2023 Dipsea RacePaddy O’Leary, a 35-year-old oncology scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, won Sunday’s 112th Annual Dipsea Race on June 11th, claiming his first career Dipsea win one year after he finished a closed second to 2022 winner Eddie Owens was unable to compete this year. O’Leary topped former Branson School standout and Ross resident Julia Maxwell Bailey, 27, while Mill Valley’s Chris Lundy, 52, and Larkspur’s Diana Fitzpatrick, 65, finished third and fourth, respectively.

As usual, there was no shortage of prognostication about who the potential winner would be in this year’s race, particularly after Eddie Owens, a San Francisco resident who grew up in Brooklyn and attended Princeton University, won the 2022 edition by covering the 7.5-mile foot race from downtown Mill Valley to Stinson Beach in 48 minutes and 35 seconds. In doing so, Owens became the first Dipsea champion in their 20s since 25-year-old Carl Jensen won it in 1966.

The prognostication from Dipsea Race guru Barry Spitz, via the Marin Independent Journal, called this year a puzzle since Owens was
hobbled with an Achilles injury. Spitz tapped two-time Dipsea champion Chris Lundy (age 52, 14-minute handicap) as the only runner among last year’s top eight (sixth) to gain a pair of head starts, “one for turning 52 and one for dropping her Winners Penalty from 2018.” Lundy ended up finishing third.

Spitz gave a pre-run secondary nod to a perennial bridesmaid, as 37-year-old Alex Varner has won the Best Time Trophy a record nine times but has never finished first overall. Varner, consistently facing a handicap with runners in front of him with a healthy head start,  ended up finishing 13th. Spitz predicted that O’Leary, who was closest behind Owens in 2022, was a likely contender. The remaining group of potential winners, according to Spitz, included 39-year-old Clara Peterson, who finished fifth; 58-year-old Cliff Lentz, who has garnered 23 top-35 black shirts and finished 8th; 65-year-old and two-time Dipsea champ Diana Fitzpatrick, who finished 4th; 36-year-old Dominic Vogl, who finished 10th; and 27-year-old Julia Maxwell Bailey, who finished 2nd, and was once a 4th place winner in the 2009 Dipsea at age 13.

The 112th Dipsea arrived amid some sadness in the wake of the the recent passing of Hans Schmid, who holds the distinctions of being both the oldest runner to win the Dipsea Race and the oldest to receive a black shirt for a top-35 finish. Schmid died on May 24 at the age of 83. Schmid, a longtime resident of Greenbrae, was known for his gregarious spirit and his sense of humor in addition to his exploits as a decorated marathon runner, the IJ reported.

Schmid’s passing comes on the heels of the death of fellow Dipsea legend Paul Russell ‘Russ’ Kiernan, one of the most iconic runners in Dipsea Race history, who at 84 died in November 2022 after a long illness. Kiernan was a three-time Dipsea Race winner and a member of the Dipsea Race Hall of Fame.

From the San Francisco Chronicle, here’s an excellent rookie’s guide to surviving the Dipsea, the Bay Area’s grueling, legendary race


All photos by Steve Disenhof Photography.

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