Bay to Breakers is the 14th most-run (and the 4th longest run) road race in the world. It annually draws over one-hundred thousand participants and thus we thought it would be a great venue to preach at.
We set up towards the end of the race in beautiful Presidio Park. This would allow us to preach at the ‘after parties’ as well. Not only had I done a bit of research on the race, but I had also grown up watching the Boston Marathon and so I thought I knew what to expect.
The first runners passed us around 8:20AM. They were clearly world class athletes. We began preaching: “Flee from your sin, run to Jesus, etc.” After about 15 minutes the packs of runners became thicker and thicker until all I could see for the next three and a half hours was a sea of humanity coming towards me.
This wasn’t the Boston Marathon. Many of the runners were naked. About half were in costumes – a great percentage of them of an extremely perverted nature. It seems that San Fran-sick-o can turn even a road race into a bath of iniquity.
Whenever a naked runner would pass (and this was every 30 seconds) I would say “Oh save yourselves from this wicked and perverse generation!” The other runners would become so angry. How dare I “judge” them! “Go back to %@#*& church” was their constant request. If you are wondering, “why were they not arrested for public nudity?” your guess is as good as mine.
The after party was unreal. I have never seen sin more openly displayed. Jim got up on the chair first: “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is near!” That drew a crowd. There was about 100 people around us and about 1000 in the immediate vicinity. They were all hostile.
Two or three police officers were looking on. Nude people were walking by. Drugs were everywhere. It was anarchy.
Jim preached for about 15 minutes then I took my turn. By the time I was done there was now a small crowd around us becoming more and more hostile. “Repent, turn from your sin, flee to the Savior.” They were outraged. Sinners love their sin you know. I was sexually assaulted twice while I was preaching and that in plain view of the police.
By now there were about seven officers around us. Jim got up to preach again. The crowd got thicker and more hostile. A cop came over to me, “tell your partner that he’s got 10 minutes. We are here to protect you but this thing is getting out of hand.” I said, “Could you give us twenty minutes? We are not breaking any laws.” He agreed initially but then he started to panic. “I don’t want this turning onto a riot. Get that guy off the chair and get out of here.” By the time Jim was done there was around a dozen police called over. All for us. Thank you Jesus for the protection!
If the Bay to Breakers website is correct we preached the gospel to around 100k people that day. Praise the Lord!