Kenya's Isaac Mukundi, 28, was the first runner to cross the finish line during the annual Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco on Sunday. (Natasha Dangond/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Bay to Breakers revelry puts neighbors on edge

The race started in a flurry of tortillas, which were thrown into the air by early-bird runners like floppy graduation caps at Howard and Main streets.

Bay to Breakers, a San Francisco race running annually since 1912, ended as ridiculously as it began: A purple gorilla, bunches of bananas and costumed goofballs aplenty crossed the finish line at Ocean Beach Sunday morning.

The finish line of Bay to Breakers was officially closed at 1 p.m., and was knocked down by 3 p.m.

In first place in the men’s division was a Texan, Isaac Mukundi, 28, at 35 minutes and 23 seconds. Caroline Chpkoech, 21, registering as from Boulder, Colo., was first place for women’s overall awards at 40 minutes and 36 seconds.

One man registered from San Francisco, Daniel Mesfun, 28, finished in fifth place at 35 minutes and 33 seconds.

But the race is also known as a primo party to many locals, and affected far more people than just the 40,000 racers. The 7-mile stretch of an estimated 200,000 total participants had neighbors on edge across The City.

Few know this as keenly as the neighbors of Fell and Stanyan, a main juncture by the Panhandle leading into Golden Gate Park. There, a man clad as Gandalf the Grey shook his wizard’s staff at passersby, and a man clad as a nun high-fived someone costumed as a ninja turtle holding a beer.

Linda VanLieu, 70, stood vigilant in her Fell Street doorway, watching them all.

In recent years, she said, “they broke in here, and peed all over the foyer, and snorted coke,” she said. The more than 40-year San Franciscan said things got a bit better when barriers were erected along Fell.

Despite concerns of neighbors, many revelers had a grand time. Jason Ablesohn,who said he was a tech worker, said his reason for journeying to San Francisco from Oregon was the same as his reason for going to Bay to Breakers: It’s all about self expression.

Clad in robes and a fake brown beard, a costumed Jesus, Ablesohn rode atop a two-foot long cardboard Google Bus caravan carried on the shoulders of six people.

He said, Bay to Breakers, and San Francisco, is “about being who you want to be and who you are, for one day.”

VanLieu’s neighbor, Dawn Mabalon, 43, said that’s what Bay to Breakers used to feel like to her. “I feel it used to be more of a community thing,” she said, and musicians used to perform on the street by her home during past Bay to Breaker races.

Transit was also delayed throughout The City, Sunday morning and into the early afternoon.

Debra Forth, a guide at San Francisco Fire Engine Tours who rides the N-Judah train and 28-19th Avenue to get to work.

“Four Ns and I can’t get a ride!?!?! Not all of us run @Baytobreakers I have got to #GetToWork,” she tweeted to SFMTA’ Twitter handle, and added that her 28 bus was late. “I appreciate Muni until a day like today when I see poor practices,” Forth told the Examiner, afterward.

SFMTA’s Twitter handle replied the 28-19th Avenue buses were likely bunched due to traffic. That slow-moving traffic rippled all down Park Presidio, which intersects the Bay to Breakers route.

According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, as many as 30 Muni lines were rerouted, including the F, N, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 14R, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 38, 43, 44, 45, 47, 49, as well as light rail vehicles on the K, M, N and T lines, through the areas of Downtown, Civic Center, Hayes Valley, Panhandle, and Golden Gate Park.

At about 3 p.m., Muni routes were taken off their detours, and San Francisco’s transit riders regained some semblance of normalcy.

A San Francisco Police Department spokesperson told the Examiner there were no major incidents during the race, though the final tally of incidents wouldn’t be available until at least Monday.

Runners and participants make their way through the finish line during the annual Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, May 15, 2016. (Natasha Da

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Runners and participants make their way through the finish line during the annual Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco, Calif. Sunday, May 15, 2016. (Natasha Dangond/Special to S.F. Examiner)

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