It’s 7:30 on Sunday morning and not even the church-goers are out. I’m biking down an empty Valencia Street wearing a swami, earth-toned robe and tattered garden Levis. I’ve got a packet of rainbow feathers in my back pocket and a blue bandanna beneath my helmet. By the time I get to Market Street, I start spotting Osama’s and Team Sixes, Angry Birds, grown men in onesies, and robots.  I’m late to a party.

Every May San Francisco hosts a race called Bay to Breakers and oh man is it a shit-show. It’s a West Coast Mardi Gras, a silly, indulgent parade of boozed-up nudists, sorority girls, man divas, and parents who still have it. Anyone who is anyone is there, and they could be drunk to the point of nausea.

There were rumors that the powers that be were sick of the circus and going to combat all the bare-assed debauchery with something called sobriety tents–a claim that proved to be a made-up PR fairy tale. There were house parties on every other stoop, public urination behind any available alcove, and Stormtroopers dancing on balconies.

Amidst all of the debate over whether or not the race is a cherished expression of SF weird or just another instance of Yay Area Residents’ refusal to mature, one thing is clear: this is not your father’s gentrified Boston Marathon. Although all be damned if, somewhere in that rabble and rubble, a Moroccan man and a Kenyan woman didn’t steal the cake with a 35 and 39 minute 12ks.

This SF Chronicle article has some choice quotes from the revelers:

-“The best costume I’ve seen is a shirtless pregnant woman with her bulge painted like Spiderman’s six-pack.”

-“‘This year is the best because they have all these laws but everyone’s been breaking the laws,’ Zakloswski said, before asking a reporter for Jello shots. (He had none.)”

-“[Sargent J. Daniels’] favorite costume was a group of people dressed as salmon who ran “upstream” along the racecourse against the flow of thousands of runners.”

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