Attention potential Bay to Breakers revelers: the "San Francisco original" footrace finally has another reason to remove even more things from the official race course. Due to increased security concerns following the bombings at the Boston Marathon, organizers have announced that they will not tolerate backpacks or anyone on the race course without an official race bib.
Per San Francisco police, the backpack ban includes large bags and containers bigger than 8.5-by-11-by-4 inches — which means you'll have to find something smaller in which to stash your Dos Equis and/or bladders of Franzia. This might also pose a problem for the nudist contingent, who will need something to carry their underoos in should they ever decide to cover up. Shopping carts, floats, "large rolling objects," coolers and the like are also banned.
Although savvy folks know that observing from a distance is the best way to watch the shitshow go down, SFPD will also be stepping up security along the race course in the more popular spectator areas like Alamo Square, the Panhandle and the post-race festivities in the Ocean Beach parking lot.
In addition to the backpack crackdown, the city says anyone spotted walking or running without an official race bib will be removed from the course. We've heard some version of this promise from promoters and city officials every year since 2008 at least. And yet, every year, several people drunkenly wip out their wangs for an impolitic pee through the security gate at SFist's Western Branch offices on Divisadero. So, we can't be sure exactly what effect the new policy will have on race participation and public intoxication, even with the slight hint of a terrorist threat wafting through the air like so much urine. (If no one dresses up, do the terrorists win?)
As of Monday, race organizers felt confident that the costumed crowds would still show up. In the past, officials say as many as half of the participants were unregistered runners (including Gavin Newsom that one time). This year, race director Angela Fang vaguely estimates "less than tens of thousands" of people will try to crash the party.