The Bay to Breakers is far from the most serious race on the running circuit. You're far more likely to see someone galloping while dressed as a Game of Thrones character than putting in his or her best running effort. It's what makes the event perhaps the most eclectic race in the United States.
That said, Sunday's race was not without impressive athletic achievement.
Isaac Mukandi Mwangi and Jane Kibii put their speed on display, winning the men's and women's divisions, respectively, at the 2015 Bay to Breakers. Mwangi finished in a time of 35 minutes and 25 seconds, a little less than two minutes slower than the record time. Kibii was also about two minutes off the women's record with her time of 40 minutes and four seconds.
Held every year in San Francisco, the Bay to Breakers is the "oldest consecutively run annual footrace in the world," according to its official website. Originated in 1912, the race is run on the third Sunday of May and is defined by its unique atmosphere.
Participants are far more likely to be in costumes and groups than running toward the front of the pack. Costumes range from general Halloween attire to intricate homages to cultural touchstones to, oftentimes, varying states of undress. Police and the Bay to Breakers organizers encourage a loose attitude within reason.
The San Francisco Police Department, responding to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, placed an increased crackdown on alcohol consumption and heightened security measures.
"The Boston bombing did have an impact on not just this race but any event that we have,” spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said, per David Stevenson of KTVU.com. “Which is why the police department's message is that 'If you see something, say something.' If you see anything that's out of the ordinary, if you see anything that's suspicious, call 911, or notify a police officer."
The increased security measures helped foster a safe atmosphere that undoubtedly allowed participants to have fun without worry. There were also quite a few serious participants in the event as well, all of whom fell behind Mwangi and Kibii.
"We have over 40 elite athletes that are coming out this year from all over the globe, competing for a prize purse for over $70,000," Bay to Breakers spokesperson Chris Holmes said, per Cornell Barnard of ABC7News.com. "We have some hardcore runners from the elite level, but then also weekend warriors that are out here to set a personal record."
The good thing for Mwangi and Kibii—beyond the whole being thousands of dollars richer thing—is that they not only get to compete but also watch the remainder of the day. Here is a look at some of the best costumes the two winners will get to see crossing the finish line at some point:
Overall, the race remains a success for all involved. Those wanting to dress up and have a ball were rewarded with a beautiful day outside for a morning walk. Those wanting to compete got to run at near-record paces.
The Bay to Breakers may not be a traditional race under any circumstances. That said, it's certainly an entertaining one.