Dedicated readers of the rabbit chatter blog may recall our series last year on that unique beast of a race, the legendary Dipsea. We started by examining the race’s storied history and by meeting two of our good friends who would be toeing the line. We also examined the unique head start system—arguably the race’s defining feature—which means that a wide range of characters are in contention for the overall win on any given year. Attention was also paid to the course’s numerous hills, which can make or break even the strongest runner and, finally, we examined the various intangibles that contribute to a unique sixth sense we termed the Dipsea Instinct.
After all that build up, though, we failed to tell you how things went down on race day! We are here now to rectify that error as, happily, our two good friends will be returning to Mill Valley this weekend to take another shot at glory.
So, travel with us now… back in time one year to a cool, blustery Sunday morning in Marin County. Over 1000 runners pack the streets of Mill Valley, thronging the Depot as they perform their final pre-race rituals. Jeffrey, running his ninth Dipsea and his last year in the scratch group, has visions of a black shirt dancing in his head. Tyler, running his first Dipsea, is wondering just exactly how crazy this is going to be and how many people he will have to pass to snag himself a return ticket for 2018.
At 8:55a Jeff and the other scratch runners are off, tearing out of downtown and toward the hills and—more to the point—the stairs that will brutalize their legs in due time. 26 minutes later, Tyler’s Z group is finally allowed to start and now all of our protagonists are on course.
Taking his favorite local’s shortcut (don’t bother asking, he won’t tell you), Jeff quickly establishes himself in the front of the race and starts trucking toward Stinson. Tyler uses every inch of his long legs to blaze past people, taking the sorts of risks on the downhills that you just don’t unless something big is on the line.
Photos from Cardiac—a major climb midway through the race—that day reveal both runners in good spirits and fine form, excited for the mostly downsloping terrain from there to the finish.
When all was said and done, Jeff improved hugely on his finish from the previous year, moving up from 99th to 50th place. Tyler, as expected, had an amazing race and very nearly won the his division, finishing just 5 seconds behind a 60 year woman to finish second in the Runner’s section. A fitting end to a first Dipsea for a runner who could realistically vie for an overall win in the coming years.
Jeff just ran a 2:37 debut marathon and Tyler just busted off a 4:26 mile, so it looks like both guys are ready to run nice and hard this Sunday. Could they both earn a coveted black shirt for finishing in the top 35? Only one way to find out!