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Bay to Breakers jumps on wagon

By Joshua Sabatini
Examiner Staff Writer 2/12/09


Barrage of complaints: New rules are being imposed in response to requests to address the issue of alcohol on the racecourse, according to organizers of the Bay to Breakers. Examiner file photo
SAN FRANCISCO – The wild partying that has become synonymous with the annual ING Bay to Breakers will be toned down this year with a ban on pushing wheeled objects, nudity and drinking.

Last year, the San Francisco race — which attracts as many as 60,000 participants, who are a mix of serious athletes, novices and costumed partiers — drew the ire of residents along the 7.46-mile course. Although complaints about litter, drunkenness and public urination accompany the event, which is held the third Sunday of May and is a mix between a marathon and Madri Gras, last year’s race saw an explosion of complaints.

“Last year’s Bay to Breakers was one of the worst events I’ve ever experienced in the park,” said Ray Holland, president of the Planning Association for the Richmond district. “People were coming into our neighborhood and urinating on our front lawns and on our doorsteps. It was gross.”

In response to the complaints, race organizers on Wednesday unveiled new rules for the 98th annual event, including a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol, a ban on nudity, prohibition of wheeled objects and floats and a leave-no-footprint policy to crack down on littering.

Angela Fang, general manager of the race, said the new rules are in response “to the community and city leaders who increasingly have asked us to address the issue of alcohol on course.”

In the past, event organizers have attempted to curtail the booze-guzzling and other wild partying, but to no avail. Now, they promise there will be consequences.

For this year’s event, organizers are working with the Police Department to finalize specific enforcement plans, which may include public-intoxication checkpoints conducted in certain areas, according to Fang.

The event has also become a challenge when it comes to cleanup. About 35 tons of trash was collected after the event last year — everything from litter to abandoned floats, a boat and sofas on wheels.

“Last year was pretty bad,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, whose district includes a segment of the race course. “I hope that this works without subverting the fun.”

Fang promised the event will stay “focused on fun” and that people will still be encouraged to show up in costume.

“Don’t worry, you’ll still be allowed to dress up as Michael Phelps taking a bong hit,” said Nathan Ballard, spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom. “But you cant do a beer bong during the race.”

AEG, organizer of Bay to Breakers, shares the same owners as Clarity Media, which oversees The San Francisco Examiner.

Changes afoot for Bay to Breakers

A handful of changes will be made to this year’s ING Bay to Breakers and for future races, in response to complaints from the community and city leaders.

Floats

Change: All wheeled objects and floats will be prohibited
Effect: Runners and walkers should have a clearer path with the equipment off the course

Alcohol

Change: A zero-tolerance policy will be instituted
Effect: Anyone drinking alcohol or displaying public drunkenness will be subject to fines and prosecution

Cleanliness

Change: More trash receptacles will be placed along the course

Effect: Course could end up being cleaner after race if more participants use trash cans

Starting line

Change: Runners of different time groups will be grouped in corrals at the start line
Effect: The new system could keep runners who are serious about running the race more separated from others, or faster runners from slower ones

Source: ING Bay to Breakers

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Staff Writer Will Reisman contributed to this report.

21 Comments    



 

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POSTED Feb 11, 2009

Boycott the 2009 ING Bay to Breakers!: "If you feel as strongly as I do about this issue, please convince all those who also disapprove of these new policies to join this Group. If we can collectively show the Organizers, the City of San Francisco, and ING how they are ruining a great San Francisco tradition, perhaps we can have these new "policies" eradicated! Boycott the 2009 ING Bay to Breakers! Join our new group here! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=50765922327 YES WE CAN!!!"


POSTED Feb 11, 2009

Join us - Boycott the 2009 ING Bay to Breakers!: "If you feel as strongly as I do about this issue, please convince all those who also disapprove of these new policies to join this Group. If we can collectively show the Organizers, the City of San Francisco, and ING how they are ruining a great San Francisco tradition, perhaps we can have these new "policies" eradicated! Boycott the 2009 ING Bay to Breakers! Join our new group here! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=50765922327 YES WE CAN!!!"


POSTED Feb 11, 2009

Boycott the 2009 ING Bay to Breakers!: "Boycott the 2009 ING Bay to Breakers!"


POSTED Feb 11, 2009

Who iT iS: "the problem is.. if it were a bunch of naked fags it would be ok. since it is not this type of stuff is not allowed. and they wonder why they cannot generate rev for the city.. tree huggers"


POSTED Feb 11, 2009

Who iT iS: "the problem is.. if it were a bunch of naked fags it would be ok. since it is not this type of stuff is not allowed. and they wonder why they cannot generate rev for the city.. tree huggers"


POSTED Feb 12, 2009

Que?: "Wow, RUI (running under the influence) check points? Are they going to waste hundreds of police hours and dozens of officers, holding Breathalyzers? Thank you SF business community in killing another homegrown-all San Franciscan event!"


POSTED Feb 12, 2009

Rob Weaver: "Last year was a total disaster for anyone living close to the race course. Garbage, drunks, broken glass, public urination and worse! I am two blocks from the panhandle and was still picking up broken glass 2- 3 weeks later. I wouldn't use GG Park for a month or so because the fields along Kennedy were so full of broke bottles and garbage. For all of those people who want the race to continue as it is, come back to SF the next day and clean up after yourselves."


POSTED Feb 12, 2009

Kooskia: "I have watched the race for years, first from south of market where I lived, then from NOPA since 2000, where I now reside. The last two years were absolutely the worst in every dimension. Yes I finally complained and now I'm glad that at least officially, there is acknowledgement of the problem it has become. For everyone yowling about ING killing off a San Francisco tradition - do you really think that the run would have lasted 97 years with this much chaos? B2B needs a reboot."


POSTED Feb 12, 2009

Foovius Foo: "This is a shame. I've walked the race for the past 5 years with my wife and my young sons, and it's always been positive, fun and truly "not scary." Yes, there's nudity (but frankly not much) and drinking, but it's never been a problem. Drinking is a fact of life, and to see it in a nonthreatening, daylight context hasn't been a problem. As for litter and urination, if you've been in the race you'll know that there are few places to 'go' relative to the 100k people trying to use the facilities, and where there are trashcans the trash is overflowing with litter whether it's beer cans or cups of water. You just can't have 80k or 100k people walk through the city without getting this result. Instead of passing rules like this and spending money on enforcement, spend it on providing more restrooms, way more places to dump trash, and more people to help clean up afterwards."


POSTED Feb 12, 2009

HeyJoe: "BORING!! Who wants to participate in the B2B if all the fun is taken out of it? No booze? No nudity? Just another exciting (yawn) run."


POSTED Feb 12, 2009

: "Almost every post supporting the way B2B has become these last couple of years were participants. Moving on down the course and leaving trash (and worse) behind. Months later - "oh no it was never that bad!" I never knew that there was such a number of wholesome Pollyannas in the race. If only we could just take it back to the 2000 - 2005 level all this could be avoided. But of course that type of incremental correction is impossible if you've been drinking since 6:00 am."


POSTED Feb 12, 2009

Boycott B2B!: "Hell, I think after I finish with this post I'm going to boycott anyone that has anything to do with Bay to Breakers sponsorship. Starting with the Examiner."


POSTED Feb 12, 2009

Rod: "Drinking alcohol is NOT a tradition of the Bay To Breakers. Only in recent years have beer floats and drunks turned the Bay To Breakers into a rowdy frat party. In the 'good old days' it was runners, walkers, and centipedes, good clean fun. That's what it should be now."


POSTED Feb 13, 2009

Unhappy patron: "wow, I'm sad to hear the news that B2B has changed. What happen to freedom of expression? If only people knew how to have fun, not drink until oblivion, and not pee and disrespect other people's property.. the real race would still be on!"


POSTED Feb 13, 2009

EdwardSF: "Citizens for the Preservation of Bay2Breakers http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=74986731616 http://www.savebay2breakers.org http://www.twitter.com/saveb2b"


POSTED Feb 21, 2009

LaraB: "To make a statement, I propose that we do not attend the b2b, but instead congregate ELSEWHERE in SF. This will accomplish 2 things 1) Reduce the numbers on the b2b route. 2) Increase visability elsewhere, ie not on the b2b route. Perhaps the police will then realize that they can not be EVERYWHERE in SF, at the same time. It would be in their best interest to have us at the 2010 b2b, instead of us running havoc elsewhere. I know its a tough decision to not be at the b2b route, we might feel we're missing out. But look at the big picture (ie preserving b2b in the future) If we don't stand up and make a VERY loud statement / BOYCOTT this year, we may loose our battle. Who's for meeting at Dolores Park ? Who's for meeting at Chrissy Field ? Who's for meeting at Glen Park ?(not a bay or breaker to be found, the ultimate b2b boycott statement)"


POSTED Feb 21, 2009

: "If you're interested in congregating elsewhere in SF that day, please post your ideas on this site. And at as many other sites that you can think of. Numbers talk. We need to be seen & heard by the City of SF."


POSTED Feb 21, 2009

: "If you're interested in congregating elsewhere in SF that day, please post your ideas on this site. And at as many other sites that you can think of. Numbers talk. We need to be seen & heard by the City of SF."


POSTED Feb 21, 2009

LaraB: "Interested congregating elsewhere in SF the day of the race ? Please post your ideas here, and also at as many other sites that you possible can think of. Numbers talk. We need to be seen & heard by the City of SF. Boycott the 2009 b2b !! So we can preserve future B2b races. ~Thank you for your support ~ Lara"


POSTED Feb 21, 2009

LaraB: "Interested congregating elsewhere in SF the day of the race ? Please post your ideas here, and also at as many other sites that you possible can think of. Numbers talk. We need to be seen & heard by the City of SF. Boycott the 2009 b2b !! So we can preserve future B2b races. ~Thank you for your support ~ Lara"


POSTED Feb 21, 2009

LaraB: "So sorry the previous multi-posts. there was a glitch in the system, & it wasn't taking my password. sorry."



     

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