May 17, 1998
I drove Riva and some members of her centipede to the start. They had to get there early, because they were seeded, and had to get into a certain area by 7:00am (with an 8:00am race start). That ended up putting me VERY close to the front, and I didn’t have to wait as long to cross the starting line.
My first mile was 10 minutes (trying to get out of the pack), but I was able to accelerate nearly every mile (except 9:00 on the Hayes Street Hill). My goal was to finish in the top 10,000 (to get my name in the paper, and maybe PR or at least, to break an hour). I finished in 59:43 (no PR, but not bad considering the crowds) and I placed 1460 out of 75,000 (top 2%).
Riva and her centipede (13 athletes attached together) finished in the top 50 or so runners. A little history about the seeded centipedes. If you look at the results, you will note that the Reebok Aggies ALWAYS win the seeded centipedes – men and women. But in 1998, the women’s team failed to register. My sister’s team was some of her East Bay Striders teammates and they were sponsored by a little-known energy bar company called Clif (at least, at that time, relatively unknown). Riva’s team was beaten by the Reebok Aggie women, who then tried to register for the race (at the finish line). That didn’t work, and my sister’s team was declared the winner.
As winners, they got access to the VIP tent (my sister was tossing gourmet snacks and fruit drinks over the fence to me), won a silver platter, and got VIP shuttle service back to the start. Riva was selected to pick up the award and was sitting next to the female award winners (all African-born), and one said, “Are you 4th place?” Ha ha.
I’m not sure how we were getting back to the start, but by virtue of the win, they would get a shuttle ride back. Since it was my car, I also got to ride back with the VIPs. A cool experience.
Bay to Breakers is fun, but after an hour being crammed in at the start, I decided that I would not run it again, unless I ran a sub-seeded time (something like a 42-minute 10K) in order to get out ot the rabble rousers at the start. My idea of fun is not shuffling in a huge crowd.