101th Running of Bay to Breakers
By: Dan Rosenbaum
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The 101-year old Zazzle Bay to Breakers 12K is one of the world’s largest and oldest footraces, held annually in San Francisco. The name reflects the traditional course which takes tens of thousands of participants from the northeast end of the downtown area near The Embarcadero (the "bay" side of the city) to the west end of the city and the "breakers" of Ocean Beach. The 7.46 mile (12 kilometer) race features world-class athletes in addition to costumed runners and “fun-loving” folks out for a great day of running and walking through San Francisco.
Over the past century the iconic Zazzle Bay to Breakers race has evolved from a modest footrace to one of the largest and most unique running events in the world, setting records for the world's fastest 12K, the largest footrace and other milestones. On May 20, 2012 the quintessentially San Francisco race, Zazzle Bay to Breakers, will begin its 101st journey from San Francisco Bay to the breakers of the Pacific Ocean.
"Last year's centennial race was an incredible success with 55,000 registrants signing up to become part of history," said Angela Fang, general manager of the race. "As the race enters its second century, we are confident that this Bay Area icon will maintain its truly unique and exuberant spirit, uniting best-in-class athletes with vibrant fans, creating that electricity that can only come from a footrace in San Francisco."
Once known as the Cross City Race, Zazzle Bay to Breakers was first held on Jan. 1, 1912. While 186 runners kicked off the race at Embarcadero and Market streets, only 121 runners completed the race. Robert Jackson "Bobby" Vlught was the winner of the first race with a time of 44:10. Since then, Zazzle Bay to Breakers has grown to one of the largest footraces in the world with more than 50,000 participants and close to 100,000 spectators annually. Zazzle Bay to Breakers exemplifies the city's irrepressible color and its affection for eclectic traditions.
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