THE 101st Zazzle Bay to Breakers is the official site of World Centipede Running Championships

In 1978 prizes were first awarded to a newly instituted division of the Bay to Breakers called “Centipedes,” or 13 runners connected as a unit. That year Centipede founders and pioneers of running fun, the U.C. Davis Aggies Track Club, were named the first ever Bay to Breakers World Centipede Running Champions, finishing as a unit 130th overall out of a total of 16,000 race entrants. Centipedes have been a race staple ever since.

Fun Runner Centipede Rules

Each centipede member registers separately.

Competition guidelines were adopted by the International Centipede Congress long, long ago and are as follows:

  1. Each centipede must consist of at least 13 runners plus one floater who runs alongside, substituting for runners who lose a shoe, drop off the pace or need to make a pit stop.
  2. There is no limit on length of fun runner centipedes.
  3. A centipede may be made of any material that an organization, school or club deems appropriate. However, try to keep it light, flexible and well-ventilated. Allow at least four feet between individual leg segments.
  4. Twinkie feelers on the head of each segment are required.
  5. The final segment of each centipede must wear a stinger of appropriate design and toxicity.
  6. Each segment must be filled with a registered centipede athlete - each runner must register individually.
  7. During the entire competition, all required body segments must be present in the centipede body. If a segment is to be exchanged, the replacement must give the centipede's official password to exclude unauthorized participants.
  8. To re-enter the centipede, a displaced runner must catch up with the body and resume his original segment, which the floater has been occupying. The official password and secret acknowledgment must be repeated each time. If the floater makes a permanent substitution, no other substitutions are allowed.
  9. A Lenichi Turn, a 360-degree turn made famous by two Eastern European centipede runners (Oscar and Igatoo Lenichi) in the 18th century, must be executed at Lindley Meadow in Golden Gate Park just beyond the 6-mile point. The Lenichi Turn must not interfere with other runners.
  10. All centipede members must start together, at the start line, as well as cross the finish line with connection intact.

Centipede Categories

  • VELOCIPEDE: Men only.
  • SPEEDYPEDE: Women only.
  • SPLITPEDE: Coed. No more than 7 of one gender.
  • MINIPEDE: Youth, ninth grade or below, with three boys and three girls.
  • SEEDED-PEDE: Male and Female. See Seeded Centipede below for information. Awards will be given to the fastest seeded centipede.

Seeded Centipede Registration Instructions

Seeded Centipedes must follow the same guidelines as other Seeded Division runners.

  • Register by mail and provide written proof of qualifying times.
  • Registrations must be postmarked by April 20, 2012.
  • Send all registration forms for the group in one package.
  • Race packets can be prepared for individual or group pick-up, please specify your preference in when you submit your applications.
  • Registration forms can be found on our Seeded Registration Page, online registration not available.

Seeded Centipede Competition Instructions

  1. A centipede consists of 13 connected individuals and a maximum of two unconnected alternates (floaters).
  2. All 15 individuals in the centipede must qualify for seeded status in order to start the race in the seeded section.
  3. The check-in area for seeded centipedes is located at the seeded runner entrance at Mission and Main Streets. Any team or individual members arriving AFTER 6:00 am will not be admitted to the seeded section.
  4. The first person in each centipede to cross the finish line determines the finishing time for all 13 individuals in the centipede and the official finishing time for that centipede. The floaters of the centipedes, whether or not they finish with the other 13 members, will be treated as individual finishers with their own times.
  5. There must be 13 CONNECTED FINISHERS in a centipede to win or place.
  6. (OPTIONAL) The Lenichi Turn is optional for seeded competition.
  7. (OPTIONAL) Twinkie feelers for the first person in each centipede, but the entire team is encouraged to wear them. You're way hipper if you wear them!
  8. (OPTIONAL) The end of each centipede should have a stinger at least six inches in length.
  9. The centipede must be no more than 60 feet long, allowing at least four feet between leg segments. Prior to the race start, race officials will measure each centipede from nose to stinger.