After years of threats, the organizers of the 2011 Zazzle Bay To Breakers 12K have finally brought down the hammer and banned alcohol from this year's race. In years past the organizers threatened a ban, but there was enough push-back from participants that organizers backed down in the months leading up to the race. Apparently the loss of ING as the title sponsor was enough to convince them to stick to their guns.
ING dropped out after last year's race and one speculated reason was the over-consumption of alcohol. Reports had up to thirty participants taken to the hospital with some kind of alcohol-related issue. This year the race organizers have implemented what they call a zero-tolerance alcohol policy. In the past, folks have had everything from basic flasks to whole floats dedicated to the art of the tiki bar. This year's policy also includes a ban on floats. The discarded floats left a problem for clean-up but I'd imagine this has as much to do with the fact that the floats made it a lot easier to transport kegs and other forms of alcohol through the race.
The police have decided to set up sobriety tents along the route to deal with intoxicated runners. The police recognize the difficulty of trying to arrest what would likely be thousands of drunken folks. This would allow them to sober up people and then send them on their way.
It will be interesting to see how this all works out. Many racers that enjoy the alcohol-related festivities don't seem to really care about the new rules:
"I'm definitely not happy about the new regulations, but I'm not really phased by it. We're just going to do whatever we do anyway," [seven-time race participant Mariza Snyder] said.
I've run Bay to Breakers and I've pushed a shopping cart with a keg through the race route. People will find a way to drink even if they can't get away with pushing kegs in a float or in a shopping cart. People are innovative and I'd imagine they'll find a way to get their alcohol. I'm curious to see how brazen people get with their alcohol given these new rules and how aggressive the police are when it comes to the more open and brazen race participants.