Athletes and revelers alike are getting their running shoes and crazy costumes ready for this year’s annual Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco on Sunday.
The cross-city race that starts downtown and ends at Ocean Beach is now in its 107th year, according to event organizers.
About 40,000 people — many dressed in outrageous outfits or wearing barely anything at all — are expected to participate in the roughly 12-kilometer race, while about 150,000 spectators are expected to watch from the sidelines.
Starting at the corner of Howard and Main streets around 8 a.m., runners will traverse through the South of Market neighborhood to Hayes Valley and toward the Panhandle. After navigating through Golden Gate Park, the race will end at Ocean Beach with a Finish Line Festival where there will be food, beverages and live entertainment, organizers said.
According to Bay To Breakers general manager Chris Holmes, this year’s race will feature an extra racecourse for more seasoned runners, called the Breakers Bonus.
The 15-kilometer course will split from the regular course near Lincoln Way and the Great Highway, where instead of heading north toward the finish line, the Breakers Bonus runners will head south on the Great Highway
to Noriega Street, where they will then turn around and head back north on the Great Highway to the finish line.
Alcohol is prohibited from the event, as well as backpacks, bags and containers unless they are no larger than 8.5 by 11 by 4 inches, organizers said.
Participants can buy clear bags at the Orig3n Health and Wellness Expo at Pier 35 on Friday and Saturday, where they can also register to enter the race.
To facilitate the massive crowd coming into the city from all over the region, several transit agencies are offering extra service on Sunday.
San Francisco Municipal Railway officials suggest that Muni riders in the city heading to the starting line take the F-Market & Wharves line, and any Muni Metro line or bus route that goes along Market Street toward downtown.
Additionally, participants can take the 8-Bayshore, 10-Townsend, 12-Folsom/Pacific, 14-Mission, 14-Mission Rapid or the 25-Treasure Island bus lines to be dropped off near the start at Howard and Main streets.
Extra service will be provided on those lines in addition to several others. Some routes will have to be rerouted starting Saturday evening due to the event’s setup.
Participants coming from other parts of the Bay Area can take BART to the city’s downtown area. The agency is set to provide earlier Sunday service than usual, starting at 6 a.m.
All stations will be open with extra trains running at 20- to 30-minute intervals before 8 a.m. Riders heading to the race’s start line are advised to get off at the Montgomery or Embarcadero stations.
BART riders are also being asked to wear shoes and proper attire, “despite the ‘anything goes’ attitude of the famous race,” BART officials said.
For participants taking Caltrain, there will be four special northbound trains with limited stops heading toward the race. Three trains will leave from the downtown San Jose Diridon Station at 5:50 a.m., 6 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., all scheduled to arrive at the San Francisco Caltrain Station well before the race.
An additional train leaving from the Palo Alto station’s southbound platform at 6:10 a.m. will arrive at the San Francisco station at 7 a.m.
For runners coming from the North Bay, the Golden Gate Highway and Transportation District will offer early ferry service from the Larkspur terminal with ferries departing as early as 6 a.m.
Transit riders are encouraged to buy a Clipper card ahead of the race and to load it with enough money for a roundtrip fare.
From the San Francisco Caltrain station, people can either walk to the start line or take the Muni K-Ingleside/T-Third Street line.
For more information about the race, participants can visit www.baytobreakers.com.
-Daniel Montes, Bay City News