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A Partier's Guide to Bay to Breakers

Everything you need to know about avoiding runners (and the hangover) from a seasoned Bay to Breakers partier.

We ask veteran Bay to Breakers partier Lauren Murray to tell us everything you need to know if you plan on ditching the running shoes to party your way through the day.

San Francisco magazine: How long do you prepare for Bay to Breakers?
Lauren Murray: Mentally? Months. Once Christmas comes and goes I begin thinking about the day that rolls around every 3rd Sunday of May—I am not joking that it's my favorite day of the year. In terms of costume and logistics (pre-game, starting location, and such), about 2-3 weeks before. Usually some bad ideas for a group theme are thrown around for months before we finally decide. I always put an extra $20 bill in my shoe. There is always that friend that loses their wallet, their phone and themselves. Having that extra $20 for a cab/bus/hangover supplies can save you from walking the 8 miles back to Caltrain looking like a zombie.

What's your costume this year? 
This year I'm going as "Where's Waldo" with a group of friends. Last year we went as the Magic School Bus complete with our own bus and Miss Frizzle. Current events are great ideas for costumes. A few years back there were a lot of black swans and Avatar characters. This year I know a few people going as Lyft and Snapchat…I’m curious to see how Snapchat pans out.

How do you spend your day start to finish? Party tips or secrets?  
10:00 pm the night before: final preparations (snacks, beverages, costume)
5:30 am: wake up to shower, final costume prep, eat
6:00 am: pregame
6:45 am: leave apartment to join the “race”
7:30 am: first pic with creepy nude man wearing wrestling mask
9:30 am: take picture with salmon swimming up stream
10-11 am: forgotten 3 miles
11:00 am: play and dance in the park for awhile
1:00 pm: play at the beach and recover

There are a few stops you should make:

1. The start: This is something you should at least do once. They throw around tortillas and there are plenty of wine bags floating around. This is a great way to get excited about what’s to come.

2. Alamo Square: After walking up the big hill, this is a great place to park it for a little bit and dance with the green men. You can refuel on your beverage of choice and possibly recover some stragglers you lost along the way. There are tons of bands playing at Alamo.

3. Panhandle: Same as above, not only are there quite a few bathrooms in this area but by the time you get here people are at the pinnacle of B2B craziness. Participants have been drinking for hours, it’s starting to get warm, and everyone is best friends.

4. Golden Gate Park: Hotdogs and music. All you need at this point.

5. The beach: If you make it to this point alive it’s time to finish off whatever alcohol you have and jump in the water. You have a huge trek home, so why rush it? Knowing that you have a full 364 days until the next B2B will have you celebrating on the beach for hours. Peninsula people, it’s time to go home to your yards and quiet neighborhoods. San Francisco, the party isn’t over!

What's your recovery method?
Recovery begins during the race. It is essential to bring along a Gatorade, snacks and Advil. Around noon, you may or may not be reemerging from your "blackout" so having these supplies on hand is necessary. Hydration is key. The inevitable 9 pm-3 am hangover is also something you need to prepare for. Have water and Advil on hand.

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