May 15, 2009

2009 Bay to Breakers ‘pivotal’ in San Fran

Organizers of the annual Bay to Breakers footrace and street party in San Francisco said they are working to keep the event fun despite strict new rules.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, whose district contains a large portion of the race route, said Sunday's event, the 98th Bay to Breakers, will be important to the future of the race, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

This is a pivotal year, Mirkarimi said. We're trying to perform the fine pirouette of addressing any negative consequences from previous years while making sure we don't thwart the fun and spirit of the Bay to Breakers.

The new rules, adopted by city leaders in February, include a ban on kegs and glass bottles and a regulation requiring floats to enter the course only via the starting line behind the runners. The rules came after last year's race yielded numerous complaints about trash, public urination and floats hindering the runners.

We embrace the fun, the color, the atmosphere, but we need to have an event that's safe and respectful to the city, said Angela Fang, who manages the race for international sports and entertainment conglomerate AEG. We had to make some adjustments to keep this event alive.

However, critics said the new rules will only serve to make the event less enjoyable.

They are just going to continue to crack down on this thing ... until they've homogenized it into a footrace, said Ed Sharpless, a leader of the pro-party grassroots group Citizens for the Preservation of Bay2Breakers.