Whether you're a serious runner or someone who just wants to have a good time, a little planning will go a long way toward a successful Bay to Breakers experience. Many participants have found themselves late for the race, sick or stuck at the finish line with no ride home due to a lack of preparation. If you know what to expect, you're almost guaranteed to enjoy yourself.
The first thing you need to do is register. Registration can be completed online, and you can choose either to have the packet mailed to you or to pick it up at a predetermined San Francisco location. Deadlines vary depending on delivery method, so be sure to check the Web site at least a month ahead of time. The registration packet will contain your runner bib and timing chip.
Next, you need to plan how to get to the race. Organizers recommend taking public transportation from your hotel, though a limited amount of parking is available. If you do drive, keep in mind that the finish line is 12 kilometers from the start, so you need to decide how you'll get back to your car. Shuttles are available for a fee.
Once you make it to the race, you'll need to find your "starting corral." These are assigned based on the time a participant expects to finish a race. The longer you expect to take, the later your running corral will start. This policy is intended to ensure a less congested start, especially for the elite runners. You should meet with your starting corral no later than 45 minutes before the race begins.
When race time finally comes, make sure you aren't dressed too warmly. Even though the morning may be cool, you'll quickly begin shedding clothes as you begin moving. As any runner knows, you should also pace yourself; this goes for drinking, too. Twelve kilometers is a long way, especially when you've had a few. Finally, expect to see some nudity. If an occasional streaker bothers you, perhaps you should find another race in which to participate.
If you're still conscious after the race, be sure to pick up your T-shirt at the finish line. Later, you can retrieve your official results, race photos and race certificates from the Bay to Breakers Web site. If nothing else, be sure to enjoy yourself; that's what the Bay to Breakers is really all about.