Bay to Breakers 2012: Changes the Race Must Make

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IMay 19, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 17:  Runners, some wearing costumes, take part in the ING Bay to Breakers race May 17, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  Now in its 98th year, the ING Bay to Breakers 12K is one of the world's largest and oldest footraces, featuring world-class athletes in addition to costumed runners.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 2012 Bay to Breakers race is set to be held in San Francisco, California and as great of an event as it is, there are many changes that need to be made in order to further enhance its standing with the general public.

Often times, there are certain rules that can be a turn off to people and deter them from participating in such an event as the Bay to Breakers.

Here are some changes that the organizers of the event could make to better what is already a great race.


Finish Line Closure

According to the race's website,, the finish line won't be open forever and in fact, runners could be cut even shorter than that.

The course will close at 11:30 a.m. at the intersection of JFK Drive and Chain of Lakes Drive in Golden Gate Park. Participants who have not passed the intersection of JFK and Chain of Lakes by 11:30a.m. will not have the opportunity to cross the finish line or collect a Finisher’s Medal. The finish line closes promptly at noon as stipulated by the race's road closure permit.

This is a major turn-off for the less athletic person and any potential participant with a handicap. Plain and simple, it takes some participants far longer than others to finish this race and shutting them down early is just downright mean.

I realize not everyone can win, but everyone should be able to at least finish his race considering all the preparation people put into getting ready to run it. Sometimes, too much competition can take the fun out of things and in this instance, that certainly applies.

People should have the full opportunity to finish, which is a goal by many that could be shattered if they don't get it done fast enough.


Medals for Finishers Only

Another rule that irks me is how only finishers get medals which is also according to the Bay to Breakers official website.

All registered finishers will receive a Finisher's Medal. Medals will be handed out near the Finish Line to registered participants who complete the race. Medals are not mailed to participants either before or after the race. You must have your race bib with you at the finish line in order to collect your medal.

I think all participants should receive some kind of medal, some for finishing and some for participation alone. Not everyone should automatically get the same medal, but at least get something.

It's bad enough the participants in this race could get shutdown before they finish, but it's even worse if they have absolutely nothing to show for it.


Floats Ban

Floats will be banned in this year's race.

Alcohol and floats are not allowed at the 101st running of the Zazzle Bay to Breakers. Neighborhood associations, city officials, police, and race organizers have determined alcohol and floats create a threat to public safety—alcohol laws will be enforced.

While I have no problem with the alcohol ban, the floats are an issue to me.

I think the Bay to Breakers race could be much more child friendly if they allowed floats throughout the course. This approach would not only broaden the amount of people who come to watch the race, but it also sets up a foundation for the future.

I'm not saying the runners should have to jog around them, but it wouldn't hurt to have the floats follow the runners so that the viewers of the start of the race have something to enjoy after the runners have passed.

At the end of the day, floats can achieve multiple things for this race and as long as they aren't in the way, I don't see any good reason to ban them.