Bay to Breakers is a 12k run/walk that takes place every year. It goes from the east to the west side of SF. Some people actually run, but most just walk, and a lot dress up in costume. I wouldn't really call it a marathon of any sort since a good percentage of the participants are drunk. Also, at the beginning everybody throws tortillas, as you can see in the middle of the picture.
One of the beer floats. Supposedly the organizers were trying to limit/prohibit things like this (a couple of personal beers were fine, but nothing like kegs), but they sure didn't stop anybody at the beginning.
The same goes for the nudity (they said there were going to prohibit it, but didn't).
Oh, great, after walking for about 20 minutes, we finally reach the start.
Another naked guy. This one really stood out because he was so tall and wore a yellow beanie. Also, he liked to jump up and down a lot, which made him, uh, waggle.
One downside to all the tortillas was that they made the beginning of the race really slippery.
One of the better-looking groups that dressed up.
It was supposed to rain, but it didn't start until mid-afternoon, way after the race, and it was about 65, so this guy must have been pretty warm.
One of the few centipedes I saw. There was a costume contest, and the top 6 individuals won plane tickets from Southwest Airlines to places like Las Vegas, as did the top centipede. A centipede was a group of people all dressed alike and were tied together.
I hope that's not skin-irritating paint.
Another centipede of Pac-Man.
A wonderful spot. After walking up that big hill you see in the above picture, it's all downhill afterwards. There were lots of spectators along the sides, too.
And Elvis is a common theme in the race. This spectator dressed up (if you can call it that, since he has hardly any clothing on), and cheered on the runners and walkers by gyrating a lot.
I only saw a couple of young women naked. Mostly the jaybirds were young men and ...
... older people. Actually, amend that. There were no naked young women that I saw, only topless. Americans seem to call topless women naked for some reason.
This was actually pretty neat. These guys set up a pool with a sprinkler in it that the participants could run through.
There were also lots of bands along the side.
Near the end of the race, Dr. Pepper was giving out free cans of their new drink. At that point, I wouldn't have cared if it was goat urine; I was thirsty. A couple of walkers were selling pop to the other walkers, which I thought was pretty ingenious.
The buffalo in Golden Gate Park.
For some reason, all of the mile markers had naked people taking pictures by them. Old naked people.
This was my favorite group that I saw. Although I don't think they qualified as a centipede; they weren't tied together and they didn't all have antennae on (which was a greatly encouraged for centipedes).
Finally, the breakers. Nice and cool, too.
Hmm, ~7.5 miles in ~3 hours. I was planning on 15-minute miles, but all the other people and my costume slowed me down.
After the finish, you had to walk back up a ways to the concert area. They had these nice fans blowing mist. It was called the "mile of smiles" or something like that, but everybody was pretty annoyed that they had to walk back up a hill again.
The concert area.
My costume. Yes, it looks like crap. But I had only heard of the race a few days before it, so I didn't have much time to think something up. I was planning on being pretty much covered in balloons, but I never got a chance to try it on beforehand, so I didn't realize how many gaps there were. I basically put it together the morning of the race (starting at 4am). Also, walking and moving my arms moved all the ballons around and popped some. At least it was comfortable (my main goal was something light after the heavy Run to the Farside costume, especially considering this race was over twice as long).
I also learned how to make balloon animals the night before, so I took along a bag of about 200 balloons and made them for people along the way. Thankfully I had one of those little balloon pumps, because trying to blow up even one of these balloons is pretty hard. I tried to save them for kids, but I did give them to adults if they seemed interested. One unexpected benefit was that the non-blown-up ends of the balloons on my legs worked as "hooks" for balloons that I made. That way I could pre-make about 8 balloons and not get slowed down as much when a group of kids mobbed me.
And I learned from the Run to the Far Side that having extra supplies is good. Balloons, tape, streamers, and scissors.
Another group, dressed up as Mario (Kart).
These were one of the 6 individual winners. Behind them you can see the Muni buses that took people back to the start of the race (unless you wanted to walk the 8 miles back or had someone picking you up). Normally a Muni trip costs $1.50; they were selling tickets for the special price of only $7. And, of course, if you're a moron and somehow lose your tiny little sticker they give you, then you pay $14 to get back (hmm, I wonder who did that). Overall, the race was a really fun time.
A lady really wanted this parking spot.
... and the back. It was pretty entertaining watching her go back and forth about 50 times getting in there. Not to mention hitting the other cars every time she went the other way. She was actually pushing them each time.
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Coit tower. I can't think of any good way to get up here, though. You can either drive (which means, since it's only a 2-lane road, that you sit in traffic for who knows how long), take a Muni bus up (same problem), or walk (which I did, although it gets really steep at the end).
Carnival was on Sunday, May 28th. They blocked off a section of street to have venders and things and also had a parade. After getting off the BART train, this was the nearest exit up to the street. There are 4 turnstiles, but for some reason they only had 2 going out (they can change them to either let people in or out depending on traffic flow), and 1 of them was broken. So that means everybody on the BART train was trying to go out a single turnstile.
Aha! Farther away, though, was another exit, which nobody had to wait for because everybody was back at the other one.
I arrived pretty early, so I got a pretty good spot. It was right where the parade turned, and I was only behind 1 or 2 people. Considering at some places the crowd got to be 10-15 people deep, I wasn't moving once the parade got going.
This guy had a pretty good costume. There were also a lot of cops, although they weren't much of a distraction. The professional photographers actually got in the way more than the cops did.
And here's a guy in only briefs and streamers on rollerblades. The black lady in the costume was a lot of fun. She'd walk up to a section of the crowd, and if the people cheered, she'd dance a lot. If the crowd didn't cheer, though, she pouted and walked away. Pretty funny. After standing there for 3 hours, I left, even though the parade was still going. I was fairly toasted from the sun, and people were so crowded in that my arms got tired from being held at weird angles.
So, if my taxes going to paying these people to clean the streets, I'm basically their employer, and I should be able to yell at them for just dragging their brooms behind them and chatting the whole time, right?
Hmm, shall I buy 38 or 34 garbage bags for the same price of $5.99? Some decisions in life are so hard.