May 18, 1997
I decided to make a return to Bay to Breakers and participate as a runner (rather than a non-paying bandit). My roommate, Valerie, was also interested in participating. We stayed with my folks in Piedmont, and then caught BART to the start.
In 1996, we started about an hour after everyone had left, but this time, we were at the start prior to the actual start of the race, and there were a lot of people there! Basically, you could look down 6 blocks of streets (or at least, I could, because I could see over everyone’s heads) and see nothing but a sea of humanity… and beach balls, tortillas, and more. People were throwing all sorts of (soft) items, and guess what? I got several of them bouncing off my noggin.
Since we arrived relatively early, we were fairly close to the front of the race, but it still took us about 15 minutes to get across the starting line after the gun went off, and even so, there were lots of bandits jumping in from all directions. It was crowded, crazy and chaotic.
Val and I made it a point to decide on a meeting point before the race started, because I KNEW we would get separated. Impossible, unless you are part of a Centipede (which we were not). Even before the Hayes Street hill, we got separated.
I enjoyed the run much more than in the previous year (also because the people around me weren’t “dying”), and I averted my eyes more than once when several male naked runners flopped by.
I got to the finish in 1:16:07, which was good enough for placing in the top 10,000 (which is how many they listed in the newspaper). Val and I met up at Footstock, and eventually got back to my folks’ in the East Bay. My parents excitedly said, “We taped Val on TV for a few minutes.” Apparently, when Val got to the Panhandle, some TV reporter convinced her to stop for a bit, put on a rainbow fright wig and dance or juggle or something. Crazy.