Barry Spitz

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

106th DIPSEA
June 12, 2016

The stage was set for 2016 a full year earlier, right at the finish of the 2015 race. Brian Pilcher had won in 2015 by 1:58 over runner-up Matias Saari. Both Pilcher and Saari knew immediately that, in a potential rematch one year later, Pilcher’s Winners Penalty would cost him one head start minute, while Saari would gain a minute for turning 45. Thus, the two were immediately installed as favorites (and remained so all year) with a close battle anticipated. When the other top contender, Chris Lundy, did not enter due to injury, the two-man battle for first was sealed.
Pilcher, mulling another racing option, ended up registering well after the published deadline, a privilege, of unknown origin granted to past champions. Ironically, the Dipsea Committee had voted in February to end this privilege but decided not to apply the change until the 2017 race.
Race morning was cool and overcast, making for ideal, fast racing conditions. Hans Schmid, the 2012 champion, now 76, went off with the first (25 minute head start) group and led at the early checkpoints of Windy Gap, Muir Woods and Cardiac. (He would finish 14th extending his own record as the oldest black shirt winner.) Pilcher, now 59, set off with the 10-minute group.
“I felt a bit off but when I saw that my splits were good—16 minutes to the (Redwood) creek, 27-1/2 minutes to Halfway Rock, 37 minutes to Cardiac--I realized things were actually okay,” Pilcher said at the awards ceremony.  “When I passed Diana (Fitzpatrick, winner in 2013 and 2014), Jamie (Rivers, the 2007 and 2011 champ) and Hans sooner than I expected, I started thinking I might win. Then, on an easy, flat path, I just fell into the bushes. By the time I picked myself up, I lost maybe 20 seconds. I was then worried about when Matias might come.”
Pilcher actually had little reason for concern. His actual time of 56:28 was 28 seconds faster than in 2015 while Saari slowed 32 seconds. So Pilcher’s winning margin was a comfortable 58 seconds. With his wins in 2009 and 2015, he became only the fifth runner with more than two titles (joining Russ Kiernan and Melody-Anne Schultz, behind Shirley Matson with four and Sal Vasquez with seven).
Saari, again runner-up, just completed a book on the venerable Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks (a race he would win again in September) Third placer Heath Hibbard moved up two notches from 2015. But, barring a change, he will not add a head start minute in 2017. Darrin Banks, fourth, was coached in high school by Joe King, a two-time Dipsea champion. King, who just celebrated his 90th birthday and is the oldest living winner, was on hand to watch. Rickey Gates, fifth, the defending Best Time winner, slowed 35 seconds and now had the second fastest time. Best Time honors now went to Gus Gibbs (9th), who ran 49:23, ten seconds swifter than in 2015.
For the first time since 1977, no woman finished among the first ten, with Jamie Rivers (11th) and 2015 Runner Section winner Fiona Cundy (12th) leading the way. Indeed, the previous worst finish for the first woman since 1977 was sixth place. Cundy and Clara Peterson (16th) were the only women breaking one hour.
Hans Schmid extended his own record as oldest black shirt winner, finishing 14th at age 76.
Joseph Biehl, a student at Desert Christian High in Lancaster, CA, won the high school trophy (male) and finished 23rd overall. But those compiling the awards list had to scroll down to place 346 to find the female high school trophy winner, Anna Levaggi of Tamalpais H.S.
Corey Baxter, 33, of Fairfax, was first finisher from the Runner section. He arrived 581st overall with an actual time of 54:20 (1hc). He was 15 seconds ahead of Clay Bullwinkel.
--Continuing recent upward trends, an all-time high of six of the first nine finishers presently live outside California, and six scratch runners won black shirts. 
--The plank carrying the Dipsea Trail across Redwood Creek in Muir Woods was not put into place until the second week of May, fortifying calls to build a permanent, year-round bridge.
--Jerry Hauke, the towering figure of the Dipsea Race over the past 50 years, died in his sleep on April 14, age 80. Hauke directed the Dipsea Race for more than 30 years, then remained its key advisor. Over the years, Hauke beat back repeated government efforts to alter, diminish, even kill, the Dipsea Race. He, with his sons, personally built the start of the unpaved Dipsea Trail (west of Panoramic Highway) through the section now known as Hauke Hollow. A week before Hauke died, the Dipsea Committee had voted to present him the Dipsea Demon Award. One of his sons, Randy Hauke, accepted it on Jerry’s behalf.
--Also passing away, on August 20, was Kay Willoughby, the 1988 winner, of a neurological disease.  She was 70.
--Edda Stickle, the Race Director for the past 16 years, was inducted into the Dipsea Race Hall of Fame as its 31st member.
--Bruce Linscott, in charge of race day equipment since 2004, was presented with the Red Tail Hawk Award. Steve Stevens, the second runner to earn 20 black shirts (after Russ Kiernan), received the Norman Bright Award.
--Dipsea Foundation scholarships were awarded to Juan Martinez (Armijo HS), Brock Albee (Petaluma HS), Gabriel Carmel (Tamalpais HS), Rachel Bordes (Redwood HS) and Aidan Linscott (The Branson School).

1. Brian Pilcher (59), Kentfield, 56:28 (10 minute handicap), :58 victory margin
2. Matias Saari (45), Anchorage, AK, 51:26 (4hc)
3. Heath Hibbard (63), Montrose, CO, 1:03:11) (15hc)
4. Darrin Banks (50), Berkeley, 54:21 (6hc)
5. Rickey Gates (35), Madison, WI, 49:46 (1hc)  2nd fastest time
6. Galen Burrell (36), Boulder, CO, 49:57 (1hc)
7. Mark Tatum (56), Colorado Springs, CO, 58:05 (9hc)
8. Bradford Bryon (58), Penngrove, 1:00:17 (11hc)
9. Gus Gibbs (30), Ketchum, ID, 49:23 (scratch)  fastest time
10. Alan Reynolds (52), Sausalito, 56:24 (7hc)
11. Jamie Rivers (65), Mill Valley, 1:14:16 (24hc)
12. Fiona Cundy (29), Oakland, 58:44 (8hc)  fastest woman
13. Alex Varner (30), San Rafael, 50:52 (scratch)
14. Hans Schmid (76), Greenbrae, 1:15:55 (25hc)
15. Chris Knorzer (47), Rocklin, 55:05 (4hc)
16. Clara Peterson (32), Corte Madera, 59:15 (8hc)  2nd fastest woman
17. Thomas Rosencrantz (50), Mill Valley, 57:19 (6hc)
18. George Torgun (38), Berkeley, 53:26 (2hc)
19. Ryan Matz (29), Ellensburg, WA, 51:39 (scratch)
20. Jerry Edelbrock (67), Corte Madera, 1:09:51 (18)
21. Jared Barrilleaux (31), Petaluma, 52:52 (1hc)
22. Diana Fitzpatrick (58), Larkspur, 1:07:57 (16hc)
23. Joseph Biehl (16), Juniper Hills, 55:05 (3hc)  first high school
24. Craig Miller (54), Mill Valley, 1:00:18 (8hc)
25. Sissel Bernsten-Heber (52), Boca Raton, FL, 1:05:26 (14hc)
26. Benjamin Stern (24), Petaluma, 52:28 (scratch)
27. Bob Murphy (63), Spokane, WA, 1:07:45 (15hc)
28. Daniel Milechman (23), Mill Valley, 52:47 (scratch)
29. Jamey Gifford (38), Hillsborough, 54:48 (2hc)
30. Peter Callan (18), San Francisco, 53:55 (1hc)
31. Tyler Deniston (25), Concord, 52:55 (scratch)
32. Thomas Taylor (40), Brentwood, 55:08 (2hc)
33. Tim Wallen (52), San Rafael, 1:00:11 (7hc)
34. Edward Breen (34), San Francisco, 54:11 (1hc)
35. Sarah Tabbutt (57), Mill Valley, 1:10:18 (17hc)
36. Chris Banks (38), Kensington, 55:21 (2hc)
37. John Litzenberg III (46), Glen Ellen, 57:25 (4hc)
38. Kristen McCarthy (42), Mill Valley, 1:03:28 (10hc)
39. Kurt Ryan (58), San Anselmo, 1:04:39 (11hc)
40. Andy Ames (53), Boulder, CO, 1:00:43 (7hc)
41. Johnny Rutledge (45), Nicasio, 57:46 (4hc)
42. Elizabeth Shortino (52), San Anselmo, 1:07:48 (14hc)
43. Roy Rivers (59), Mill Valley, 1:05:04 (11hc)
44. Steven Katz (65), Larkspur, 1:10:12 (16hc)
45. John Lawson (21), Forest Knolls, 54:18 (scratch)
46. Mikhail Shemyakin (33), San Francisco, 56:22 (1hc)
47. Sarah Slaymaker (45), Mill Valley, 1:06:30 (12hc)
48. Michael Wolford (58), Jefferson, AR, 1:05:34 (11hc)
49. Stephen Donahue (38), Mill Valley, 56:45 (2hc)
50. Patricia Shore (49), Mill Valley, 1:07:54 (13hc)
--346. Annika Levaggi (17), Mill Valley, 1:15:53 (9hc)  first female high school

1,427 finishers; cool and overcast throughout
Team: Pelican Track Club (Saari, Gates, Burrell, Gibbs, Reynolds)