Full disclosure: I won VIP entries from Clif Bar less than a week before the race, so I had three days to prep. I was also 25 weeks pregnant.
Let me start off by saying this is an event I don't think anyone except for those who can score elite corral positioning runs for speed. You run for the sake of the run, the revelry and if you're into it, the mobile party. Seeing as how everyone else seemed to be drunk and naked when I ran it, being clothed, sober and pregnant made me an immediate weirdo. (I saw at least two other women rockin' speedbumps on course, which was nice.)
- VIP area meant private loos, bag check (which I definitely will utilize this year) and front row seats to watch the elites warm up. I even called it! There was a gal warming up and I told my friend "She's moving like she's here to win." Later we found out she did.
- Costumes, lack of costumes and tradition. Throwing tortillas and letting your junk hang out are just BtoB traditions. Don't be surprised if you're getting a faceful of can't-be-unseen before you even get to your corral.
- I was very impressed with how many bib checks there were and the security presence on course. It definitely didn't feel like The Man was trying to be down on the party, but more of a "we're here in case sh*t goes down" presence, which I appreciated.
- Sorry to say it but some of the partiers were a bummer for me. If you want to pay for a bib so you can be drunk and topless in public, fine, but please don't be a completely oblivious roadblock. It's not just a party. It actually is a running event. I can't imagine how some of the actually-running-centipede teams managed to get through certain areas.
- Corrals are BIG. Be prepared to walk a number of blocks trying to find yours.
- "THE HILL" is steep and really is a giant party. Pretty much every house on that street is partying. The perk to this is that if you're actually trying to run, you'll lose most of the partiers in this section. After THE HILL, we had some wiggle room and weaved a lot less. There was still a lot of wang flopping about, though, that didn't change.
- The VIP entrance in the finisher's area was confusing for us to get in to. We accidentally left the finisher's area trying to get in to the VIP area, so we didn't get a chance to get in on the massages or non-potato chip sample food. As a pregnant woman, that was a big bummer.
- Post-race transit was a huge drag. We waited for almost an hour for a bus, and when it finally arrived it was packed. Add rude people (like a teenage boy who didn't get up for an elderly woman because he was busy texting, and the father with a tween and teenage daughter who also sat in the front seats glaring at my pregnant self as I tried to not fall on them while standing) and it was one hell of a ride.
- I don't recall the aid stations, really. I carried my own handheld, so I know I refilled my water at least once, but I don't recall there being any food. Considering that I was pregnant at the time, I KNOW I would remember if I had seen food, 'cause that was my #1 priority when we got to the finisher's area!
- I won't call parking a bummer because we planned and parked somewhere sort of near the start. Either you park near the start and know you'll have to hoof it back, or park near the finish and know you'll have to hoof it to the start. We used Parking Panda to reserve ahead of time.
- My running buddy hit the expo, not me. We apparently were supposed to get something special and commemorative as part of the VIP package but we never got whatever it was.
As long as you know what you're getting in to, Bay to Breakers is a 12K not to be missed. My friend and I will be returning again this year, hitting up the VIP again and using our learnings.
2015 - http://littlebeastling.com/2015/05/19/bay-to-breakers2015/