Top 12 Reasons To Run The Alaska Airlines Bay To Breakers


The Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers isn’t your typical race. It’s so much more! Check out what makes this legendary 12K so unique.


1.  We’ve only done this whole race thing for 100+ years

In true San Francisco fashion, the city looked for ways to boost morale and unite the city after the devastating earthquake and subsequent fire in 1906. With these plans in mind, Cross City Race (original name for Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers) was born and first held on January 1, 1912 with 218 runners. Today, we are joined by more than 50,000 spirited participants.

From the colorful costumes – to the World Centipede Championships – to the “upstream swimming salmon,” the Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers encapsulates more than 106 years of rich history and quirky traditions. Here’s to the 107th year, and keeping our proud claim of being one of the longest consecutively run annual footraces in the world.


2.  You can run, you can walk, you can even run-walk

In the same way the city of San Francisco welcomes everyone, the Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers exudes the same mindset towards its registrants. Whether you are a competitive runner, or walking with friends, the race is designed with all types in mind – and we mean that. Daily Burn even ranked us in its “Top 15 Races for People Who’d Rather Walk Than Run.”


3.  We are part of an iconic group of races

Don’t believe us? Then at least take it from Outside Magazine. They recognized the Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers as one of the “Top 10 Most Iconic Races in the U.S.” We are incredibly honored, as we take our work and effort towards this race seriously. Even though it’s our 106th straight year, we know better than to get complacent. We always look to improve, so each race day is an unforgettable experience for our registrants.


4.  We’ve got centipedes

Yeah, you heard that right. And not the small creatures with 100 legs. But rather, a group of 13 or more runners that run the course together linked by a bungee cord. In fact, the Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers is both the birthplace and host of the World Championships of the Centipede Running Division. In addition to the fun costumes you’ll see while running, you may also encounter some centipedes – and hopefully only the running version!


5.  We’ve modified the start layout

We know every registrant carries their own unique pace and goals for the race, and that’s what prompted us to enhance our corral system. Say goodbye to the days of being stuck behind the slow pokes or feeling pressure from the speedsters. With over 10 different corrals, ranging from Elite Runners to Walkers, you can easily find your perfect slot to set yourself up for success.


6.  We are the world’s BEST-DRESSED race

San Francisco is known for its festive and colorful style, and the Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers certainly isn’t an exception. We pride ourselves on being the world’s best-dressed race. In 1940, the first costumed runner showed up at the start line dressed as Captain Kidd. Even with his last place finish, he set the bar high for years to come. From Superman and Wonder Woman to Mr. & Mrs. Pacman and Oompa Loompas, you’re destined to see every character imaginable. So dust off that Halloween costume sitting in the closet, and join in on the world’s biggest unofficial costume contest.


7.  Run through the heart of the City by the Bay

Our course kicks off at the Embarcadero, and is designed to give each registrant an in-depth feel to the City of San Francisco. As participants progress throughout the course, they will pass through nine neighborhoods, each with distinctive personalities, geography and landmarks. Whether you are a San Franciscan or first time visitor to the city, participating in the Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers will deepen your love and appreciation for the city.


8.  We’ve created an awesome race weekend

The Friday and Saturday before the big day, we host our two-day Expo at Pier 35. With over 80 exhibitors showcasing the latest in fitness, technology, gear, and nutrition to more than 70,000 attendees, it’s the perfect way for runners and the general public to get their first taste of the weekend celebration!

Following the Expo and race, our Finish Line Festival (F.L.F.) comes to life as runners cross the finish line at scenic Ocean Beach. It’s here that runners receive their finisher medal, and then are quickly greeted with food, drinks, live music and brand activations. With more than 50,000 attendees, it becomes quite the post-race celebration.


9.  Our mascot is cooler than yours

How many races have a mascot that runs the entirety of the course? On second thought, how many races have a giant pink gorilla as their mascot? Meet Ape Hashbury, the colorful and official mascot of the Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers. Whether running AND completing the course or taking non-stop pictures with fans at the Expo and Finish Line Festival, you won’t be able to miss our furry friend.


10.  The chance to participate in one of the largest footraces in the world

The 1986 Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers race included more than 110,000 participants! At the time, that set a record for the largest footrace in the world. Today, the race attracts more than 50,000 runners (from 45 states and 50 countries) annually.


11.  It’s a one-of-a-kind San Francisco experience

In need of some encouragement and motivation while making your way through the course? Well, you can rely on the 200,000 spectators that fill the streets to cheer on the participants. No other race offers the unique blend of athleticism, fun, frivolity and determination. This combination from registrants and spectators makes the Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers an annual celebration of the human spirit, and the quintessential San Francisco experience.


12.  We are family friendly

Need something fun to do with the family outside of the weekly game night? As a way to evolve the Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers and encourage the entire family to participate, we’ve created a Family corral. So now families have the opportunity to start in their own corral, experience the race as a whole, and cross the finish line together. Now that we offer FREE race day photos, we have your future holiday cards covered. And don’t forget, all kids 17 and under are 50% off the adult price.