The 2022 Dipsea
Photo By Brock Albee
In order to win his first Dipsea Race 28-year-old Eddie Owens had to study it first.
Two years ago when he moved to San Francisco, Owens knew nothing about the Dipsea – the country’s oldest trail race – other than what he heard from area runners. It prompted him to visit Marin County to meet Dipsea historian and author Barry Spitz, who has written the quintessential book about historic race, “Dipsea: The Greatest Race.” Owens bought a book from Spitz and said he was curious about the fastest times on record in the race.
Apparently, Owens not only read about them, but he appears hell bent on eclipsing them.
With a time of 48:35 on Sunday – more than a minute faster than anyone else in the field – Owens easily won the 111th Dipsea with a race for the ages. He became the first runner in his 20s to win the historic 7.5-mile foot race from downtown Mill Valley to Stinson Beach since 25-year-old Carl Jensen was the last person to win the event from scratch in 1966.
That feat followed Owens’ astonishing Dipsea debut effort last November when he denied Alex Varner of a 10th Best Time Award by finishing fourth overall with an actual running time of 47:47, the fastest in 26 years.
Owens, who grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. and attended Princeton University, obviously is a fast learner when it comes to the Dipsea.
“I’ve run races all over the country and all over the world, but there is nothing like the Dipsea,” said Owens, who was a member of Team USA at the 2021 World Mountain and Trailrunning Championships. “I look forward to coming back for many years and decades to come.”
Owens was given a one-minute head start on Sunday in the Dipsea, a unique race in which each of the 1,500 runners are assigned head starts based on age and gender. With a two-minute head start Paddy O'Leary, a 34-year-old cancer researcher from San Francisco, finished second one minute and 17 seconds behind Owens and Clara Peterson, a 38-year-old mother of four from Corte Madera who was a two-time All-American cross country runner at Duke University, was third. She started seven minutes in front of Owens’ starting group and posted the fastest time (58:45) by a female in the race, finishing one spot ahead of Stephanie Howe of San Rafael, another two-time NCAA All-American in college (Northern Michigan University) who was making her Dipsea debut. Fiona Lyon and two-time Dipsea winner Chris Lundy finished right behind, the first time since 1992 that four females have finished in the Top Six of the Dipsea.
Mark Tatum, the defending Dipsea champion from Colorado Springs, CO, placed eighth overall.
Peterson and Howe -- along with two-time Dipsea champion Diana Fitzpatrick of Larkspur, 25-time Black Shirt winner Brad Byron of Penngrove, and Tanya Fredericks of San Anselmo – pushed the Tamalpa Runners into a remarkable first-ever tie with rival Pelican Inn Club for the Dipsea’s Team Trophy. Alex Varner, Cliff Lentz, Don Stewart, Jeffrey Stern, and John Gardiner were the top runners for Pelican Inn which won the team trophy last year.
The mother-and-son team Elena Shemyakina of Geneva, IL and Mikhail Shemyakin of Mill Valley won the Alan Beardall Family Trophy for the third time and Berkeley High School student Oliver Nickelsen claimed the First High School Boys Finisher for the second year in a row and won another Dipsea Black Shirt. He was joined in that select group by seven first-time Dipsea Black Shirt winners (Carolyn Latham, Benjamin Koss, Anthony Fagundes, Taylor Fortnam, Lacee Phillips, Patrick Wachter, and Ibet Allen.)
Emma Dunmire of Tamalpais High School was the First High School Girls Finisher, and Patrick Green of Long Beach was the first finisher in the race from the Dipsea Runner’s Section.
Diana Fitzpatrick, who won her record-tying 19th Dipsea Black Shirt to match Dipsea Hall of Famer Jamie Rivers, was named the recipient of the Norman Bright Award for “Extraordinary Effort in the Dipsea Race” in a post-race awards ceremony staged in person for first time at Stinson Beach Park since June 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. Robert Alexander, who made his Dipsea Debut in 1984 at the age of 32 when he placed 13th overall, was named the recipient of the Dipsea Demon Award for “dedication, perseverance and performance over time” to honor ” the late Jack Kirk, who completed a record 67 consecutive Dipseas, the last at the age of 95. Alexander, 66, competed in his 38th consecutive Dipsea on Sunday. Longtime Dipsea volunteer Mari Allen, who led the charge in organizing a centennial celebration of the Women’s Dipsea Hike in April, was named recipient of Red Tail Hawk Award for “Leadership, Dedication and Sportsmanship” named in honor of the late Jerry Hauke, the Dipsea Race director for 37 years.
This year’s Dipsea race featured runners from a total of 30 states plus the District of Columbia were entered in the 111th Dipsea from as far away as Maine and Italy.
The oldest runner entered was 84-year-old Norman Pease of Orinda and the oldest female entered was 80-year-old Emma Ulvestad of Mill Valley. The youngest girl entered was 8-year-old Caleesi Beck of Mill Valley and the youngest boy entered was 5-year-old Christopher Ciaschini of Mill Valley.
|The 2022 Awards|
|Champion:||Edward Owens||48:35||(47:35, 1 Minute Head Start)|
|2nd Place:||Paddy O'Leary||50:52||(48:52, 2 Minutes Head Start)|
|3rd Place:||Clara Peterson||58:45||(49:45, 9 Minutes Head Start)|
|4th Place:||Stephanie Howe||58:58||(49:59, 9 Minutes Head Start)|
|5th Place:||Fiona Lyon||59:03||(50:03, 9 Minutes Head Start)|
|Fastest Time Male:|
|Edward Owens||1st Place||48:34||1 Minute Head Start|
|Fastest Time Female:|
|Clara Peterson||3rd Place||58:45||(11 Minutes Headstart)|
|First High School Finisher - Boy:|
|Oliver Nickelsen||20th Place||55:59||(3 Minutes Headstart)|
|First High School Finisher - Girl:|
|Emma Dunmire||44th Place||1:05:32||(10 Minutes Headstart)|
|Winning Team: Pelican Inn Track Club and Tamalpa Runners (tie)|
|1.||Clara Peterson||3rd Place:||58:45|
|2.||Stephanie Howe||4th Place:||58:59|
|3.||Diana Fitzpatrick||11th Place:||1:14:29|
|4.||Bradford Bryon||28th Place:>||1:07:59|
|5.||Tanya Fredricks||30th Place||1:11:13|
|Pelican Inn Track Club:|
|1.||Alex Varner||10th Place:||50:35|
|2.||Cliff Lentz||12th Place:||57:41|
|3.||Don Stewart||14th Place:||57:35|
|4.||Jeffrey Stern||16th Place:>||53:25|
|5.||John Gardiner||24th Place||1:03:48|
|Alan Beardall Award: Winning Family|
|Elena Shemyakina||41st Place||1:17:11||(22 Minutes Headstart)|
|Mikhail Shemyakin||48th Place||57:50||(2 Minutes Headstart)|
|First Finisher-Dipsea Section|
|Patrick Green||569th Place||1:03:21||(8 Minutes Headstart)|
|Jerry Hauke Perpetual Award (The Red Tailed Hawk)|
|"Leadership, Dedication and Sportsmanship"|
|Mari Allen, Longtime volunteer|
|Norman Bright Award|
|"Extraordinary Effort in the Dipsea"|
|Diana Fitzpatrick||11th Place||1:14:29||(23 Minutes Headstart)|
|Jack Kirk "Dipsea Demon" Award|
|"Dedication, Perseverance and Performance"|
|Robert Alexander||1156th Place||2:01:16||(19 Minutes Headstart)|
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