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. 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 facts about the one-of-a-kind race.

Bay to Breakers Race Course

The race course starts in the Embarcadero area, on Howard and Beale streets, at sea level, along the San Francisco Bay. The 7.46-mile course (12 kilometers) is largely flat, but at the 2.5-mile mark, there is the infamous Hayes Street Hill, a five-block stretch that rises 215 feet above sea level. After that massive challenge, the course is mostly (and gradually) downhill from there, along the Panhandle, through the iconic Golden Gate Park, before finally ending on the Great Highway, the Pacific Ocean’s "breakers".

Bay to Breakers Participants

Though all are invited to participate, at the front of the pack are the serious athletes, usually led by Kenyan and Ethiopian runners who fly into San Fransico each year to compete, and win. These star athletes are followed by tens of thousands of runners, joggers, and walkers, many in costumes, in various states of un-dress, or linked together as "centipedes." The rules of this race are some of the laxest as the estimates in recent years 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 nonregistered 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 Impalas, 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 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.
  • 43: 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.
  • 25: The number of registered runners in the smallest Bay to Breakers, which was in 1963.
  • 1: The age of the youngest known participant, Robert Rosen. who was in 2000 race.