Bay to Breakers race plans to ease party atmosphere

Organizers of the 100th Bay to Breakers are requiring participants to pay to play.

Not only are alcohol and floats banned from the May race, but police and private security will escort people from the official route if they don’t have a number pasted to their bare chest, Smurf hat or banana costume.

Also, the number of people allowed to register for the 12K event will be capped, probably at about 50,000, said a spokesman for Anschutz Entertainment Group, which organizes the race.

The policy was finalized Thursday after meetings with the Mayor’s Office, neighborhood groups and police, race spokesman Sam Singer said. Police and private security will monitor the crowds and mobile jail units will be planted along the route.

Police will be able to enforce the registry rule because the sponsor of Bay to Breakers is essentially “paying to use the streets” by providing security and portable toilets, and diverting traffic, Singer said. The race has yet to find a sponsor after ING pulled out after five years.

The plan met opposition from Citizens for the Preservation of Bay2Breakers, a group formed in 2009 to fight restrictions on alcohol. Conor Johnston, co-chair of the group, said the rules infringe on what makes the race special.

“There’s this general approach from discouraging anyone who’s not a general 12K runner from being there,” he said. “That’s certainly not what has made it such an institution.”

In a statement, Bay to Breakers General Manager Angela Fang called the measures “imperative to the preservation of the event.” While costumes and nudity appear to be allowed, the focus seems to be on turning the event into a competitive footrace rather than a party.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

AEG, the organizer of Bay to Breakers, shares the same owners as Clarity Media LLC, the parent company of The San Francisco Examiner.

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