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Zazzle Bay To Breakers 2011: 100th Running Of Drunks, Elvis Impersonators, Naked People...And World-Class Runners

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This Sunday May 15, 2011, San Francisco will host the 100th running of its annual 12k Bay To Breakers Race. The race, sponsored by Zazzle is as representative of San Francisco as just about anything. While the race features some of the greatest runners in the world, this footrace is just as much about the spectacle surrounding it. The race will be filled with a mix of costumed and naked participants. It has become tradition that when the race starts, an Elvis impersonator takes the early lead for the first mile or so. Eventually Elvis is surpassed by the world-class runners, but for a few minutes, good humor reigns over the front runners of the race.

One new twist this year is that the race organizers have officially banned alcohol consumption during the race. In years past there have been threats of a dry race, but this is the first year organizers succumbed to the pressure to clean things up. It will still be a crazy event, but the booze will be less free-flowing. The race kicks off at 7am so I wouldn't be surprised if some folks just drank all night leading up to the race.

Even without nearly as much alcohol being consumed, the mix of costumes will remain one of the highlights of Bay to Breakers. Nearly every imaginable costume under the sun will pop up. If you can imagine it, chances are somebody will be dressed accordingly. My favorite tradition is the group of people dressed up as salmon who run the race starting at the finish line and ending at the starting line.

As has become tradition, there will be a costume contest at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park between 9:30 and 11:30am. When I've run the race in the past, I've usually seen at least five or ten costumes that could easily win this contest. We'll do what we can to provide some pictures of the better costumes on hand at the race.

Make sure and stick with SB Nation Bay Area through the week leading up to Sunday's 100th running of the Bay To Breakers 12K. We'll have details on the course, the events surrounding the race, and of course the results for the folks that are actually curious who will win in the madness.