This year is the 100th annual Bay to Breakers run in San Francisco, the oldest consecutively run footrace in the world today.
Founded five years after the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the race is named for the fact that the course runs from the Embarcadero, on the bay side of the city, to a bar called “Breakers” about two blocks away.
Along with live bands and a generally festive atmosphere there is a bit of drinking along the 12K course, but Bay to Breakers is best known for the costumes and unusual behavior of the tens of thousands of participants. There are the “centipedes,” groups of runners tethered together for the entire course; people running in nighties, a combination of diapers and Revolutionary War uniforms, or simply naked; people running in suits and people dressed as Smurfs; pink gorillas and mastodons; people running dressed as vaginas; and on and on.
One of the most creative groups is the Salmon, an assembly of (in their own words) “fools who run the Breakers-to-Bay race each year, in our annual pilgrimage to spawn! Coincidentally, a bunch of humans run the Bay-to-Breakers race on the same day along the same route, but sadly they run it backwards. You can’t spawn downstream kids, only upstream—get with the program!”
But as Glenn Beck has warned so often, today Bay to Breakers is under threat, just like everything else we cherish about America, including our Christian valuables. Upset by the public nudity, drinking, and vomiting, some have argued the race should be ended. Others, who cherish public nudity, drinking, and vomiting, are fighting to preserve Bay to Breakers as is. (As a lover of tradition, my guess is Glenn Beck is on the side of the others.)
San Francisco simply can’t afford to lose Bay to Breakers. We have always been that wacky city on the Left Coast—the city of beatniks, hippies, and of course, the world’s gay Mecca. But in February Advocate.com released its much-anticipated “Gayest Cities in America” list, and San Francisco did not even make the top 10! To add to our shame, this was widely reported on such venerable news outlets as the Daily Show. How embarrassing.
San Francisco needs to get its mojo back. When I am mayor—and there is no question that I am going to be the mayor of San Francisco, people, so quit asking me if I am serious—my first act, after taking off all my clothes, will be to proclaim Bay to Breakers an official San Francisco event, with all the pomp and ceremony due such an occasion. The pink gorilla can snip the official ribbon and I can get my picture taken with the vaginas, because I need their votes. Maybe I’ll invite Glenn Beck to come give a speech at the start of the race. What the hell, Glenn, we’re not even that gay a city anymore—nothing to be afraid of here! It’ll do you good; maybe loosen you up a little. No Glenn—don’t take off your—Glenn, stop!