The Race That Has It All

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By Ross Crain

Ambassador for the 2018 Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers 

I started running about five years ago (though by race day 2018, it will be six). Coincidentally, Bay to Breakers falls on my running anniversary, which is one of many reasons why this race is special to me.

I became a runner by walking a lot during a stressful time in my life. After walking for miles one day, I thought to myself, Hey, I should just run. Running was something I had always aspired to do, but never really wanted it bad enough. Sure. I had gone for a jog or two with an ex-girlfriend or told myself that I would get healthy.

It never really stuck until that one day I knew I was a runner.

Thinking back, it's almost like I knew I was a runner when I made the decision to become one. I had this level of determination, and I wasn't going to let anything stop me. And once I got started, I was hooked. I think like most runners I have a love/hate relationship with it, but let's face it: it's mostly love.

I started to run for stress relief and weight loss. Now I run for those reasons and so many more. Now, pretty much everything in my life revolves around running. It's about being a better me.

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MY FIRST BAY TO BREAKERS!

Growing up in the Bay Area and as a born-and-bred San Franciscan, I had heard about Bay to Breakers for years. I had friends who went for the spectacle of it all. Finally, in 2014, a friend at work brought up the race and invited to go with him and his family. At the time, he and I talked about running almost every day, so it wasn't a time for me to say no. That year was my first Bay to Breakers experience, and I've raced it every year since with my friend and his family. We run our own pace, but we always meet at the start and finish if nothing else.  

Somewhere around the time I started running races, I joined social media (mostly Twitter). There, I've met and connected with a ton of Bay Area runners, and even runners from around the globe. The running community is amazing and full of encouragement. Now, year after year I run with more and more friends on race day. Some years it's about speed and trying to PR; other years it's just about running at a conversation pace with your friends and taking it all in.

I'll be racing again in 2018 for many reasons. It's a great race not only because of its rich history, but also because of the people who run it. You have all levels of runners from the person who runs only that day to elites like Ryan or Sara Hall. People come from all over the world to compete or check it off their bucket list of races. From the tall buildings to an oceanfront finish with views of the city and park in between - and let's not forget that monster hill and all those great costumes - this race truly has it all. 

See you on race day. 

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