Bay to Breakers by the Numbers

All About San Francisco's Wackiest Race Bay to Breakers

The mobile party of the racing world is known today as Bay to Breakers. Held in San Francisco on the third Sunday in May, the race has been running every year in the Fog City since 1912 and is one of the city's "Must Do" things. For those interested in participating in an upcoming race, or are simply just interested in the hard facts, here is a comprehensive list of the Bay to Breakers records, along with some other cool tip-bits about this one-of-a-kind event.

Bay to Breakers Race Course

Bay to Breaker's course starts in the the city's sea-level Embarcadero area, on Howard and Beale streets, along the San Francisco Bay. The 7.46-mile course (12 kilometers) is largely flat, but at the 2.5-mile mark racers encounter the infamous Hayes Street Hill, a five-block stretch that rises 215 feet above sea level. It's a massive, though worthwhile, challenge for many racers, and the course is mostly (and gradually) downhill from there. The race then continues along SF's Panhandle park, through the iconic Golden Gate Park, and culminates at the Great Highway, otherwise known as the "breakers".

Bay to Breakers Participants

While anyone and everyone can participate, the serious athletes stick to the front of the pack and are usually led by Kenyan and Ethiopian runners who fly into San Francisco each year to compete. These star athletes are followed by tens of thousands of runners, joggers, and walkers, many in costumes, in various states of dress and un-dress, and eve linked together as "centipedes." The rules of this race are pretty lax, as recent years' estimates have said that up to half of Bay to Breakers participants were not registered for the race. Even the former mayor of San-Francisco, Gavin Newsom was among the non-registered racers in 2010.

Bay to Breakers Course Records 

  • Men's Record: 33:31, by Sammy Kitwara (Kenya, age 22), in 2009.
  • Women's Record: 38:07, by Lineth Chepkurui (Kenya, age 22), in 2010.
  • Men's Centipede: (13 runners tethered together) - 36:44, by LinkedIn, in 2012.
  • Women's Centipede: 46:36, by Impala, in 2012.

Bay to Breakers by the Numbers

According to Bay to Breakers presented by Craigslist, Zazzle Bay to Breakers, ESPN, and Wikipedia, here is a breakdown of the Bay to Breakers by numbers:

  • 1.75 Million: The estimated total number of participants in the race’s over 100-year history.
  • 80,000: The estimated number of spectators, race staffers, and volunteers who line the race course in spots like Divisadero Street on race day each year.
  • 78,769: The number of registered runners in the largest Bay to Breakers, which was in 1986 (total number of participants including walkers and joggers was about 110,000).
  • 99: The age of the oldest known participant, Stefan Arcelona, who participated in the year 2000.
  • 47: The number of consecutive years that Harry Cordellos has run Bay to Breakers. Although Cordellos is blind, he says he can identify every pothole on the route by memory. (*Note: Cordellos missed his first Bay to Breakers run in 2015 due to health problems).
  • 25: The number of registered runners in the smallest Bay to Breakers, which took place in 1963.
  • 1: The age of the youngest known participant, Robert Rosen. who ran in the 2000 race.
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