Running in the 'Meda: Bay to Breakers wrap-up (second annual!)

Running in the 'Meda: Bay to Breakers wrap-up (second annual!)

Marty Beene

A "fact sheet" from the 1978 Bay to Breakers race. Photo by Marty Beene.

Welcome to my second annual Bay to Breakers wrap-up blog!

I've run this race about 15 times. It was my very first road race, way back in 1978; a then-unheard-of 12,000 runners ran it that year. Someone stepped on the heel of my shoe in the first couple hundred yards, so I had to duck into a doorway to get it back on and avoid getting trampled.

Another year I noted in my logbook that it was impossible to "run" because of the estimated crowd of 135,000 people.

For me, the most fun part of this year's race was being around the world-class runners in the warmup area for the elite/seeded/sub-seeded runners. Yes, they do pretty much the same kind of warmup routine that most of the rest of us do. For a fan of running like myself, standing or jogging right next to them is very, very cool!

This year, just under 30,000 registered runners finished the race, and my guess is that there were another 10,000 or so who participated casually in some way. One of the 30,000 was my son, Cameron, who was running his first B2B.

Running-wise, the race was merely the hard part of a 13-mile workout for him as part of his half marathon training. His planned workout pace was the pace I wanted to run for the race, so we stuck together for the first six miles. I was going a little too slow, though, so he threw down a 6:10 mile to pull ahead of me and finish about 70 seconds ahead. That put him 16th in the 16-19 age group, while I was 19th in the 50-54 age group - five spots better than last year, despite a time that was about 40 seconds slower this year.

John West was third in that 50-54 group with a 47:28 (6:22 per mile!), and shows up in the results as the first 'Medan. Cameron is listed as the second, while I was fourth.

Katelyn Johnson was the first woman from Alameda, with a time of 56:32; she squeaked into the top 1,000 runners list, coming in 995th place.

The women's winner was Jane Kibii, a native of Kenya, who finished in 40:04 (5:23 per mile), while the overall winner was Kenyan Isaac Mukundi Mwangi, with a time of 35:25 (4:45 per mile). Those times were well off the course records of 33:31 and 38:07, but Kibii and Mwangi each won $3,000 for their efforts. Not bad.

Several of the Alameda High School girls I've been coaching in track and cross-country formed a centipede and ran together - they had a blast, but I didn't get to see them because Cameron and I were already on the bus back to the start by the time they finished.

This year, it was very cold at the finish line. This meant that people like us, who only arranged to get a bus ride back to the start (as opposed to having someone meet us at the finish), froze afterward. We went to the shuttle bus pickup location as soon as we could to get out of the cold. Unfortunately, this meant that we weren't able to do much spectating to check out the fun costumes. Or lack thereof. (I did hear one nearby runner make some comment about Costanza-like shrinkage, but I can't comment from any personal observations.)

I would love to hear about others' B2B experiences - add them in the comments section below!

Marty Beene, a USA Track & Field certified coach, is owner of Be The Runner; he coaches adults from beginners to veterans individually and in groups. He can be reached at