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San Francisco Bay to Breakers returns for its 113th year

Thousands fill S.F. streets for 113th Bay to Breakers
Thousands fill S.F. streets for 113th Bay to Breakers 03:02

SAN FRANCISCO -- On Sunday, tens of thousands ran, jogged, danced, sashayed and/or sauntered across San Francisco in the 113th Bay to Breakers footrace.

More than 21,000 people signed up for the 7.46 mile / 12 km, run through the city, starting at Howard Street and ending at Ocean Beach.

"This is the 113th year. We started in 1912. It's one of the oldest running races in the United States," said race director Kyle Meyers. "We do this out of the camaraderie -- just celebrating San Francisco. There's nothing better."

Bay to Breakers Runners on Howard Street
Thousands move along Howard Street at the start of the 2024 Bay to Breakers KPIX

While there are competitive runners who take part in the race, the majority show up in fun costumes and there are always some people who decide to run without wearing a costume -- or any clothing at all.

"It's a race for everyone," Meyers said. "You can be a fast elite runner, you can be a walker, you can bring your family. You can just be here for a good time."

Julia Vasquez Giguere, the women's champion, made her return to Bay to Breakers after a year off.

"I wasn't able to race last year. I was having my bridal shower this weekend last year. It's great to be back. I won it in 2022 so it's fun that I got to win again," she said. "A lot of these big races are tense and people are very serious so it's really fun to have fun -- everyone having fun out there. Also, the people on the sidelines -- really motivating. It's a really fun course."

Costumes at this year's run party included dinosaurs, unicorns, butterflies, roosters, cows and condiments; Dr. Seuss "Thing 1s, 2s, and 3s;" BART trains; Where's Waldos with red-and-white striped shirts and beanies; bunches of bananas and grapes, along with other fruit; plus chefs, including several Guy Fieris, who donned the restaurateur's flame shirt, visor, sunglasses and spiked hair look.

Many decided to wear their Bay to Breakers 2024 lavender, long-sleeve race shirts. A fair share of pastel and neon tutus were also in the mix, and, of course, it wouldn't be Bay to Breakers without some folks opting to walk or run the course in the nude.

Of the centipedes -- a 40-plus year Bay to Breakers tradition involving a team of 13 to 15 runners or walkers tied together with a bungee cord -- standouts included the Painted Ladies, San Francisco's iconic row of houses on Steiner Street, and park rangers. There was also a wayward sandworm or two from the sci-fi classic "Dune."

Another quintessential component of Bay to Breakers -- as it's part of the course -- is "Hayes Street Hill," a notoriously steep climb around mile 2.5. Some might describe it as brutal; others, like Bay to Breakers participant Chloe Morizono, perceived it as "fun."

"I think a lot of us picked up the pace on Hayes hill because, at first, you're kind of navigating through all the people who are just there to party. And then once you see that challenge, the race energy kicks into full force. We ran it as fast as we could, and then for the rest of it, it was all downhill," said Morizono, founder of the San Francisco-based run club Queer Run SF.

Once in Golden Gate Park, some Bay to Breakers participants were on the lookout for the famed bison on John F. Kennedy Drive ("Are they out?;" Do you see them?"); others considered their inside-the-park location as confirmation that they were closing in on the finish line ("Just a couple more miles to go!;" "I think we're almost done but I'm not 100% sure.")

Joyce Luna was in no rush to get to the finish; she was focused on having an enjoyable time at her first Bay to Breakers, walking at a pace that felt comfortable.

"I'll just find them at the end," she said of her 14 friends participating in the race, all of whom are avid walkers in Pinole.

After crossing the finish line, a sizable crowd stayed on the Great Highway, socializing, grabbing a beer and listening to live music. Some stopped by the "Awards" tent to see if they had earned an additional medal besides the finisher medal everyone received if they placed top-three in the nonbinary, women's or men's category or in their age group.

Definite award winners were those who nabbed first place overall at this year's Bay to Breakers.

In the nonbinary category, Cal Calamia won with a time of 44:26:27 (5:58 pace per mile); in the women's category, Julia Vasquez Giguere won with a time of 43:48:94 (5:53 pace per mile); and in the men's category, Colin Bennie won with a time of 37:01:59 (4:58 pace per mile).

Full Bay to Breakers 2024 results are available online.

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