Centipedes in sneakers, running garbage cans and tray-balancing waiters—they’re all part of what’s undoubtedly one of the wackiest foot races in the world. This annual jaunt, the oldest consecutively run race annual in the world (it debuted in 1912), starts along San Francisco’s bay front Embarcadero. From there, 50,000 participants snake west along a city-slicing route (including the dreaded Hayes Street Hill, where cumbersome costumes can take their toll) to its finish 7 miles/12 kilometres away at Ocean Beach. Anywhere along the route is party time, with bands and musicians playing from doorways, all mixing with the cheering from an estimated 100,000 spectators. Prizes are awarded for fastest centipede (must be 13 runners or more linked by bungee cord or other safe device), including fastest “splitpede” (co-ed), and “minipede” (including runners in ninth grade or less).