Friday, May 21, 2010

Bay to Breakers Run 2010

San Francisco, May 16, 2010: Living in the Bay Area, I'd seen photos in the news about the Bay to Breakers race, but had never made an effort to drive up and see what was happening. I figured that it would be impossible to find parking near the start, at the Embarcadero and Howard Streets, so I chose to watch it from the final few miles in Golden Gate park. 

The recommendation from the website, was to take a 6:00 AM train from San Jose to the King Street Station in San Francisco, and then use Muni to get to the race. Well, at 7:00 AM, I was still in bed debating whether I should go. It became one of those, "what the heck, go for it anyway" moments when I left home at 8 something to drive up.

Easy traffic on the freeway and all the way down 19th Avenue towards Golden Gate Park. Being a Canadian, I parked a few blocks from the park and walked over (I've noticed that Americans have a tendency to circle around looking for the closest possible parking spot rather than parking easily a little further away and walking.) At the park, I realized I could have parked the car a block from the Japanese Tea Garden, which is like 2 blocks from where I was going. You see, everyone had made their way to downtown to start the race and nobody in the race had any reason to drive to the park.

I missed the elite and recreational runners, but I saw miles and miles of people in costumes. The San Francisco Chronicle reported some misbehavior along Fell Street which is adjacent to the park's panhandle, but I saw a friendly event with a little drinking and a few bigger than life characters. Here's the best of the 450 photos I took that day.

From the sidewalk in front of the de Young museum. That group with the banner was possibly the final group of actual runners going by.

In the photo on the right, that man in the middle appeared to have forgotten to put any clothes on that day. That flavor of forgetfulness turned out to be somewhat viral, if you know what I mean. 

Look, guys, there was only one Magic Johnson, and he's retired. The rest of us have simple, ordinary Johnsons, and I really don't need to see your Johnson flapping in the wind, if you catch my drift.

All Johnsons aside, it truly was a happy party with many different forms of expression.

Talent comes in so many different varieties that you always see something at these large gatherings that you wouldn't come across otherwise in real life.

This lady was completely comfortable on rollerskates. Only falling down after trying a difficult trick. From the pleasant look on her, it wasn't the first time she had fallen.

Some costumes were from fairy tales and popular culture. I'm not sure what the guy in the middle was supposed to be, a magic mirror? 

On the right at the top, this guy was calling out, "Mama, I want my mama!"

On the bottom right, "Man, I'm bummed, I don't have a costume for the big race."
"Dude, you gonna finish that watermelon?"

I think these were PacMan ghosts on the left, and a fine display of mammaries and daddaries on the top right.

There were a few groups of peacocks like on the bottom right. Maybe it was one big group that had separated en route.

A healthy snack and healthy people.

Below, you haven't lived till you've seen the Tin Man relieve himself in the emerald forest. Follow THAT yellow brick road.

I guess those girls were narwhals. Then we have some hot stuff with Patrick and Sponge Bob ready to clean up.

This young woman in gold was part of the group featured in the next section.

There were many home made floats. By far the group who was the most fun were the Solid Gold dancers. You remember the Solid Gold TV show with Marilyn McCoo, don't you?

Some costumes hearkened back to the Prehistoric Times, which, incidentally wasn't the world's first newspaper. Others were more topical.

There's a big scandal in San Francisco about missing drug evidence from the police crime lab. These guys had white powder all over their faces. The cooler reads, "Evidence: nothing to see here."

They were the funniest costumes that I saw.

Here comes a piece of coral and also from the tropics, limbo, limbo!

On the right, where do they store their cell phones when they're tired of holding them in their hands?

It wasn't exactly freezing, it was 55F (13C). That was warm enough to make me sweat a little in my fleece jacket, but a little cool to be showing off so much skin.

The guy in the top right was suffering unintentionally, the guy in the bottom right looks like he came to suffer.

Transparent paint suits? 

A badminton team with birdies on their backs.

Street curling: who'da thought you'd see that?

What if you went out to see a street sweeping and a curling game broke out? That's my take-off on an old joke, last night I went to see the fights and a hockey game broke out!

On the left: a reminder to check my printer toner when I get home.

On the right: when was the last time you saw a bus stop crowd like that?

There's some talk of discontinuing the race next year, but next year would be the 100th edition. The race was established in the early part of the last century as a way to lift spirits after the earthquake. I'm sure they'll be there next year, and next year, I'm parking at the park.

Afterwards, I went to the Crepevine on Irving at 7th for a late lunch before heading home.

Copyright © 2010 David G. Kelly

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