Location: Downtown Mill Valley (clocktower) to the Stinson Beach
Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1348 ft of Gain and loss
Overall Runs: 485 Attempts By 288 People
CR: Alex Varner 48:01 and Sarah Bamberger 1:00:05
My place: NA (ie not a true Marin resident)
Why: Why? With only 288 official runners, why? Really, you are asking why? Clearly you don’t live in Marin. First run 1905, the Dipsea race is the oldest trail race in America. And if you live in Marin….and you run….then it’s the Superbowl (side note: similar to the Superbowl it takes money and/or luck to compete). Fittingly Alex Varner (blog) who grew up in Marin and has lived close to the start of the race is a multi-time winner of the fastest time (but not the race itself) and has the CR on the mens side. The race is quirky (handicapped, black shirts, and short-cuts) and worth learning more about (great documentary on Vimeo here). However, even if you don’t/can’t do the race the route itself is iconic. Its starts with 3 flights of stairs (688 in total), plunges down to Muir Woods, climbs Cardiac Hill (complete with heart-stopping views while your heart is jumping out of your chest), descends through Steep Ravine, and completes the route at Stinson beach. The race website has turn by turn directions here.
Insider tip: While the trail is technically 7.4 miles long, notice that the segment is 7 miles in length. That’s because on Dipsea day all routes are valid….well thats mostly true as some short cuts are forbidden many are still allowed. That saves those in the know 0.4 miles. Do I know them? No not really. So go figure it out for yourself. Also, there is the double Dipsea and quad Dipsea for those not able to get into the race.