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Puny Power 

Runty cars go for glory at Infineon Raceway

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FRI-SUN 7/30-8/1

Why exactly does the hairy gender hold on to its adolescent pastimes? While plenty of men kill time between prostate exams with computer games and foosball, you don't find many grown women staging Barbie's dream wedding. The best local example of the male predilection for boyish diversions is Golden Gate Park's model yacht clique, armchair pilots who spend whole afternoons guiding radio-controlled sloops across Spreckels Lake. But even this scene pales in comparison to the "Stop.Drop.Race! Tour," a surreal-sounding match at which radio-controlled car enthusiasts watch (or drive) teeny-tiny vehicles as they roll their little electronic hearts out around the track during the NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals hot-rod races in Sonoma. The fastest knob-twiddler qualifies for the national championship event in Atlanta (and wins the admiration of pygmy auto racing fans all over the Bay Area) as the battles begin at 9 a.m. on Friday (and continue through Sunday) at Infineon Raceway, Highways 37 & 121, Sonoma. Daily admission is $10-60, race registration is $25; call (800) 870-7223 or visit www.infineonraceway.com.
-- Joyce Slaton

Run for It!

SUN 8/1

See the sights and get your recommended 10,000-step daily allowance at the S.F. Chronicle Marathon, an annual full- or half-marathon with a 5K Fun Run/Walk for beginners. Early birds start at 5 a.m. at the S.F. Ferry Building. Registration is $20-85; visit www.chroniclemarathon.com.
-- Charyn Pfeuffer

Drama on Deck

FRI-SAT 7/30-31

Two Years Before the Mast is a rock 'em/sock 'em modern action adventure -- set in 1834. That's when greenhorn Richard Henry Dana set sail from Boston, made it the "wrong way" around deadly Cape Horn, and landed in California a seasoned sailor. Actor Jeffrey Paul Whitman's one-man performance brings Dana's story alive on the decks of a square-rigged sailing ship. Whitman's seven characters weave tales that evoke the Gold Rush era in this state and chart the course of a very American story, beginning at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday aboard the Balclutha, anchored at the Hyde Street Pier, Hyde & Jefferson, S.F. Admission is $25; call 561-6662 or visit www.nps.gov/safr.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Kickin' It

SUN 8/1

Whether they're turning out corner kicks or hat tricks, competitors in the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association World Championships are serious about their soccer. This weekend, players from a dozen countries slide tackle, dribble, and bend it like Beckham for a shot at the IGLFA World Cup title. Opening ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. today (matches begin Monday, Aug. 2, at the Golden Gate Park Polo Fields) at the LGBT Center, 1800 Market, S.F. Admission is free; call 626-8000 or visit www.sf2004.org.
-- Maya Kroth

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