SAN FRANCISCO -- The ING Bay to Breakers and San Francisco police and City officials have announced several new policies that will be enforced to improve the safety and enjoyment of the race for runners, spectators and neighbors during this year's 98th running of the ING Bay to Breakers on Sunday, May 17.
"We have listened closely to concerns from race participants, residents along the race course, and civic leaders. In response to safety, logistical and trash issues, we are instituting new policies in cooperation with the San Francisco Police Department and City officials," said Angela Fang, general manager of the race.
"The ING Bay to Breakers is about promoting community, physical fitness, and giving athletes and fitness enthusiasts the chance to compete in and enjoy one of the most exhilarating and scenic footraces in the world. We're still focused on the fun, vitality and unique culture of the race - we're just removing the alcohol and the hazards. We feel that these changes will enhance the race experience for all involved," Fang added.
The following changes have been made to the 98th ING Bay to Breakers, as well as future races:
Zero tolerance policy on alcohol. Anyone openly drinking alcohol or displaying public drunkenness will be subject to fines and prosecution.
All wheeled objects and floats are prohibited. Inappropriate equipment on the streets is dangerous and can prevent runners and walkers from completing the race in a timely manner.
Leave no footprint. Additional dumpsters will be placed along the course for trash.
"We are all working together to enforce these new zero tolerance policies," said Jim Lynch, assistant chief of the San Francisco Police Department. "We want to ensure that the 2009 ING Bay to Breakers is a safe and enjoyable event for everyone - race participants, families, residents and spectators included."
"The North Panhandle Neighborhood Association is supportive of the ING Bay to Breakers race instituting a zero tolerance policy for alcohol possession and public drinking. We want to see the race get back to its roots and focus on the sport of running, the celebration of San Francisco's diversity and the spirit of community. In recent years, the level of alcohol consumption has overpowered the event and made the race displeasing for the neighborhoods through which it runs," said Kevin Rafter, president of the association.
Fang called the ING Bay to Breakers race "a celebration of the unique spirit of San Francisco. Thousands of costumed participants, families and neighborhood residents from diverse communities come to cheer on professional and recreational runners and walkers," she said. "In keeping with both the integrity of the athletic competition and the fun, welcoming spirit of the race, we ask that participants and spectators respect the race route and the communities along the race course. This means leaving alcohol and wheeled floats at home, and putting trash and recyclables in their proper place."
In further support of the community, ING Bay to Breakers pays the City of San Francisco several hundred thousand dollars in fees, generates millions of dollars in travel and tourism and creates hundreds of event-related jobs for local community youth groups and schools. The race also makes significant contributions to a number of local charities.
The race draws approximately 65,000 participants and 100,000 spectators to San Francisco. The ING Bay to Breakers 12K was recently named by ESPN as one of the "101 things all sports fans must experience before they die," and already more than 6,000 registrants have signed up for the May 17 race. Fang assures that by adopting these new measures, "we are ensuring that runners, walkers and spectators enjoy a safe, fun event."
About ING Bay to Breakers 12K
Now in its 98th year, the ING Bay to Breakers 12K, a Running USA Founding Member, is one of the world's largest and oldest footraces, held annually in San Francisco, California. The name reflects the course which takes tens of thousands of participants from the northeast end of downtown San Francisco, near The Embarcadero (the "bay" side of the city), to the west end of the city and the "breakers" of Ocean Beach. The 7.46 mile (12 kilometer) race features world-class athletes in addition to costumed runners and "fun-loving" folks out for a great day of running and walking through San Francisco. For more information, visit: INGbaytobreakers.com