Sunday, May 20, 2007

Born to Run ... or jog .. or waddle

70,000 runners, dozens of "salmon" spawning upstream (running the wrong way), more than 40 Elvises, tutu'ed couples pushing baby strollers, about a dozen "Dick in a Box" dudes, superheroes, drag queens, floats fulla beer, hula skirted folks by the hundreds, ducks, geese, bears, oh my; it's the annual Bay to Breakers!

If you haven't witnessed it, it's kind of like Gay Pride for straight people. With the ruse of athletic competition as the motivation - well, there are some serious runners - most people do a sort of fast walk from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach.

The wonderful thing about living in Hayes Valley is, as soon as the throoping sound of helicopters wakes me, I can walk two blocks, hang out where music's playing (in the new little park across the street from Marlena's), and catch the early flood of runners.

After all these years, I still haven't made it early enough to see the front runners, and the bottleneck on the hill of Hayes Street at Buchanan really sorts the true runners (who take to the left sidewalk) from the fast and not so fast walkers, and the partiers pushing shopping carts full of beer kegs.

Of all the thousands of participants, I found it amazing that I got a picture of the only two guys I knew who were in it. The fact that they were naked may have helped.

I almost regret having turned down their invitation to join them. I've been running a lot lately at the gym, in preparation for the San Francisco Track and Field Club's first Pride Meet, July 7 at SF State's Cox Stadium (where the first two Gay Games track meets were held in 1982 and 1986, and where I graduated with a masters in English/Creative Writing, by the way; got my diploma at graduation ceremonies on the same field).

But there's something about running with my dangly parts flopping about and being over-photographed that made me bow out. Maybe I'll do it next year.

Speaking of nudity, I had seen the opening night of New Conservatory Theatre's production of the play Take Me Out last night. Along with a few lengthy shower scenes, it's a funny and philosophical treatise on sports, bigotry and the nature of fame. Check it out.

You can read my interview with playwright Richard Greenberg HERE.

In the meantime, the only place you'll ever see me running naked is at a semi-private beach.

Gee, I hope my naked pals had somebody to bring their clothes! It always gets a bit chilly by the ocean, no matter how sunny it is.

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