2015: Edward Hugo Ran His 30th Consecutive Dipsea Race

Posted on Sunday, 14 June 2015

First run in 1905, the Dipsea is the oldest trail race in America and one of the oldest foot races of any kind in the United States.  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 and most difficult courses in the world.


The race starts on Throckmorton Avenue in Mill Valley in front of the old train depot. After traversing a few blocks in Mill Valley's downtown, runners climb 671 stairs leading up the side of Mount Tamalpais, and then pass through Muir Woods, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Dipsea Trail is the most direct route connecting the town of Mill Valley with Stinson Beach.


Among the challenges facing participants are the Dipsea Trail's uneven footing, single-track footpaths, and almost invariably steep terrain, featuring about 2,200-foot (671 m) elevation gain and loss over the course. The uniqueness of the Dipsea Race course owes largely to the opportunity for competitors to choose from any of several alternate routes on diverging and converging trails, adding a competitive premium for strategy, experience, and familiarity with the course.


The Dipsea's handicapping system often produces younger or older winners, which adds to the unusual intrigue and suspense created by the race's permissible shortcuts, like 'Suicide' and 'The Swoop'.  Most participants, with the exception of 'scratch' runners, are given a head start based on their age and gender.  The oldest and youngest runners are given up to a 25-minute advantage over the fastest competitors, making it possible for virtually any age group to produce a race winner; previous winners include children as young as 8, and men and women as old as 72.


See a course preview and Ed's 2015 Start and Finish in the video.


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