When Shannon Osaki and her friends participated in the Zazzle Bay to Breakers for the first time last year, they did not wear costumes. This year, they realized they needed to step up their game.
The group spent the past few months creating “wind dancers,” the blowup ornaments that are often found outside auto dealerships, complete with 3-foot-tall hats made of felt and small pieces of fabric cut loose to flutter in the wind.
They fielded many requests for pictures, but instead of standing still they waved in the wind much like their inspirations would.
Osaki, 24, said the race tradition was right up their alley since they truly enjoy making costumes
“It’s better than Christmas,” she said, “or Halloween.”
The five wind dancers were among more than 50,000 participants who decked out for the 12-kilometer
(7.46-mile) run from the Bay to Ocean Beach.
Elite runners Sammy Kitwara of Kenya and Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia snagged first-place finishes in the men’s and women’s fields, respectively, and they were followed by the masses of revelers wearing everything from neon tutus to “Angry Birds” costumes to fairy tale characters, such as 27-year-old Donald Moore and his Snow White dress.
Moore said he traveled from the Sacramento area with 12 friends, but by the time he reached the Panhandle he had lost them all. The separation, though, didn’t bother him. While searching the crowd on roller blades, he played hockey with other participants.
“This is my first time,” he said. “I had to make an appearance and see what it is all about.”
Many participants, such as Julia Carter, said they come because the race is one of a kind.
“Where else can you see a [naked person] with so many piercings standing next to a grandma and grandpa?” said the 30-year-old, who wore a bright-red cape and green tank top with bright silver shorts. “It’s awesome.”
The majority of the crowd followed the rules, race volunteers along the route said. Just in case, though, checkpoints were set up to confiscate alcohol. At Baker Street and Fell Street, police and security looked to take any open containers and steer those without race bibs off the course.
Police had reported 19 arrests as of Sunday evening.