Bay to Breakers 2012: Cross-City Race Is Best Event You Have Never Heard Of

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2012

Courtesy of adventure.howstuffworks.com
Courtesy of adventure.howstuffworks.com

The Zazzle Bay to Breakers cross-city footrace has taken place every year since 1912, but I bet most people have never heard of it.

The 7.46 mile race crosses San Francisco and features world-class runners, recreational joggers and costumed jesters who also happen to exercise. Overall, the race has over 1.75 million participants in its 100-year history.

If you enjoy tradition, costume parties and running for miles on end, you will enjoy the Zazzle Bay to Breakers.

Let's take a look at this race's finer points.


The Zazzle Bay to Breakers brings the entire city of San Francisco together. The race spans 17 neighborhoods and involves participants from all across the map.

Courtesy of craftysf.com
Courtesy of craftysf.com

The race is always held on the third Sunday in May. This bathes the contest in tradition because regular participants know when the race is coming.

A sense of community is important to a lot of people.

Cities the size of San Francisco do not have a lot of ways to bring a good portion of their population together. Races like this present a unique opportunity to city residents and any avid runners willing to traverse the seven-plus mile course.


The circumstances that gave birth to the Bay to Breakers race make it even more appealing from a human interest standpoint.

The race was organized to increase city morale following the San Francisco earthquake/fire disaster of 1906.

Originally known as the Cross-City Race, the contest was intended as a precursor to the world events in the 1915 Pan American Games.

The original running had 218 participants. In 1986, 110,000-plus runners ran—a Guinness Book record.

Courtesy of blog.sfgate.com
Courtesy of blog.sfgate.com

History is as much a part of sports as anything else. It's the reason we watch Kobe Bryant try and win another championship ring in the NBA and why Josh Hamilton's torrid start in the MLB is so significant.

Sports fans should take note of any event with the caliber of history and uniqueness the Bay to Breakers has.

Millions upon millions of runners have participated and hey, where else can you wear some of these costumes while exercising?


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.