Those of you who attended my State Pensioner’s Party at the Wee Curry Shop back in January may have dismissed my fancy-dress ravings at the end of proceedings. What, for example, was this Bay to Breakers race anyway?
Confessions time: I was under the misapprehension that the “B&B” 12k in San Francisco was one of the world’s biggest road races. In fact, a decent urban road race has been hijacked by a totally daft posse of funsters; it’s now the world’s biggest fun run, with road race as a warm-up act for various outrageous hordes parading from downtown SF (the Bay) to the ocean beach end of Golden Gate Park (Breakers). Imagine (say) the Glasgow 10k taken over by the combined forces of Mardi Gras, a hundred hen parties, a Gay Pride parade (well, this is San Fran) complete with a sprinkling of naturists of every shape/size/age/colour/gender. From my brief observations, however, a majority of old blokes with crinkly bottoms – never mind the other bits – seemed to be the mainstay of the last category.
So, if you can get your heads past that lot – on to the race. The first mile of the course is dead flat and through the city centre, so it starts at the unGodly hour of 7am. Then the fun begins: the Hayes St hill, a daunting half-mile or so of steady 1 in 10 slope. Nae bother to this inhabitant of Holehouse Brae, Neilston, who was still running – erm, plodding – at the crest. The good news is that there is no further ascent after the three-mile mark. Moreover, the last half of the race is on the main drive of the Park, a steady downhill, so encouraging decent times. While it’s demoralising to have to chase wrinkly old bums (remember, “bum” has another meaning across the Pond!), I was passed by a runner who was doing it the Grim way: barefoot. Me, I had my yellow Onitsuka trainers on.
The winner was an Ethiopian (of course!) in about 35 minutes followed by a lad from Portland.My own time was 1hr 4min 15sec: not bad until I remembered that Gibby ran a similar distance in under an hour at Callender Park in the Senior XC Championships this spring. For those of you interested in race stats, I was 1997th in a field of 22467, 32nd male finisher in the 60-69 age bracket, and maybe 1st Glasweegie over 65? There’s life in Grim yet: and this was to be my swansong? Maybe I’ll stick to Fun Runs after this one: recommended.