40 Years Ago the first Centipede crossed the finish line at the Bay To Breakers

Bay to Breakers features a special team division called "centipedes."  Dwayne "Peanut" Harms and Doug Peck came up with the idea and were members of the first-ever "Pede," all members of the UC Davis men's track team, ("Aggies").   A special division of the 12K race was created in which 13 runners are connected as a unit with a "Head Pede" out front which is the leader of the centipede.  An additional runner, a floater, usually the team captain, is allowed to run along untethered to pace the team or substitute for a drop out runner. Despite the novelty, the centipede race is very competitive.  The record for men which is very fast was set in 2012.  Team Linkedin (photo) clocked 36:44, which is 4:55 per mile.  The same year the Impala Racing Team posted 46:37 for the women's record.  The Bay to Breakers is the official site of the World Centipede Running Championships which is now sponsored by Saucony.  Dwayne Harms wrote, "On May 14, 1978, at the 68th running of the Bay to Breakers, the world’s first Centipede was unveiled to the public. We quickly rolled out the Centipede in front of a crowd of other runners about 30 minutes before the race.  I clearly remember how other runners and spectators that were in the area had cheered, laughed and made jokes about the Centipede once we had all gotten in our proper positions and donned our antennae and feelers. These people had no idea what this group of crazy UCD distance runners were about to do. They had never seen anything quite like it. It was not only weird, but also crazy and fun." Peanut continued, "Now, 40 years after our first UCD Aggie Centipede, I still find it hard to believe that this fun-loving group of runners I trained with, raced with and socialized with for so many years at UCD put together the idea to run in the world’ first Centipede which has now become so famous." 

posted Thursday May 17th