San Francisco Holding Bay to Breakers Race, City Making a Few Changes

By Monte Francis and Vince Cestone
|  Sunday, May 18, 2014  |  Updated 8:45 AM PDT
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San Francisco is getting ready for Sunday morning's Bay to Breakers race, and this year, the city is making a few changes to the one-of-a-kind event. NBC Bay Area's Monte Francis reports from San Francisco with more.

San Francisco is getting ready for Sunday morning's Bay to Breakers race, and this year, the city is making a few changes to the one-of-a-kind event. NBC Bay Area's Monte Francis reports from San Francisco with more.

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San Francisco is holding the annual Bay to Breakers race Sunday, and this year, the city is making a few changes to the one-of-a-kind event.

The race starts in downtown San Francisco at 8 a.m. at Main and Howard streets. The finish line is next to Ocean Beach.

One of the changes this year is happening at Alamo Square.

The city has fences surrounding most of the park to keep runners out. That is because the iconic park has always been a popular place for runners to stop, and in past years, neighbors complained about public intoxication, trash, and people urinating.

That is also why you see portable toilets all around the park. The 7.5-mile race draws 10s of thousands of runners, and also walkers, and many people who view it more like a parade.

Some people who attend drink, dress in costume, and some do not wear any clothes at all. City officials banned alcohol from the race a few years back but many still drink before the race--or even while its going on.

The race has a long, colorful history and started as way of lifting people’s spirits, following the 1906 earthquake.

Earlier Saturday, NBC Bay Area talked to a few people preparing for Sunday’s race.

"We have shirts that say 'run,' and I thought that they said 'rum,'" race participant Jaeleigh Mecham said. "And another one that says ‘I hate running’ which is 100 percent true.

"I come to San Francisco a lot for running events, but I think Bay to Breakers is going to be a really fun one," she added.

Also this year, San Francisco police said they are increasing the number of officers patrolling the race by 20 percent.

The southern part of Alamo Square, where you can see the painted ladies, will remain closed until Monday. BART trains will start running early Sunday at 6 a.m.

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