San Francisco News

Security heightened at annual Bay to Breakers race in SF

Sunday, May 19, 2013
Female winner of Bay to Breakers race: Diane Nukuri-Johnson Bay to Breakers

In the shadow of the Boston Marathon bombings, San Francisco officials took no chances. It was hard not to spot the new security measures at the 102nd Bay to Breakers race. Still, not everyone there decided to follow the rules.

Bay to Breakers is not just a race. It's a massive party too. SKY7 HD showed the crowd of about 80,000 runners; of which, only about a third paid to run. The crowd looked like a giant colored caterpillar as it threaded through the center of San Francisco

At every point along the race there were San Francisco police officers, San Francisco sheriff's deputies, park police, and cameras.

"There are cameras throughout the race from the beginning all the way to the end," SFPD Captain Greg McEachern said.

Since the Boston Marathon bombing, security has increased at races like this. According to San Francisco police, this race has had more security than any other previous Bay to Breakers.

The specter of Boston shadowed many runners who decided not to give in to fear and enjoy this spectacle. Like Troy Thiele who came with his wife and toddler.

"Terrorists win if they prevent people from living the lives that they want to live," Thiele said. "And the bottom line is we wanted to have an enjoyable family day together for our son's first Bay to Breakers."

Some spectators along the course are still uneasy after the Boston attack.

"I feel a little more on edge," spectator Elizabeth Crockett said. "And you know I probably shouldn't, I don't need to, but you know I feel a little more on edge."

The rules for this year prohibited floats and alcohol. We didn't see any floats.

But on Hayes Street Hill, a gauntlet of private security members confiscated hundreds of suspected alcohol containers, pouring out the contents.

Fewer drunks meant fewer problems for police. Security was obvious all along the course. Bomb sniffing dogs from at least 16 agencies including the FBI and other federal government K9's were brought in to sniff the course.

"We divided all the teams throughout the route and everybody is responsible for a section of the route," SFPD Officer Matthew Maciel said.

And at the Great Highway finish line, a camera mounted on the police mobile command center swept the area constantly looking for any suspicious activity.

Police were pleased with this year's race. 16 people had to be sent to sobering tents. 21 people actually went to county jail for public intoxication. They'll be released once they're sober.

Police made two arrests; one for possession of a firearm and another for felony robbery. One officer was injured making one of those arrests.

First-time racer wins Bay to Breakers

Taking on the streets of San Francisco for the first time ever, Ethiopian Tolossa Gedefa Fufi placed first at the 2013 Bay to Breakers, completing the 7.46-mile course in 35 minutes and 1 second. At 21, Fufi was one of the youngest elite runners in the field.

The second fastest in the men's competition was American Ryan Hall, with a course time of 35 minutes and 40 seconds.

The battle for first place amongst the women was close. Burundi athlete Diane Nukuri-Johnson finished first, running the course in 40 minutes and 12 seconds. She won second place last year.

Adrienne Herzog of the Netherlands came in second with a time of 40 minutes and 42 seconds.

Nukuri-Johnson's last race was the Boston Marathon. She spoke to ABC7 News about what makes Bay to Breakers so unique, and why she'll return again.

"Bay to Breakers is special because there are so many people with costume," she said. "It's like Halloween to me, the city is awesome and everyone here is just so nice and I have nothing but a great experience when I come here."

For a list of the full race winners, click here.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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bay to breakers, boston bombings, alcohol, muni, driving, SFPD, FBI, greg suhr, travel, tourism, competition, san francisco news
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