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Bay To Breakers

Maggio 2009
Bay to Breakers, cioè dalla Baia (di San Francisco) alle onde (del Pacifico). E’ la corsa non competitiva che da quasi un secolo anima questa città in cui la scusa per festeggiare si trova sempre.

di John Rigg

File audio:

San Francisco's Bay to Breakers Race
San Francisco's Bay to Breakers Race

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

Is it a race? Is it a party?
San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers is both: it’s one of the world’s biggest foot races, and an incredible celebration. This year Bay to Breakers brings its colorful excitement to the city streets on May 17th.


Why is this race so unique? It attracts more than 65,000 racers, but for most people the objective is certainly not winning. Charlie Held, a San Francisco resident, explains: “If it takes you longer to arrive at the finish, you have more fun along the way!” The streets are full of wonderful costumes, incredible floats and a team of naked racers, the Bare-2-Breakers. There are street parties with rock bands along the route. We mustn’t forget the centipedes, groups of 13 racers tied together, and the salmons, in their fish-shaped hats, who start at the finish and run upstream. The race is an example of what makes San Francisco one of the USA’s greatest cities. It demonstrates its tolerance for minorities and their right to self-expression.


Bay to Breakers first took place in 1912, when San Francisco was recovering from the trauma of the 1906 earthquake. The race’s name comes from the itinerary: it starts at San Francisco Bay, runs west across the city and finishes at Ocean Beach and the Pacific Ocean – you can hear the breakers, or waves, as they roll up onto the beach. Well, that isn’t really possible because the race finishes with Footstock, a festival of food and loud rock music, in the Golden Gate Park.


In recent years, the festive nature of the event has exploded, so in January the local authorities decided to prohibit nudity, alcohol and floats for this year’s race. The consequent protest by 25,000 San Francisco residents quickly changed the decision. Nudity and floats are now permitted. Alcohol remains prohibited, so the traditions of bar floats serving drinks and racers pushing beer kegs in shopping trolleys is finished. But the Bay to Breakers party will certainly be an incredible experience for everyone.

For further information, visit: www.baytobreakers.com

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race - gara di corsa.

if it takes you longer - se ci metti più tempo.

you have more fun along the way - ti diverti di più lungo la strada.

floats - carri mascherati.

a team of naked racers - una squadra di concorrenti nudi.

bare-2-breakers - lett. nudi alle onde (gioco di parole con il nome della gara, bay to breakers).

route - percorso.

tied together - legati insieme.

fish-shaped hats - cappelli a forma di pesce.

run upstream - corrono in senso inverso (lett. risalendo la corrente, come i salmoni).

earthquake - terremoto.

as they roll up onto the beach - che s’infrangono sulla spiaggia.

pushing beer kegs in shipping trolleys - spingere barili di birra nei carrelli del supermercato.

nurse - infermiera.

attorney - avvocato.