Saturday, May 22, 2010

99 years of invincible spirit

This appeared in The SA Times today.

If there's one thing that's hard to digest at 8am on a Sunday besides Cheese Danish, it's varying degrees of nudity. But one doesn't have a choice if one wants to be a part of this 99 year old tradition in San Francisco. Bay to Breakers baby! It's an annual footrace that happens on the third Sunday of May, is about 7.5 miles and started as a way to lift the city's spirits after the disastrous 1906 San Francisco earthquake, it is the longest consecutively run footrace in the world. Oh and you wanna know how many people run it every year? Just about 60-80,000!

The funnest part is, runners and walkers dress up in elaborate costumes. It's like Halloween on steroids. Boys being bacon, women with massive amount of fruit on their hats, people being everything from animals to birds to fantasy characters to eatables to technology pieces like telephone and keyboards. And you can never be creative enough for it. I saw this couple dressed as x-box, this man dressed as a driver's license and this woman dressed as a pink slip! Yeah it gets quite innovative. Then there are those who wear nothing at all except footwear although it ain't legal… and not just those with embarrassing bodies but beautiful people. It's bound to give the uninitiated quite a jhatka. It's also the only event where participants can walk with beer cans and throw tortillas on one another to pass timed.

It was my 2nd year attending the race past Sunday. The narrow lanes of this beautiful fog lined city with an otherwise spectacular view was filled with heads as far as one could see. It seemed like everyone had come out of their dwellings, either to partake or to cheer. And within 2 hours, soon as the race was over, the streets were sweeped, opened and life was back to normal. Quite an amazing experience.

Think you missed out? Be sure to be in the city next year.

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