1996 San Francisco Bay to Breakers (page 3)
Acres of water are fed to the runners along the race route. Little bottles, thousands of crates of them, are delivered to each of the fixed stations very early in the morning. This is what the finish line station looks like: open crates at the ready, several layers of crates under the lab tables, and a mountain of crates in reserve (but alas, not visible in this photo). Please note that there are two parallel rows of tables, and they're long tables. Lots of water. There were lots of people wearing geographic costumes, like bullfighters and gendarmes, but my favorite was this person, wearing a "Boston to B2B" sign and a Old North Church hat. The hat appeared to be quite heavy, and I really couldn't envy the end-of-day feeling, after several thousand steps with such a chapeau. Ouch. Seeing the historic landmark brought up thoughts of my adventures in Boston.
One of the best-known features of the Bay to Breakers is the nude contingent. Each year we get a crowd of runners who appear au natural. Some are fit, some were fit, and some were never in the same neighborhood as fit. They all face the same hurdles: where to keep the subway pass and where to pin the runners number. In San Francisco, with piercing such a popular pastime, the latter is much easier to solve than the former (especially since purists eschew fanny-packs as clothing). This year the Placer County SAR (Search and Rescue) team participated, running in full gear (including helmets and lamps) and carrying an evacuation litter. A teddy bear served as patient. That's a hot run, not for the faint of heart.
Here's a photo of two of the water-bearers, volunteers who hand out the thousands and thousands of bottles of water donated by one of the race sponsors (for promotional consideration). Here they're answering the most popular post-race question: "where are the tee-shirts"? The stock answer: "follow the rest of the crowd for the ten minute walk into the polo fields".
Runners are fun conversationalists, and their costumes are the perfect entre into a discussion. Everyone loves posing and talking about their costume, how they chose it, how they made it, and whether they saw anyone with a similar rig. Here two football players ran as cheerleaders. With them, but not in this picture, were a cadre of cheerleaders, dressed in football players, complete with smears of dark goo under each eye. A rowdy bunch, these, hooping and hollaring the entire length of the finish line. At least one or two of them were hoarse by the time I spoke with them.
Here a couple of well-coifed gentlement ran in their girlfriends' clothes. They were waiting for their dates at the finish line, trying to gather their breath while perched on the berm that usually divides the northbound and southbound automobile traffice. Running in unfamiliar clothes can't be the easiest way to go. You know, now that I'm thinking about it, I can't remember ever seeing anyone running in high heels. That would really be a bit of wear and tear on the feet.
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