PictureScenes from the 109th Dipsea Race on June 9, 2019. Photos by Steve Disenhof.

Brian Pilcher, the defending champ and four-time winner of the Dipsea Race, will have to wait until November to defend his crown, as will the legions of competitors hoping to dethrone him.

Citing the ongoing public safety health concerns and uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dipsea Race Committee announced this week that it was postponing the 110th Annual Dipsea Race from June 13 to Sunday, November 7, the first time in 82 years the historic trail race has been staged in November. The race committee indicated that there was uncertainty around their prospects for acquiring land use permits and Marin County Fire Department’s request that large outdoor events be held outside the wildfire season, which on average ends in late October.

“We want to put the safety of our runners of all ages, volunteers, families, friends and the community-at-large first and we felt it would be too ambitious, even risky, to attempt to hold the race on June 13 with so many unknowns,” Dipsea Race Committee Chairman Merv Regan said. “We apologize for not holding the race on the traditional date on the second Sunday in June as we had hoped, but, for this year only, we are moving the race back to November with the goal of staging a race that provides a safer and more comfortable environment.

First contested in 1905, the Dipsea is the oldest trail race in the United States. Due to the pandemic, 2020 was the first year since 1945 that the grueling 7.5 mile trail race from downtown Mill Valley to Stinson Beach was not held. The Dipsea Race was cancelled from 1942-1945 because of World War II and military operations on Mt. Tamalpais. The last time the Dipsea race was contested in the month of November was November 26, 1939, the latest race date in Dipsea history.

Race committee members said applications for the originally scheduled June 13, 2021 race will now be available in mid-August, nearly three months in advance of the new race date with a new starting time – 8 a.m. Any runners who qualified for Dipsea Race Invitational Status at the 2019 race will be automatically qualified for the Invitational Status for the 2021 race.


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