Bay to Breakers race, San Francisco

18 May 2014

Overcast skies and a cold wind threatened the race this year, and a hooligan interference by skateboarders downtown delayed the run for about half an hour. But then the masses did come, something like half a hundred thousand, with all the costumes as seen in the past. And another hour later the sun shone and lighter moods prevailed. Not a lot of nudity, but a couple of dozen plus could still be recorded, mainly males, and a few couples also showed up.

The cold wind surely discouraged some folks, but there is always a core that shows up regardless of weather conditions. I have one year even photographed the whole race in driving rain, and I was drenched to the skin, but the race participants were there, and I consequently had to take the pictures.

Police was evident at most intersections, but they didn’t interfere much, only if some persons got very drunk and misbehaved. I faithfully recorded what I could, for four hours, and was then too tired to continue. Even then more masses were coming, probably enough for yet another hour of shouting, drinking, running and carousing. Most runners were smiling and laughing, obviously having a good time.

For a few elite runners it was truly about winning the race, as the prize money is large, but others just wanted to prove to themselves that they could cover the distance in a respectably short time. All the rest just wanted to have fun, fun and more fun, whether clothed or nude.

Leif Heilberg

All photographs taken by Leif Heilberg, Viking Photography Inc.,

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