Berk to Breakers: Berkeley students flock to annual 12K and citywide party

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The 6:50 am Daly City BART this past Sunday morning was packed with Berkeley students covered in body paint heading to the annual Bay to Breakers race. What starts out each year as a simple 12K through the streets of San Francisco quickly turns into a raging, moving dance party ending at sunny Ocean Beach. This year, Cal students joined tens of thousands of race participants as they showcased their eccentric costumes and unique spin on the idea of “running” a race. Costumes ranged from blue avatars and Smurfs to giant hot dogs and sharks, while many people chose to forgo the constraint of clothes altogether and run in the nude. Yes, the Clog spotted many, many naked people this weekend. We also saw one group of people dressed as full-sized cardboard dominoes who would periodically lie down in a line and sing songs about dominoes. (Surprisingly, there are quite a lot of songs about dominoes.)

The race technically costs $50 for participants, but the majority of Breaker-ers are “race bandits,” jumping into the race after the starting line to avoid paying anything at all. Despite the pre-race buzz about security being extra tight this year to prevent this from happening, almost everyone who came to the city to participate in the event unofficially was able to do so. Cal sophomore Jessica Lazarous, who attended the event for a second time said, “It was just as wild and crazy as last year. It makes me proud to be a part of the Bay Area, where all of these people come together to celebrate and enjoy the city.”

Once the serious runners passed, racers were more often than not carrying a beverage of some kind along with them, and despite the large number of stone-faced police officers (respect for the guy who didn’t crack a smile when the naked man wearing only a party hat asked to take a photo with him), people seemed very comfortable flaunting their alcohol in the open. In fact, residents along the route blasted music from their homes and distributed lime-green Jell-O shots to passers-by, attracting large crowds of Elvis impersonators and tutu-clad folk.

Whether headed home in the next few weeks or staying in Berkeley for the summer after a taxing week of finals, these Cal students found Bay to Breakers to be an epic way to start out their summers.

Contact Sarah Branoff at [email protected]