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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on May 24th, 2011, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 12, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 12, Issue 11

Taking a Breakers

Who says malt liquor and running long distances don't mix?

By ROB KRIDER

I like to go big … big time. I go big so much that I’m hoping my tombstone will say, “Krider—A man who always went big.” Whatever the occasion or event, I always want things to be grand, huge, and extravagant. I don’t play beer pong at the local bar, I go to the World Series of Beer Pong in Las Vegas for a chance to win $50,000. I don’t enter a quarter-mile drag race, I run in the longest endurance automotive race in the world, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. I don’t bother to watch sports on television unless it’s the Stanley Cup, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, or the Daytona 500. Anything else just isn’t “big” enough for me.

I’m attracted to anything big, even if it is something I wouldn’t normally be interested in. For instance, I’m not a fan of tarantulas. You could even say I would empty my bowels in my shorts the instant I was faced with one of the hairy little monsters. But the moment I found out that they have the World Championship tarantula races in Coarsegold, Calif., I suddenly wanted to get a tarantula and start training it to run as fast as it can on its eight little legs. When there’s a big event happening, even if it is competing arachnids, I want to be a part of it. Championships, world records, finales, anniversaries—that kind of stuff gets my blood flowing.

This trend of going big is how I ended up running across the city of San Francisco. Well, I guess I should be more specific: I didn’t exactly run; I sort of walked briskly … with a beer in my hand. I entered the Bay to Breakers 12 kilometer foot race (that’s 7 1/2 miles for you folks not all that familiar with the metric system).

I’ve never been known for being the most in-shape dude around town. The only time I run is when I run the sprinklers to water my lawn. Running actual marathons isn’t my shtick. My shtick is more like a corn dog on a stick. But because this year’s Bay to Breakers race was the 100th anniversary, it qualified as a “big” event, which meant I had to be there. So I strapped on my running shoes (yup, I had to buy some first) and headed to the Golden Gate.

The best way to describe Bay to Breakers is to think of it as a running race combined with a fraternity Halloween party, combined with a peace festival, combined with a legalize marijuana rally, combined with a moving beer garden, combined with an elderly nudist colony. Among all of that, the Bay to Breakers is a legitimate race, and there were some Kenyan dudes who were real serious about running as fast as they could. Aside from these long-distance-running crazy guys from Africa, there were 50,000 other people who also participated in the Bay to Breakers race, but they weren’t that interested in getting to the finish line faster than their neighbor. What they were most interested in (as my eyes quickly found out at the start line) was being completely naked. Unfortunately, the demographic for naked people at the Bay to Breakers is pretty much limited to 60-year-old dudes.

The start of the race was insane, with revelers throwing tortillas into the air like Frisbees. The sky above the massive crowd was filled with tortillas, bubbles, balloons, beach balls, and pot smoke. Ninety percent of the crowd was in some sort of costume; the rest were either running for time or naked. San Francisco police officers stood on every street corner and wore blinders to the public indecency and open drinking. The crowd marched along in unison, enjoying the music from numerous live bands along the racecourse, rocking out. The vibe at Bay to Breakers was warm, festive, and humorous. Everyone was enjoying each other’s wacky costumes. Bars along the racecourse were open for entrants to walk in, grab a quick beer at 7:30 a.m., and then head back out onto the course. There were 1,200 port-a-potties along the course to get rid of some of the beer.

The Kenyans ran the race in about 35 minutes. The rest of the entrants drank vodka and took around three hours. My wife and I started the race at 7:15 a.m. with all of our clothes on and no alcohol in our system. We were determined to finish the 7.5 miles no matter what. We were rookies, so we really didn’t know what to expect. After a few steps, we decided to roll with it. You know the expression: “when in Rome.”

   During our first Bay to Breakers, we stopped six times during the race to use the bathrooms and to pick up some supplies at a liquor store. We had ourselves a celebratory toast at each mile marker and waved to the San Francisco P.D. as we gulped rum and Coke and malt liquor. We got hungry at one point and found a hot dog stand along the racecourse and ate the best hot dog of our lives. We saw more naked old dudes. We stopped at some house parties along the course and danced to the mixes of the different DJs.

As we approached the finish line, my wife, whom I love, asked me to take a picture. While I was looking through the camera, she ran off and crossed the finish line first so she could tease me for the rest of our lives that she beat me at the 100th running of the Bay to Breakers. When all was said and done, I finished 38,534th with a time of 2 hours, 52 minutes, and 13 seconds. Not too shabby for a drunk fat guy with all of his clothes on.

Rob said next year he is going to beat his record; he’s convinced he can consume more beers and hot dogs than the previous year.




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