Race organizers of the Bay to Breakers 12k in San Francisco have officially confirmed that the gun will go off for the 100th anniversary of one of the world’s largest and oldest races on May 15, 2011, but there will be no champagne toasts as alcohol has been banned from the notoriously exuberant event. After ING took its name off of the Bay to Breakers event after the 2010 race and over 30 alcohol-related hospitalizations were cited, the San Fran footrace has challenged the field to sober up for 2011.
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In an effort to make the Bay to Breakers 12k a safer and friendlier event for the neighborhoods of San Francisco, race officials have banned all alcohol, alcohol consumption and floats (which typically serve as mediums for harboring kegs and drink containers). Costumes, nakedness and parades all define the spirit of the Bay to Breakers race each year and will still help ring in the 100th anniversary, but in 2011 all violators of the new alcohol ban will be arrested, cited and fined.
With over 20,000 registered runners actually finishing the race and another 70,000 in attendance, it’s easy to see how public drunkenness can cause problems. One of the largest crowds in history is expected for the 100th running of the Bay to Breakers 12k.
Organizers of the Bay to Breakers 12k stand by the statement that ING’s withdrawal as race sponsor did not provoke the new ban, but the new ban will certainly help in finding a new race sponsor. Entertainment giant AEG has put their name in the race to become the next official Bay to Breakers 12k host.
The ING Bay to Breakers 12k takes both elite and recreational runners on a hilly 7.46 mile course from the northeast end of the downtown area near The Embarcadero to the west end of the city and the “breakers” of Ocean Beach, all while touching 17 San Francisco neighborhoods.
In the elite race at the 2010 Bay to Breakers 12k, course record holder (33:31) Sammy Kitwara crossed the finish line first for the second straight year with his 34:15 result. Kenyan Lineth Chepkurui bested the elite women’s field by setting a Bay to Breakers 12k course and world best record in 38:07.