El Cerrito man dies at Bay to Breakers finish line

A man collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack at the finish line of the Bay to Breakers race Sunday after finishing the race in just more than an hour.

A witness said Joe Spinale, 53, of El Cerrito, appeared to be struggling for balance before he crossed the finish line on Great Highway. “About 3 feet after the finish line, he keeled over. It was almost like he had his heart attack before the finish line and tried to make it,” the spectator said.

Spinale crossed the finish line between 8:50 and 9 a.m., according to witnesses. The 12-kilometer race started at 8 a.m.

Race organizers declined to comment on the death “out of respect for the family,” spokeswoman Denise Lamott said.

The death is the first in the Bay to Breakers race since 2003, when Nicholas Ng, a 28-year-old engineer from Mountain View, collapsed from dehydration in Golden Gate Park. In 2004, a runner collapsed from an apparent heart attack near Shrader and Cole streets, but was revived by an off-duty paramedic.

Spinale was the fifth Bay to Breakers runner to die since 1995. He has been listed as a participant in many races over the last few years, including annual 10- and 5-kilometer races in San Francisco and around the Bay Area.

amartin@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

District Attorney Chesa Boudin announces charges against former SFPD Officer Christopher Samoyoa in the 2017 fatal shooting of Keita O’Neill at a press conference outside the Hall of Justice on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
DA Boudin charges fired SFPD officer with manslaughter over fatal shooting

Ex-Officer Christopher Samayoa to face criminal charges in death of Keita O’Neil

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, during a news conference on March 10, 2020. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
LA County suspends outdoor dining at restaurants as coronavirus surges

By Alex Wigglesworth Los Angeles Times Los Angeles County public health officials… Continue reading

Renderings of the main entrance to upcoming Mission Bay elementary school on Owens Street. (Courtesy photo)
SFUSD offers first look at planned Mission Bay elementary school

San Francisco school officials this month unveiled the design of a planned… Continue reading

James Coleman (Courtesy Morgan McCarthy)
Young progressive set to shake up South City

The 21-year-old is the newest Councilmember for District 4

Arturo Mendez, co-curator of the Mission Arts Performance Project, invites artists of all types to participate in the free-wheeling community program. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Mission Arts Performance Project could be poised for a comeback

Before the pandemic, the Mission Arts Performance Project, the roving multimedia art… Continue reading

Most Read