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Friday, July 29, 2011

The San Francisco Marathon: 'Regular Joes' Surmount the Seemingly Insurmountable

Posted on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM

There's an ever-growing divide between spectator and athlete these days. Chances are the "hometown nine" we root for at the ballpark are international jet-setters who won't live here after their contracts expire and can go anywhere they want because they have more money than God. No longer the working-class heroes who had to take retail jobs in the off-season to pay the bills, they're more akin to big-business moguls who vote Republican so the capital-gains tax will remain low. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Well, in a manner of speaking, the answer is "to the San Francisco Marathon," which happens Sunday and whose course is laid out in the cool video clips above and below.

What we mean by the DiMaggio remark is that when you watch a marathon, you're not watching modern-day sports celebrities who make $10,000 a day just for showing up to work. You're watching thousands of real people not much different than yourself. Their story could be your story: They've taken on a seemingly insurmountable task and are in the final stages of surmounting it. So of course you're on their side.

To show as much, there are cheering stations at various points along the 26.2-mile course that begins and ends on the Embarcadero and includes the Presidio, the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, the Haight, and the Mission.

Entertainment includes a surf-rock trio (the Gillbillies), several DJs (including two from Slayers Club), a "David Bowie worship band" (the Strangers), a DJ and art-car combo (Dodo Bus), and an accordionist (Diana Strong).

There are also two half-marathons, a 5K, and a kids' run, in addition to a fitness expo and beer garden. You might see one of the elite runners break a course record. You might support someone you know who's running. And you might start to plan what you'll be doing this time next year.

The San Francisco Marathon begins at 5:30 a.m. Sunday at the Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Building (at Embarcadero). Admission is free.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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