After five years, insurance giant ING is bowing out as sponsor of San Francisco's annual Bay to Breakers race. Officially, all is wonderful. Unofficially, the reason that ING dropped out of the Bay to Breakers race is because of the bad PR the race gives them.
The Bay to Breakers is hardly the most civil race in the world. Even if one ignores the naked racers, there have been a number of complaints by residents of the race route of runners (obviously, not the world-class entrants) urinating, defecating and generally behaving badly.
In 2009 as well as this year, race organizers banned kegs and bottles in an attempt to reduce the issues. They also increased the number of porta-potties along the 12 km route.
It is unclear how much ING paid to race organizers Anschutz Entertainment Group. It was thought to be in the six figure range, however. Next year will be the 100th running of the Bay to Breakers. Here's hoping someone steps up to sponsor the race, or there may be no centennial event.
Written by Michael Santo