The Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers is the birthplace of the Centipede World Championships.
In 1978 centipede founders and pioneers of running fun, the U.C. Davis Aggies Track Club, were named the first ever World Centipede Running Champions, finishing as a unit 130th overall out of a total of 16,000 race entrants. Centipedes have been a race staple ever since.
The 2018 race marked the 40th anniversary of the hallowed beginnings of one of the greatest traditions in all of racing. We had a chance to speak with one of the original UC Davis Aggies Track Club runners, Dwayne "Peanut" Harms to reflect on his team's historic run.
Read the story HERE.
- Groups of 13 or more runners travel the full 12k (or 15k if you're doing the Breakers Bonus) course together linked by a bungee cord, or any other safe mechanism
- Centipede groups can run the course competitively or just for fun
- Competitive groups must choose the Centipede category when registering. Non-competitive groups can register as individuals
- Seeded and Sub-Seeded Centipedes will be eligible for awards
- There will be awards for both the 12k traditional distance and Breakers Bonus 15k distance
- All members of the Centipede group will receive $5 off their registration
- All members of a Centipede group will receive the same benefits as individual runners including a participant t-shirt and finisher medal
CentipedeS in Action!
The 108th Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers World SAUCONY Centipede Running Championship Rules
Competition guidelines were adopted by the International Centipede Congress long, long ago and are as follows:
Seeded Centipede Competition Rules
- A centipede consists of 13 connected individuals and a maximum of two unconnected alternates (floaters).
- All 15 individuals in the centipede must qualify for seeded or sub-seeded status in order to start the race in the seeded or sub-seeded section.
- The last person in each centipede to cross the finish line determines the finishing time for all 13 individuals in the centipede and the official finishing time for that centipede. The floaters of the centipedes, whether or not they finish with the other 13 members, will be treated as individual finishers with their own times.
- There must be 13 CONNECTED FINISHERS in a centipede to win or place.
- (OPTIONAL) The Lenichi Turn is optional for seeded competition.
- (OPTIONAL) Twinkie feelers for the first person in each centipede, but the entire team is encouraged to wear them. You’re way hipper if you wear them!
- (OPTIONAL) The end of each centipede should have a stinger at least six inches in length.
- The centipede must be no more than 60 feet long, allowing at least four feet between leg segments. Prior to the race start, race officials will measure each centipede from nose to stinger.
Fun Runner Centipede Rules
Each centipede member registers separately.
- Each centipede must consist of at least 13 runners plus one floater who runs alongside, substituting for runners who lose a shoe, drop off the pace or need to make a pit stop.
- There is no limit on length of fun runner centipedes.
- A centipede may be made of any material that an organization, school or club deems appropriate. However, try to keep it light, flexible and well-ventilated. Allow at least four feet between individual leg segments.
- Twinkie feelers on the head of each segment are required.
- The final segment of each centipede must wear a stinger of appropriate design and toxicity.
- Each segment must be filled with a registered centipede athlete – each runner must register individually.
- During the entire competition, all required body segments must be present in the centipede body. If a segment is to be exchanged, the replacement must give the centipede’s official password to exclude unauthorized participants.
- To re-enter the centipede, a displaced runner must catch up with the body and resume his original segment, which the floater has been occupying. The official password and secret acknowledgment must be repeated each time. If the floater makes a permanent substitution, no other substitutions are allowed.
- A Lenichi Turn, a 360-degree turn made famous by two Eastern European centipede runners (Oscar and Igatoo Lenichi) in the 18th century, must be executed at Lindley Meadow in Golden Gate Park just beyond the 6-mile point. The Lenichi Turn must not interfere with other runners.
- All centipede members must start together, at the start line, as well as cross the finish line with connection intact.