Registration now open for 100th anniversary celebration of Women's Dipsea Hike on April 21

1922 Women's Dipsea Hike

The Women’s Hike registration for this event has completed. No more applications will be accepted

Registration for the 100th anniversary tribute to the historic Women’s Dipsea Hike – the first-ever cross-country sporting event in the United States organized exclusively for women – is now open.

The ceremonial tribute hike/run is scheduled Saturday, April 21, beginning at 9 a.m. from Old Mill Park in Mill Valley to Stinson Beach along the Dipsea Trail during Earth Day weekend. It is sponsored by the Dipsea Race Committee in partnership with One Tam and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The first Women’s Dipsea Hike was held on April 21, 1918 in response to the all-male Dipsea Race, the oldest trail race in the United States and second oldest footrace behind the Boston Marathon.

According to historian Barry Spitz, author of Dipsea: The Greatest Race, the women’s race was called a “hike” to escape an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) ban on women competing in long- distance races.

This year’s untimed hike, which will be celebrated exactly 100 years to the date of the inaugural event, is limited to 500 participants. Participants will be encouraged to wear period costumes from 1918.

In honor of the first Women’s Dipsea Hike champion Edith Hickman, her daughter, Barbara “Bobby” Van Meurs, will be the honorary starter at the starting line.

The tribute hike will end at approximately noon at Stinson Beach, a national park site within Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

A catered celebratory buffet lunch – which will be limited to 100 registrants – will follow at Stinson Beach Community Center. Special guests scheduled to speak at the luncheon are Dr. Joan Ullyot, author of the pioneering book Women's Running who finished 32nd in the 1973 Dipsea race; Dr. Rita Liberti, a Cal State East Bay professor whose graduate paper was “Trailblazing in Marin, Women's Dipsea Hikes, 1918-22,”; and Mary Etta Boitano Blanchard, the female winner of the Dipsea race in 1973 at the age of 10.

Beginning in 1918, the Women’s Dipsea Hike received more entries than the Dipsea men’s race. However, the hike ended in 1922 when it bowed to pressure from outside forces. Church groups believed the women’s hikes were immoral and doctors suggested the hikes ruined women’s reproductive systems.

The 108th Dipsea Race, with men and women competing, is scheduled for June 10.