Nick Jong (nickjong) wrote,
Nick Jong


Bay to Breakers offers an awe-inspiring cross section of San Francisco. The 12K route begins in the financial district, just blocks away from Ferry Plaza, among the gleaming glass and steel of Moscone Center and the Metreon. It continues out Hayes and Fell, residential neighborhoods enlivened into one big block party, whose raucous music and onlookers cheered runners on and up the Hayes Street Hill. The second half of the course, through Golden Gate Park, took me past waterfalls and bison I didn't know existed within the city. The last half mile emerges from the greenery of the park to reveal an expanse of blue, broken only by, yes, the roaring white of the breaking waves. Spectacular.

Although I have to admit I still spent most of the time people watching, not staring at the backdrop. Supposedly the city has cracked down on the drunken party atmosphere of previous years, but the costumes at least did not disappoint. My only previous exposure to costumed races was the Cap 10K in Austin, but Bay to Breakers puts it to shame. For better or for worse, some parts felt as much like a Halloween parade as a race, with walkers spanning the entire width of the road. I'll have to decide whether to find a costume for next year or to register earlier to secure an earlier start time.

Until next time, it will be hard not to construe Bay to Breakers as a farewell tour. Sarah and I will move to South Bay in the next couple of weeks, and while I can't wait until we move, I will miss city life, at least in the abstract. I will miss the idea of being enmeshed in a vibrant urban center, surrounded by a dazzling panoply of human life. But in truth, life in San Francisco, almost an hour from where I work, in a cramped century-old Victorian flat, simply hasn't been practical for us. I still think it's a nice place to visit, but soon it will no longer be home.
Tags: cities, housing, running

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