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Age-group superstar 62-year-old Brian Pilcher wins the Dipsea for the fourth time.

Kentfield, California's Brian Pilcher, competing in the Dipsea Race for the first time since winning his third race in 2016, crossed the finish line in Stinson Beach first on Sunday morning to claim his fourth career victory.

Colorado’s Mark Tatum (age 59) finished second with San Rafael’s Alex Varner (33) and Sausalito’s Chris Lundy (48) — the two-time defending champion  –finishing third and fourth, respectively.

With his 4th win, 62-year old Brian Pilcher ties Shirley Matson for 2nd most wins in history (after Sal Vasquez with seven wins).

Sausalito’s Chris Lundy, 48, who began with a two-minute penalty after winning the last two Dipseas, said afterwards. 

“I had a good race today,” Lundy said. “It was a little bit slower than last year, but I felt really good and ran as fast as I could. I like the heat, but it still slows you down a little bit.”

Corte Madera’s Clara Peterson, 35, who finished 10th last year, rounded out the top five. Peterson also earned the award for best woman’s time, and two of her four children walked to the stage to accept her two trophies.

Brisbane’s Cliff Lentz, 54, Novato’s Dominic Vogl, 32, Montrose, Colo., resident Heath Hibbard, 66, Larkspur’s Diana Fitzpatrick, 61, and San Rafael’s Wayne Best, 51, placed 6-10, respectively.

Offical times have not been posted yet.  

The Dipsea was first run in 1905 and is considered to be 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, California to Stinson Beach is also 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.

(06/09/2019) ⚡AMP
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The Dipsea Race

The Dipsea Race

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....

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Refugee immigrant Hop Le and his 18-year-old son, Alex, are set to run the Dipsea this weekend

Hop Le, who serves as chief of the plastic surgery department at the Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center, is running in the 109th annual Dipsea Race with his son, Alex, on Sunday for the first time.

Competing in the Dipsea — a 7.4-mile trail footrace, from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, handicapped by age, gender and previous performances — may not evoke a sense of freedom to most of its participants, but for Le, who has been running both by choice and involuntarily his entire life, that is exactly what it represents.

“For a refugee immigrant to run just for fun instead of away from danger or as a means of transportation is to truly be an American,” he said.

Le, 49, a Greenbrae, California resident, attended Yale University for undergrad and University of California at San Francisco for medical school. He has climbed the ladder at Kaiser during the past 13 years. He prides himself on always choosing the toughest path, a mindset he implores his children to adopt.

Le was born in Saigon in 1969, during the Vietnam War, to a family heavily involved in the war, specifically his father and uncle. He was taught from a young age to stop what he was doing and run as fast as he could when sirens blared, electricity was lost and the thunderous sound of bombs filled the air.

“Parents try to shelter their kids from the ravages of war,” Le said. “They would rush you into the basement until it passed. It became part of my life as a kid, just like going to school. You didn’t know why you had to do it, but it’s what you did.”

When the Vietnamese government collapsed, Le’s family became targets because of their military ties.

American soldiers in Vietnam were faced with a dilemma: obey the White House’s orders to evacuate only U.S. citizens or risk treason and save the lives of South Vietnamese citizens attempting to flee from the North Vietnamese Army.

The family was smuggled by Marines — against the ambassador’s orders — into the seatless belly of a U.S. military cargo plane as the runway was being bombed.

“It was just meant to carry tanks and jeeps,” said Le, who was 5 years old at the time and vividly remembers the day. “Hundreds of us were herded onto the plane. It was very traumatic.

“When they close that hatch, it’s essentially like you’re being buried alive.”

(06/07/2019) ⚡AMP
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The Dipsea Race

The Dipsea Race

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....

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Returning champ Chris Lundy hopes to become only the second person to win three Dipsea Races in a row

Two years ago, the narrative surrounding Sausalito’s Chris Lundy was that she was the best female runner who had yet to break through and win the Dipsea.

On Sunday, Lundy enters the 109th Dipsea Race with a chance to become only the second person to win three in a row. The question about her has changed from ‘When will she win?’ to ‘How many will she win?’

“After winning it the first year, you’re no longer in that zone of just trying to get to get the win,” Lundy said. “Then it becomes ‘What’s the next challenge?’ The next challenge was to try to win it again and that happened. I don’t think it’s looking super likely to win it a third time in a row but I’m certainly going to try.”

Only four women have ever won back-to-back Dipseas — Lundy, Diana Fitzpatrick (2013-4), Shirley Matson (2000-1) and Megan McGowan (1991-2). Only one person has won three in a row. Sal Vasquez won four consecutive Dipseas in the 1980s.

Although three people have won back-to-back Dipseas this decade — Lundy, Brian Pilcher and Fitzpatrick — the race is set up to prevent anyone from going on an extended run of success, literally punishing anyone who does.

As a two-time defending champion, Lundy will be penalized an additional two minutes in the age-handicapped race from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. Normally her age, 48, would grant her 12 headstart minutes but she’ll only receive 10.

“Obviously the penalty minutes definitely come into play,” Lundy said. “Every year you get a little bit older. You hopefully stay just as fast but it becomes more of a challenge to keep the same speed. Other people around you might move up in age groups at different times. Every year you just have to re-evaluate who is starting in each group.

“You pretty much just get as fit as you can and see how it goes that day.”

Fitness isn’t an issue for Lundy heading into the race this year — she has no injuries to report after winning her first Dipsea two years ago despite tearing her ACL down the stretch of that race. She repeated as champion last year while coming off rehabbing that same injury.

(06/05/2019) ⚡AMP
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The Dipsea Race

The Dipsea Race

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....

more...
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47-year-old Chris Lundy wins the Dipsea Race for the second time in a row

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 in Stinson Beach, California June 10.  “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 7.4 mile trail race -- to become the fourth woman to win back-to-back Dipseas. 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.  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.  (06/11/2018) ⚡AMP
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Ashley Moffet loves running up the stairs and through the redwoods at the oldest trail race in America, the Dipsea

Petaluma’s Ashley Moffet has run on tracks, on roads, up mountains and through valleys, but she has never run anywhere she enjoys more than up the stairs and through the redwoods in Mill Valley’s Dipsea Race. The 7.4-mile run is the oldest trail race in America, originating in 1905. The course is considered one of the most beautiful and most difficult in the world for its length. Three flights of stairs, combined as tall as a 50-story building, come near the very beginning of the race, and offer an immediate challenge. Some runners never fully recover from the initial ordeal. Sunday’s running will be the 108th running of the race. Moffet, one of the best Casa Grande High School distance runners ever during her time as a Gaucho, can hardly wait. “I love it,” she said. “There is something special about the Dipsea. Starting in waves is really cool. Everyone is cheering, and it isn’t just at the start. They cheer all along the way. There is a lot of energy from the runners and the spectators. You can feel the excitement.” Moffet comes from a family of runners. One year, the entire family — Ashley; father, Brian; mother, Sylvia; and younger brother, Kevin — all ran in the race. “That was fantastic,” Ashley said. Her father is signed up to run again this year. After high school, she continued to run at the University of San Francisco in both cross country and track. After graduating from USF in 2017, she traveled through Europe running in, among other events, the Zugspitz Ultra Race, a 25K run up the tallest mountain in Germany. “That was fantastic,” she said.     (06/06/2018) ⚡AMP
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80-year-old Russ Kiernan Running the Dipsea for the 49th time

Mill Valley's Russ Kiernan is a three-time Dipsea champion, a member of the Hall of Fame and now perhaps the race's most recognized and beloved figure.  Kiernan's résumé remains unparalleled. His records of 27 top-ten, 19 top-five and 15 top-three finishes will stand for eons. Safe, forever, is his record of 11 Double Dipsea wins. His fastest Dipsea time was a sensational 51:23, at age 42, in 1980. Ten consecutive years (1999-2008), he recorded an actual running time (in minutes) below his age (in years), a feat only a handful of other runners have ever achieved even once. A unique aspect of Kiernan's Dipsea career is that, unlike other of the race's all-time greats, he was never a nationally top-ranked runner - although he was in the mixed horse riding/trail running discipline of Ride and Tie. "I did well in the Dipsea because I have always been a good and fearless downhiller, rarely got injured, and I trained long and hard on the course," Kiernan says. "And I knew the legal shortcuts!" Kiernan taught in San Francisco public elementary and middle schools for decades. It was at San Miguel Elementary School in the City that he met wife Marilyn, a kindergarten teacher, and they just celebrated their 50th anniversary. They had one child together, Kari, 47, and also raised Heywood Bowser, 46, through foster care. Bowser now has two children at Tamalpais High, with Russ and Marilyn living right across the street. At 80, Kiernan, not unexpectedly, has his share of medical woes. He is losing some vision to glaucoma and making a few wrong turns. He's had bouts with skin cancer. He is having a surgical procedure on his leg just nine days before the Dipsea. But on June 10, Russ will be at the Dipsea start line for a 49th time. You'll recognize him by the loudest cheers.      (06/02/2018) ⚡AMP
by Barry Spitz
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The Dipsea is the oldest Trail Race in America

MBR UNIQUE RACES: 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 California 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. (12/12/2017) ⚡AMP
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