St.
San Francisco, CA
Date: June 5, 2016
The annual Chardonnay Run-San Francisco features an excellent bayside race course and a complimentary glass of wine at the finish line. Part of a national 5K wine racing series, the local event will be held at Crissy Field, and participants 21 years old and older can run or walk the out and back course that begins near the Sports Basement-Presidio and includes a trek along the San Francisco Bay Trail, with its stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge. In addition to the commemorative glass and complimentary chardonnay provided by Sbragia Family Vineyards, registered participants will also receive a race bib, event T-shirt and a plate of gourmet cheese. The post-race party will feature live music, food trucks and local vendors.
Washington Square Park (credit: Randy Yagi)
Washington Square Park
1630 Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Date: June 5, 2016, 9:00 AM
Now in its 96th year, the Statuto Race is one of America's oldest footraces. Hosted by the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club (SFIAC), the event features a mostly flat, five-mile out and back course, traveling through the North Beach neighborhood before heading back down the Embarcadero. Complete details for this year are not yet available, but last year's event also featured a two-mile walk followed by post-race entertainment and prize drawings for all registered participants. All entrants will also receive a commemorative T-shirt, and trophies will be awarded to the top male and female finishers, in addition to the first SFIAC member. Race day registration will be available. The race will begin in front of the SFIAC next to Washington Square Park.
Justin Herman Plaza (credit: Randy Yagi)
PurpleStride San Francisco
Justin Herman Plaza
1 Market St.
San Francisco, CA
Date: June 11, 2016, 7:00 AM
Benefiting the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, PurpleStride returns to San Francisco to host the family-friendly walk and 5K run. The out and back run/walk course leads participants along the Embarcadero from Justin Herman Plaza to AT&T Park with bayside views nearly every step of the way. Interested people can still register online, by mail or the day of the race. More than 50 PurpleStride events are held nationwide to raise awareness and contribute funds for critical research of pancreatic cancer, in addition to honors those who are fighting pancreatic cancer.
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com
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