2021 Dipsea Race

Scenes from the 110th Dipsea Race, featuring winner Mark Tatum, at top center, followed by 2nd place finisher Dan King and third place runner, and defending champion Brian Pilcher. Photos by Steve Disenhof.

In the midst of the oddity that has been the past 20 months, including a coronavirus-induced cancellation of the 2020 edition of the Dipsea Race and a postponement of the 2021 race from its planned June 13th launch to Nov. 7, Sunday left some room for yet another rarity.

Mark Tatum, a 61-year-old Colorado Springs resident, became the first non-Californian to win the Dipsea since Gail Scott of Durango, Colorado in 1986 and the first male outside the state of California to win the historic trail race since Joe Patterson of Queensland, Australia in 1975 on Sunday.

In doing so, Tatum topped a pair of decorated competitors. He outran an impressive field that included the runner-up, 62-year-old Dan King of Boulder, Colo, who last month in Boston was the 60+ winner in the Masters National Cross Country Championships. Tatum and King were followed closely behind by four-time and defending Dipsea Race champion Brian Pilcher, 65, of Kentfield, who last weekend set seven American Records in the same race – the River Oaks Invitational Marathon in Houston, Tx.

Tatum, running with a 13-minute handicap, also bested scratch runner Eddie Owens, a 28-year-old  resident of Larkspur, who posted the fastest time (47:48) in the 7.4 mile race from downtown Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. Two-time Dipsea champion Chris Lundy of Mill Valley posted the fastest time (1:01.25) and highest finish (eighth) by a female.

“I’m a mountain runner and that’s where I caught the leaders,” Tatum told the Marin IJ after crossing the finish line at Stinson Beach in the 110th Dipsea. “I felt real comfortable on all the downhills and that’s where my advantage is.”

The race was basically a three-person contest as they neared the final slope on the historic trail, the IJ reported. Pilcher took the lead as he reached Cardiac, the highest point in the course at 1,360 feet. King, running second, and Tatum were trying to keep pace with the defending champion. By the time they reached the bottom of Steep Ravine, Tatum had passed King and was closing in on Pilcher.

The Quad Dipsea is scheduled for Nov. 27, while the Dipsea is expected to return to its usual schedule in June. This was, however, not the first time the Dipsea was run so late in the year. In fact, the first Dipsea was held in November, according to the IJ.

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