The 112th Annual Dipsea Race, set for Sunday, June 11th at 8am sharp is almost here!
There’s no shortage of prognostication about who the potential winner will 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 comes from Dipsea Race guru Barry Spitz, via the Marin Independent Journal, who calls this year a puzzle given that Owens has been hobbled with an Achilles injury. He taps 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.”
Spitz gives a 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. Spitz also says 35-year-old Paddy O’Leary, who was closest behind Owens in 2022, is a likely contender. The remaining group of potential winners, according to Spitz, includes 39-year-old Clara Peterson; 36-year-old Fiona Lyon; 58-year-old Cliff Lentz, who has garnered 23 top-35 black shirts; 65-year-old and two-time Dipsea champ Diana Fitzpatrick; 66-year-old Joannie Siegler; 62-year-old Don Stewart; 36-year-old Dominic Vogl, 27-year-old Fred Huxham, 57-year-old Darrin Banks and 27-year-old Julia Maxwell, who finished fourth in the 2009 Dipsea at age 13.
The 112th Dipsea arrives 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.