Making Bay to Breakers Fun for Everyone

By Jarie Bolander

This year celebrates the 100th running of the Bay to Breakers. The centennial Bay to Breakers will have some significant changes to address the safety, sanitation and security of participants, spectators and neighbors. These changes have been championed by the neighborhood task force on the 100th Bay to Breakers whose work over the last year has focused on making the event Fun for Everyone. This group consists of city officials; participants; Bay to Breakers staff; the SFPD and nine neighborhood groups: North Panhandle Neighborhood Association (NOPNA), Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA), Divisadero Merchants Association (DMA), Alamo Square Neighborhood Association (ASNA), Lower Haight Merchants and Neighborhood Association (LoHaMNA) , Haight Asbury Improvement Association (HAIA), Buena Vista Neighborhood Association (BVNA), Cole Valley Improvement Association (CVIA) and Inner Sunset Park Neighbors (ISPN).

We have worked hard to insure the following items will be in place:
• A 30% increase in bathroom capacity including the deployment of over 30, 6-man urinals in and around Alamo Square and the Panhandle.
• More security and police at traditional hot spots
• Clean up crew presence during the entire event and until everything is cleaned
• A central command structure for better resource coordination
• Bathrooms on both sides of the course for easier access
• A Neighborhood Ambassador program to provide local knowledge for optimum information communication and resource deployment.
• Strategic placement of barriers to prevent participants spilling off the course
• A race start at 7:00am (an hour earlier)

Our main focus is safety for neighbors, spectators and participants. In order to make this safer we’ve championed some changes in the Centennial Bay to Breakers which include: a ban on alcohol, no floats on the race course, and additional security. This year we are asking for changes from all parties impacted by the race. We ask merchants to limit the sale of alcohol until after noon, communicate to your local neighborhood group if you will be open or not, provide additional security, if needed, encourage patrons to respect the neighborhood, and donate funds to help clean up. We remind participants to pace yourself, drink plenty of fluids, remember sunscreen even if it’s cloudy, use provided Port-o-Johns – you are a guest in the neighborhoods and smile, and smile and have fun. We ask of our neighbors: volunteer to be an Ambassador, welcome participants and spectators to your neighborhood, report issues and keep house parties to friends and family. We recommend to spectators to thank neighbors for helping out, report issues to volunteers, familiarize yourself with facilities and volunteer locations while enjoying the race going by.

If you want to get involved with making the 100th Bay to Breakers Fun for Everyone, send an email to or join us on Facebook by searching for “Bay to Breakers – Fun for Everyone.” With everyone’s help, we can make the 100th Bay to Breakers what it should be – a celebration of the resilience and uniqueness of San Francisco.

The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association has had representatives at all of the neighborhood task force meetings and given input from the perspective of residents and merchants of our neighborhood. We support these efforts to improve Bay to Breakers.