Dipsea at the top of ‘bucket list’

Reilly Johnson holding her team awardREILLY JOHNSON WINS THE 100th DIPSEA: Reilly Johnson, an 8-year-old fourth grade student from Mill Valley running in her third Dipsea, held off 68-year-old grandmother of four Melody-Ann Schultz of Ross to win the 100th Running of the Dipsea Race from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach on Sunday.

I love this race! Where else could an 8-year-old beat out a grandmother to claim first place? The Dipsea is also known as one of the most beautiful and challenging races in the world and is the oldest trail race in America.

It has an odd handicapping system that gives me a 13-minute head start on my 17-year-old son. To get into the race – it’s limited to 1,500 for space and environmental reasons – you can either bribe, make up an outlandish sob story, or get lucky in a lottery.

Winners have ranged from the 8-year-old girl pictured above to a 70-year man. “Dipsea Demon” Jack Kirk ran it 68 consecutive years, the last when he was 96 years old. He won the race twice.

Dipsea is a challenging race, a 7.4-mile trail ride with a 2,200-foot elevation gain and loss over the course and 688 stairs to climb. Unlike other races, it offers alternate routes to the finish and with it the opportunity for strategic planning.

The route connects Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, California, a race to the Pacific Ocean. The Dipsea is definitely at the top of my bucket list.

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