Brian Pilcher, a 62-year-old Kentfield resident, came into the 109th Dipsea Race among the consensus favorites to win the from inimitable footrace, a solid choice given that he’d won it in 2009, 2015 and 2016 and hadn’t participated in the race in 2017 and 2018.

Pilcher, fueled by the tragic death last week of his best friend Mark Richtman after he went missing on a kayak trip in Tomales Bay, conquered the oppressive race on Sunday, running from downtown Mill Valley to Stinson Beach in . In doing so, Pilcher became one of only three competitors to have won the Dipsea Race at least four times.

The 7.4-mile run traverses from downtown Mill Valley, up the 688 Dipsea Steps and the eventual peak at the summit of Cardiac Hill – 1,360 feet above sea level – and then down the narrow Dipsea trail through Steep Ravine, across the panoramic Moors toward the finish line at Stinson Beach. The race uses staggered starts determined by age, gender and past performances, allowing runners both young and old a legitimate chance to win the historic event.

Colorado Springs runner Mark Tatum finished second at , and Alex Varner, despite nabbing the overall best time in the race for a Dipsea-record ninth time, finished third. Sausalito’s Chris Lundy, who came into the race with the chance to three-peat, finished fourth.