Navy man to run Bay to Breakers in Afghanistan

A Bay Area Navy man was not about to let his deployment in war-torn northern Afghanistan stop him from getting in on the fun of Sunday’s famed Bay to Breakers race.

U.S. Navy Lt. Francis Montojo is putting on his own version of the festive footrace.

The annual ING Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco, an event that has been described as cross between a footrace and Mardi Gras, draws serious athletes as well as the novices, many who run or walk the 7.5-mile route dressed in costume.

Bay to Breakers organizers were contacted by military personnel to sponsor a race for a group of soldiers in Afghanistan because of Montojo’s connection with the race. It’s part of an ongoing effort by the military to connect the soldiers to their hometown.

Race organizers shipped out the famous Bay to Breakers T-shirts to the soldiers in time for them to wear on race day.

“I haven’t participated in the Bay to Breakers myself, but my parents ran it three years in a row in the early ’90s,” Montojo wrote in an e-mail.

“I remember watching footage of the race and festivities, and am looking forward to ‘participating’ in my first one,” he wrote.

Montojo lived with his family both in Fairfield and Pittsburg before shipping off with the U.S. Navy.

The overseas version of Bay to Breakers will start “a few hours” before San Francisco’s, when it is the late afternoon in Afghanistan and the temperature is cooler. The soldiers won’t be wearing costumes but Montojo said he will still feel like a part of the event.

“It’ll be neat running at similar times across the world,” Montojo said, although the temperature is expected to be as high as 100 degrees on Sunday.

“Thank goodness for our volunteers to cheer us on and provide drinks at various stages,” he said.

As the annual race in San Francisco approaches, the excitement and anticipation has reached all the way to Afghanistan.

“It’s really nice to be able to have a piece of home out here to share with each other,” Montojo said.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay to Breakers

The San Francisco race is now in its 97th year.

When: Sunday

Start time: 8 a.m.

Start: Howard and Main

Finish Line: Great Highway

Highest point: 215 feet above sea level at 2.5-mile mark

End time: Noon

History: Race began in 1912

2007 winners: John Korir of Kenya in 34:44; Edna Kiplagat of Kenya in 38:55

www.ingbaytobreakers.com

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