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Photos: Imagination runs wild with creative Bay to Breakers costumes

Jun 11, 2023Jun 11, 2023

Creative costumes were out in full force Sunday as runners and revelers hit the streets for the Bay to Breakers, a uniquely San Franciscan event with equal parts athleticism and imagination.

The oldest consecutively run annual footrace in the world, the Bay to Breakers has been a colorful staple of city life since it began in 1912 as a means to lift spirits still reeling from the 1906 earthquake and fire. The race, which paused only in 2020 and 2021 as a pandemic precaution, is world famous not only for its competitive runners but also its imaginative array of costumes.

Solo and in groups, many participants spend weeks concocting the perfect look, often modeling their costumes on superheroes, newsmakers, historical figures or cartoon characters. Since 1978, the race has also featured a centipede division, with teams of 13 to 15 members running the full 12K course joined by a bungee cord or similar mechanism.

Unofficial Breakers traditions include spectators tossing tortillas into the crowd at the start of the race and runners in salmon suits "swimming upstream" against the flow of competitors.

The Breakers attracts perhaps the most colorful array of revelers to the city outside of SF Pride, and like the latter event, some participants decide that the best outfit is nothing at all.

Here's a cross-section of costumes that caught our photographer's attention.

Reed Skelton, Marina Ramon, Elia Zellweger, Robin Zellweger, Parker Washington, Lori Saltid Negrillo, Claude Zellweger and Renee Zellweger in their Bay to Breakers gear.

Josh Muxen at the starting line for Bay to Breakers.

Bay to Breakers runners Melissa Penwell and Paul Lewis.

Kate Campbell at Bay to Breakers.

Ted Brakob and Kristine Reed at Bay to Breakers.

Costumed Bay to Breaker runners.