On Participating in San Francisco’s Iconic Bay to Breakers Race


Sooo….I’m out of shape. Not horribly out of shape…but…you know, out of shape. I’m actually quite active and enjoy going to the gym, Zumba classes, walks by the beach, hiking on the weekends, and all other manner of relatively active things one might expect of somebody who lives in Southern California. But…I’m still out of shape. So, when I suggested to my husband that we sign up for San Francisco’s iconic Bay to Breakers 12K (a little over 7 miles) across the city, he was skeptical. I convinced him with tales of an exciting adventure in one of our state’s best cities as well as the promise of a unique experience, but he was still skeptical.

The thing about San Francisco is that it’s hilly. Really hilly. It’s actually notorious for how hilly it is, so although everybody would be dressed in silly costumes and crossing the city in a mass party-like atmosphere, it still wasn’t going to be easy.

As usual, I wasn’t as diligent about preparing for this event with daily runs as I should have been. Story of my life. But I did work out a few times a week, and we did order some sweet tutus to wear during the race, because one must wear something silly when running Bay to Breakers.

So…how did it go?

I had an amazing time!

So, after flying in to the city on Saturday morning, checking into our very bare-bones hotel, and getting a little rest, we woke up Sunday morning ready to take on the race. We slipped into our bright teal-colored tutus and took a Lyft to the start line area.

When you sign up for Bay to Breakers, you indicate how slow or fast you generally run, and as such, you’re assigned a corral. Since we had indicated that we would be walking, we were assigned to corral G. I suppose I should have read the fine print because even though the race was to start at 8am, our corral didn’t start until after 9am. Oops. At least we had the famous tortilla throw to keep us occupied.

After throwing tortillas around with reckless abandon for an hour, it was time to start the race. As we neared the start with all the other costume-clad individuals around us, there was a festive atmosphere in the air. There were also a lot of naked guys. Something to be prepared for when you do this race. I don’t know how they did it though, because it was NOT a warm day.

The thing about Bay to Breakers is that it’s more like a moving street party than a road race. It was only 12K, but I must have stopped to pee in the porta-potties at least three times (not recommended closer to the beginning of the race, by the way…**shudder**).

All along the course, people were singing and dancing and doing all sorts of silly things. At one point, we came across a giant dance party hovering around six guys carrying a papier-mâche iceberg and a bunch of speakers, blasting hits from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and today.

I’d say the best part of the race was the giant street party in literally every house lining the Hayes street hill. The temptation to stop progressing and just stay there and party was strong, but we somehow managed, and we were rewarded with a wonderful view at the top of that hill!

When we got to Golden Gate Park, that’s when it started to feel more like a slog. The houses were gone, so there were no more wild and crazy house parties, but of course at this point we were in the home stretch so of course we had to finish. I will say that Golden Gate Park is HUGE. But…when you round that corner at mile 7, it feels pretty good to know you’re almost finished. When we caught our first glimpse of the beach and then the finish line, it felt amazing.

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I’m tired, hahahaha

A post shared by Heather Hopkins 🎨✈️🍕🌮 (@arttraveleatrepeat) on

….and then there was the $40 Lyft back to our hotel near the start line. Ouch.

Bay to Breakers: accomplished. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Did my feet hurt after that? Oh, you bet they did.

Have you ever done Bay to Breakers? Would you want to? I’d love to hear all about it. Leave me a comment and let’s chat about it!


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