Barry Spitz

Friday, August 22, 2014

104th Dipsea Race (2014)

104th Dipsea
June 8, 2014

In the 2013 Dipsea, Diana Nelson Fitzpatrick ran 1:02:42 and won by four seconds over Chris Lundy, nine over Brian Pilcher, 48 over Hans Schmid and 77 ahead of Alex Varner. In 2014, with the same head start of 16 minutes—her winners penalty minute offset by an added minute for turning 56--Fitzpatrick ran 39 seconds slower and still won again, but now by 70 seconds. How could it happen?
            For one, hot weather slowed just about everyone. Lundy dropped out during the 2014 Race with cramps. Pilcher, undecided about running at all—he only registered Race morning (an unwritten prerogative of past winners, handed down in lure)—had an off day and finished 22nd. Schmid did not enter. And Varner, though again winning the Best Time trophy, slowed 70 seconds.
             Fitzpatrick stated her racing focus for 2014 was the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run three weeks later in June, so many wondered if she’d take the risks needed to win the Dipsea. As it turned out, by building a large lead, she did not need to take many.
            Only a few dozen runners started before Fitzpatrick. Three-time champion Melody-Anne Schultz, in the first group away (25 minutes) led early. Jamie Rivers, a two-time winner with a 21-minute handicap, took over on the Hogsback. When  Fitzpatrick passed her, before Cardiac, the Race for first place was essentially over.
            Here’s Fitzpatrick’s account:
I was very relaxed going into it [the Dipsea]. Probably the most relaxed I've ever been. I had been doing a lot of high mileage in the spring getting ready for Western States but less speed work than I usually do. I wasn't sure how that training would turn out for the Dipsea but I was looking forward to racing something short and hilly and hard.
The first half of the race went pretty much like I expected. I got to Cardiac in first place and then it was just a question of if or when someone would come up from behind and pass me. It's really hard to get a sense of how close anyone is although I heard someone yell at me from the road when I was down in one of the shortcuts so I figured there wasn't anyone close yet. But there's still a long ways to go from there to the finish and I was very aware that the fast guys like Ricky G [Gates] and Galen B {Burrell] and Alex V [Varner] would be closing in on me. After I crossed the stile and before turning left on the road I didn't hear cheers for the next runner but again I knew there would still be time for someone to catch me. Then half way down the final stretch to the finish I heard you (Barry Spitz) announce that I was going to win the race. That's when I knew I had it.
Given that I won by only 4 seconds last year I didn't go into the race expecting to win again. But after I got to Cardiac, I figured anything could happen and I focused on running the runnable sections as fast as I could and going for it on the downhills. I actually had a lot of fun running hard and fast from Cardiac to the finish.
            Fitzpatrick then went on to run a brilliant Western States, finishing in 22 hours, 52 minutes.
            Rickey Gates, one of the top open runners in Northern California, led the futile chase group. In 2013, in the notorious Mt. Marathon race in Seward, Alaska, over even more treacherous terrain than the Dipsea, Gates ran under the 32-year-old course record (but finished second). Not fully listing his impressive running credentials on his application, Gates was initially assigned to the Runner section and thus overlooked by Race prognosticators.
            Galen Burrell, winner of the Mt. Tam Hill Climb so clearly a great uphiller, also in his first Dipsea, arrived next, nine seconds behind Gates. There was then high drama. To keep his unprecedented Best Time Trophy streak alive, Varner had to finish within 60 seconds of Gates. He did, 38 seconds back, winning Time honors for a sixth successive year, It is one of the most impressive achievements in Dipsea history. Unselfishly, it was Varner who had encouraged both Gates and Burrell to enter the Dipsea.
            Clara Peterson, seventh, won the women’s time trophy with her 59:05. No other woman ran under 62 minutes. Under her maiden name of Horowitz, Clara was a top high school runner at Head Royce, then a five-time All American at Duke. Though living in Marin for several years, this was her Dipsea debut, following the births of three children.
            John Lawson, the defending High School trophy winner now running at Cal, finished eighth. When his younger brother Wyatt Miceli, second in the Runner Section in 2013, crossed tenth, the Alan Beardall Family Trophy was settled early. Jamie and Roy Rivers, despite both winning black shirts, were runners up.
            In an oddity, Brad Bryon, 19th, won his 19th black shirt, and Greg Nacco, 18th, claimed his 18th. They sprinted in and both were given identical times. Eight seconds earlier, Jamie Rivers, 17th, won her 16th shirt.
            The battle for the Team Trophy was tight, the Pelican Inn Track Club edging perennial champions Tamalpa Runners for a second time in four years. It was so close that had Alan Reynolds (6th place) ran for Tamalpa, as he did in 2013, and not switched to Pelican, the team honors would have been reversed.
--Women won only four black shirts, the lowest since 1982 and ’83, when they also won four. Then six women finished in places 36 through 47. For the first time in 14 years, no one, male or female, over 65 won a shirt. 
--Fourteen black shirt winners, places 12 through 25, finished within 56 seconds.
--Tyler Denniston, 23, won the Runner Section by a massive 2:42 over Brett Rivers. Dennison’s time of 51:31 (scratch) was bettered by only four Invitationals.
--At the Dipsea Foundation Dinner on June 6, college scholarships of $5,000 each were awarded to Bella Levaggi, Madelynn Perry, Mae Puckett and Heather Stickle.
--Joseph Biehl (Desert Christian, Lancaster) and Andrea von Eschen (Lick Wilmerding, San Francisco) where the High School Trophy winners.
--Also at the Dinner, Barbara Robben, was inducted into the Race’s Hall of Fame as its 29th member. On Race day, Robben became the first 80-year-old woman to finish the Dipsea, and she extended her own record for most finishes by a woman (43). Robben’s parents, George and Wilma Leonard, donated an easement to Marin County that today’s racers use over the last mile of trail.
--Eve Pell, winner of the 1989 Dipsea, a Hall of Famer and now breaking the Race’s age records for women in their 70s, won the Norman Bright Trophy. Bob Bunnell, second to Jack Kirk in 1967 and still racing, won the Jack Kirk Trophy. Karl Baeck, heading the volunteer team at Muir Woods for a quarter-century, was awarded the Jerry Hauke Red-Tailed Hawk award.
--On June 21, Alex Varner passed Alan Reynolds over the final 40 yards added at the finish of the DSE Double Dipsea and won by two seconds. Varner ran 1:46:18 (scratch) on a course in which no shortcuts were permitted. Sissel Bernsten-Heber, third, had the fastest women’s time, 2:17:19. For the first time in its 45 years, the Double filled its quota early and no same day entries were permitted. 
--In the 2103 Quadruple Dipsea, Dave Mackey won in 3:48:45, breaking Leor Pantilat’s race record (from 2011) by 13 seconds. Ariane Buser was first woman in 5:06:11.

1. Diana Fitzpatrick (56), Larkspur, 1:03:21 (16 minute hc) [1:10 victory margin]
2. Rickey Gates (33), San Francisco, 49:31 (1hc)  2nd fastest time
3. Galen Burrell (34), Mill Valley, 49:40 (1hc)
4. Alex Varner (28), San Rafael, 49:09 (0)  fastest time
5. Sissel Bernsten-Heber (50), Mill Valley, 1:02:40 (13hc)  2nd fastest woman
6. Alan Reynolds (50), Sausalito, 56:08 (6hc)
7. Clara Peterson (30), Corte Madera, 59:06 (8hc)  fastest woman
8. John Lawson (19), Forest Knolls, 51:08 (0)
9. Jamey Gifford (36), Hillsborough, 52:19 (1hc)
10. Wyatt Miceli (13), Forest Knolls, 57:27 (6hc)
11. Stephen Donahue (36), San Francisco, 52:48 (1hc)
12. Mark Helmus (60), Davis, 1:04:02 (12hc)
13. Mark McManus (40), Mill Valley, 54:06 (2hc)
14. Cliff Lentz (49), Brisbane, 57:08 (5hc)
15. Don Stewart (53), Sebastopol, 59:15 (7hc)
16. Gus Gibbs (28), Ketchum, ID, 52:23 (0)
17. Jamie Rivers (63), Mill Valley, 1:13:25 (21)
18. Greg Nacco (54), Larkspur, 1:00:33 (8hc)
19. Bradford Bryon (56), Penngrove, 1:01:33 (9hc)
20. Thomas Rosencrantz (48), Mill Valley, 57:40 (5hc)
21. Bradley O’Brien (52), Novato, 59:41 (7hc)
22. Brian Pilcher (57), Ross, 1:02:43 (10hc)
23. John Litzenberg III (44), Glen Ellen, 55:55 (3hc)
24. Ryan Matz (27), Chico, 52:57 (0)
25. Chris Knorzer (45), Rocklin, 56:58 (4hc)
26. Thomas Taylor (38), Brentwood, 55:05 (2hc)
27. Darrin Banks (48), Berkeley, 58:12 (5hc)
28. Roy Kissin (57), San Francisco, 1:03:14 (10hc)
29. Jerry Edelbrock (65), Corte Madera, 1:09:22 (16hc)
30. Roy Rivers (57), Mill Valley, 1:03:26 (10hc)
31. Joseph Biehl (14), Juniper Hills, 58:35 (5hc)  1st HS
32. Michael Wolford (56), Jefferson, AR, 1:02:40 (9hc)
33. Andrew Cobourn (20), Minden, NV, 53:42 (0)
34. Victor Ballesteros (44), San Rafael, 56:43 (3hc)
35. Wayne Best (46), San Rafael, 57:45 (4hc)
36. Sarah Slaymaker (43), Mill Valley, 1:03:49 (10hc)
37. Tim Wallen (50), San Rafael, 1:00:06 (6hc)
38. Elizabeth Shortino (50), San Anselmo, 1:07:16 (13hc)
39. Steven Katz (63), Larkspur, 1:09:31 (15hc)
40. Ken Fenyo (48), Portola Valley, 59:50 (5hc)
41. Johnny Rutledge (43), Nicasio, 58:28 (3hc)
42. Patricia Shore (47), Mill Valley, 1:07:35 (12hc)
43. Craig Miller (52), Mill Valley, 1:02:37 (7hc)
44. Stefan Laursen (44), Fairfax, 58:54 (3hc)
45. Sara Gigliotti (40), Colorado Springs, CO, 1:04:59 (9hc)
46. Ashley Sternfels (42), Mill Valley, 1:06:00 (10hc)
47. Stacey Armijo (37), Rocklin, 1:04:05 (8hc)
48. Rob Spinosa (43), Novato, 59:08 (3hc)
49. Preston Sitterly (66), Sonoma, 1:13:15 (17hc)
50. Kevin Walker (50), Moab, UT, 1:02:19 (6hc)
--107. Andrea von Eschen (18), Mill Valley, 1:08:53 (9hc)  1st HS girl

Team: Tamalpa (Fitzpatrick, Bernsten-Heber, Peterson, Lawson, Miceli)
1,417 finishers; sunny and warm, sections hot