Runners get balmy weather and a free beer after Golden Gate foot race

A beautiful morning in San Francisco greeted thousands of runners who turned out for the 22nd edition of the Golden Gate Half Marathon and 5K race. The temperature was perfect for running, around 60 degrees, which made race conditions ideal for this time of year. 

It started at Aquatic Park, along the northern waterfront of the city. 

The racecourse hugged the north side of the city, with scenic views of the bay, Alcatraz, and Crissy Field. 

For those in the half-marathon, a jaunt over the Golden Gate Bridge and back across.

The pedestrian walkway was closed for a few hours in the morning, to accommodate the runners. 

A man visiting the states from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia had his brother register for him a few months back. 

He said he felt lucky to get a spot in a foot race that sold out, sharing before heading to the start line: "I feel so motivated, looking at the number of people here. The crowd, the scenery, the weather, it’s so great! I’m looking forward to it. "

Race organizer Dan Cruz reported over 7,000 runners registered this year, a sold-out event. 

He said," These runners are traveling from 47 states and 12 countries to experience an iconic bridge that everyone around the world knows, the most famous bridge in the world.  That’s truly what provides runners with an incredible experience."

He called the race unique to San Francisco.

A full 20 percent or one out of five are running their very first marathon today. 

It’s a day they’re never going to forget; It was a day Skye Bensch will never forget. 

She ran with about a dozen people, of all ages. 

She crossed the finish line with family and friends, all sporting light blue, long-sleeved shirts. 

The group ran to show support for Busch who’s in remission, after being treated for cancer with a stem cell transplant at Stanford

When she was asked how it felt to cross the finish line with her support team, she said, "It feels amazing to know that everyone is here for me."

Her older brother who was her stem cell donor, held up his medal with the other friends and family, shouting, ‘Yay Skye!’ 

Ghirardelli Square marked the finish line, where runners got shiny medals hanging off wide ribbons that they proudly wore around their necks. 

For the 5K runners, the medal of honor was an iconic San Francisco cable car. 

Those who completed the half-marathon received a medal with the Golden Gate Bridge. 

As for the goodies at the finish line at Ghirardelli Square, there was chocolate of course. 

Canned and coconut water and bananas were offered to those crossing the finish line.  

For runners 21 and older, a free beer awaited them at the San Francisco Brewing Company

Some chose a different type of refreshment, as some runners dipped in the chilly water of San Francisco Bay at Aquatic Park at the end of their race. 

Golden Gate Marathon and 5K winners and place times can be found here

Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter with KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at Twitter/X: AlicesTake Instagram/Threads: WayIseesIt