Ah, Bay to Breakers. This past year I made the mistake of showing up late and not drunk. I don’t recommend that. It kind of made me sick. Showing up late means stepping over the remains and elbowing through wasted people who couldn’t keep walking (not hating, I’ve been there too).

Can you imagine a dry B2B? Me neither…but the race organizers are serious about achieving it. For the 100th run of our city’s favorite freak fest there will be no booze, floats, or “non-registered ‘bandits'” (like Gavin Newsom!) allowed. They will enforce this the old fashioned way – hiring extra cops and maybe putting up some fences.

Angela Fang, B2B’s executive director warns that violators “will be arrested, cited and fined”. Arrests will certainly sky rocket if they’re serious. According to the Citizens for the Preservation of Bay2Breakers, there were fewer than 5 arrests at the 2010 event. However, there were more than 30 participants that were taken to the hospital for mostly alcohol-related problems.

Is a party with cops breathing down your neck better than no party at all? The mere existence of the race was threatened when it lost its corporate sponsor ING earlier this year. B2B Spokesperson Sam Singer told SF Weekly that there are potential new sponsors on the horizon, perhaps a reason for the new rules.

The effort to clean up the image of Bay to Breakers may attract sponsors but what about cleaning up the actual party? For 2010, the organizers did not improve their clean-up plan so residents took it upon themselves.

District supervisor for the Panhandle region, Ross Mirkarimi, is skeptical of how an alcohol ban would be enforced. He also said that he thinks that the organizers are putting the unique spirit of the race at risk. What about you?

Photo: Corinne Ray

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