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The Dipsea Race

Sunday June 9th, 2019
Mill Valley, CA
Distance: 7.4 miles · Trail

First run in 1905, the Dipsea is the oldest trail race in America. It is run every year on the second Sunday in June. The scenic 7.4 mile course from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world.

The stairs and steep trails make it a grueling and treacherous race. And its unique handicapping system has made winners of men and women of all ages. Because of its beauty and challenge, it is a very popular event, and because of safety and environmental concerns the number of runners is limited to about 1,500.

While racers enter from all over the world, the Dipsea is primarily a Northern California event and the entry process is tilted slightly to favor local contestants.


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The Dipsea Race

Race City Location Map - zoom in · zoom out · big map
displays approximate race location · Mill Valley CA 94941

My Best Runs Comments

Bob Anderson
This is one beautiful and very challenging course. I have only run it twice back in the 1970's but have hiked the trail many times in recent years. It sells out fast but if you can get in, do it.
Race Date: 06/10/2018 Distance: 7.4 miles
Division Time Name Age Home
Male 47:52 Alex Varner 29 San Francisco, CA
2nd Male 49:22 Mark Tatum 22 San Francisco, CA
3rd Male 49:29 Heath Hibbard 65
4th Male 49:33 Gary Gellin 49
Female 47:37 Chris Lundy 47 Sausalito, Ca
2nd Female 49:30 Diana Fitzpatrick 60 Larkspur, CA.
3rd Female 49:54 Sissel Berntsen-Heber 54
4th Female 50:40 Clara Peterson 34
Division Time Name Age Home
M 40-49 49:33 Gary Gellin 49
M 50-59 50:01 Cliff Lentz 53 `
M 60-69 49:29 Heath Hibbard 65
M 70+ 57:40 John Marks 70
F 40-49 47:37 Chris Lundy 47 Sausalito, Ca
F 50-59 49:54 Sissel Berntsen-Heber 54
F 60-69 49:30 Diana Fitzpatrick 60 Larkspur, CA.
F 70+ 1:14:58 Bridie Dillon 73
The Dipsea Race

2018 - For the second year in a row, Chris Lundy, a 47-year-old San Francisco veterinarian from Sausalito, outlasted 32-year-old Alex Varner of San Rafael and his record-tieing performance to win the 108th Dipsea race.

“But this one was more enjoyable,” said a smiling Lundy, who suffered a torn left knee ligament near the finish last year.

“At least I saw her this time,” said Varner, who finished 15 seconds behind Lundy in Stinson Beach after starting 10 minutes behind her at the start in Mill Valley. “I ran 1:40 faster this year and I still couldn’t beat her.”

Lundy, with an 11-minute head start, posted an actual time of 58:37 – the fastest time of the day by a female in the 7.5 mile trail race -- to become the fourth woman to win back-to-back Dipseas. She joins Megan McGowan (1991-92), Shirley Matson (2000-01), and Diana Fitzpatrick (2013-14) as the only women to accomplish the repeat feat. She also claimed her seventh “Female Best Time Award,” extending her Dipsea record.

“I ran exactly what I wanted to run. It was dead-on,” said Lundy, who is completely recovered from left ACL surgery last June 30. “I was slow last year (1:01:09). I trained harder this year. I thought he (Varner) was going to win, but you never know how everyone is going to race.”

Varner, a Research Director for Main Management in San Francisco, had a one-minute head start in the time-handicapped race where the 1,500 entrants receive head starts based on age and gender. Varner’s actual clock time of 48:52 earned him the Best Time Trophy for the eighth time in the race, tieing Mike McManus’ 18-year-old Dipsea record.

“That’s been in my sights for a while,” Varner said. “One more now.”

For Varner, arguably the best runner to never have won the Dipsea, it was his 15th attempt at winning the historic trail race, the second oldest footrace in the country behind the Boston Marathon. Varner, who placed 26th overall in the 2014 Boston Marathon, has now placed second twice, third once, and fourth four times. In 2013, he placed fifth overall despite clocking a Dipsea personal best time of 47:59.

Chris Lundy with Hauke Memorial Winners Trophy
Photo of Chris Lundy By Steve Blose

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