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Bay to Breakers – Running for Fandom

In the city by the Bay this weekend, one of the strangest events in the world took place. Every third Sunday in May, San Francisco, California honors an annual tradition known simply as the “Bay to Breakers.” This race is the longest consecutively run footrace anywhere in the world.

The current version of the race is officially sponsored by Zappos (that phenomenal footwear company who gets you your perfect shoe within 1-2 days and is heralded for their customer service) and this year almost 40,000 people showed up in all kinds of Fandom-inspired attire to participate. That’s the official total. It’s likely that another 40,000 non-registered “runners” show up in the after hours, drinking and stumbling their way through the course.

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Superhero costumes are popular. I wore my Captain America shirt but I saw WAY more elaborate costumes, dedicated to Fandom and expressed through the sport of running/walking. The Power Ranger who was karate chopping his way through the other runners was hilarious.

Some people like the Muppets.

Muppets 100th baytobreakers

Some people like Gumby.

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And there are lots of Star Wars fans, of course.

breakers063_ward.jpg Storm troopers from the Star Wars movies were in attendance Sunday probably the best for rain, but the rain amounted to much. Tens of thousands took to the streets of San Francisco for the annual Bay to Breakers footrace. Brant Ward/The Chronicle} 5/21/06

The race is packed to the gills with people in all sorts of fan related costumes. Some people do simply wear running gear, but may have a Fandom theme. It’s like all the kids from Halloween night all grew up and decided to run a race early Sunday morning in the brisk San Francisco chill which quickly gives way to a more often than not, sunny May mid-morning.

The actual race itself is challenging, but not difficult. It’s a 12K race (7.46 miles) that starts near the Bay Bridge on the Embarcadero and takes you through the City up Hayes Hill and runs west through Golden Gate Park, finishing up on the Great Highway as the “breakers” or Pacific Ocean.

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The race was first run in 1912 as part of an effort to build morale after the infamous 1906 earthquake. It’s the longest continuously run foot race in history. From 1986 to 2010, it was the world’s largest foot race with 110,000 participants. Today it’s simply one of the most fun ways to enjoy a Sunday morning in San Francisco.

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