Weather Doesn't Deter Runners in Jingle Bells 5k Run

Runners young and old line up for the start of the 2021 Jingle Bells 5k Run

In the midst of an atmospheric river on Sunday, Sergio Higareda kept his head above water and found plenty of inspiration to finish first in the annual Jingle Bells 5K Run in Sausalito.

“I was trying to win for the Dipsea Kidz. This was for the organization,” said Higareda, a volunteer coach at both of Dipsea Kidz training sites in Marin County. “These kids are our future.”

Overcoming rain, wind, and a starting field of 104 runners that included Marin County supervisor and California State Assembly candidate Damon Connolly, the 47-year-old Higareda passed another Marin runner, 38-year-old Noah Lang, going downhill from Bridgeway onto Marinship Way and never looked back in recording a winning time of 18:57 on the scenic out-and-back course along the Sausalito waterfront.

Ellery Barnes, a 15-year-old sophomore at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, placed third while being the fastest female finisher ahead of Liz McMillan, 42, of San Francisco and 43-year-old Allie Kegley of San Rafael.

Brothers Raul, David, and Alex Grijalba plus Warren Blanco and Davis Fulton – all members of the Dipsea Kidz – placed in the Top 10. All participants were treated to a post-race pancake breakfast in the Spinnaker restaurant.

More than 150 runners registered for the race, which benefits the Dipsea Race Foundation’s Dipsea Kidz program and Sausalito-on-the-Waterfront’s Child Education and Activity Fund program. The Dipsea Kidz is a youth development program available to students at Bayside MLK Academy in Sausalito and Venetia Valley School in San Rafael free of charge. It is fully coached by experienced dedicated coaches. Students learn about proper warm up, efficient running form and healthy nutritional options, as well as other training related specifics. Workouts challenge each student to his or her abilities. They meet two-days-a-week after school throughout the school calendar year. Students range from grades four through eight.

The 5K race capped Sausalito’s Winterfest weekend celebration that featured the free Lighted Boat Parade and Fireworks Show on Saturday.

The Dipsea Race Foundation is a charitable non-profit (501(c) 3) corporation whose mission is “to inspire our community and beyond to support the tradition of the Dipsea Race, the maintenance of the Dipsea Trail, and the legacy for current and future generations.” It was established in 1997 to protect and promote the race and the values it represents. After a century of existence, the race has become an essential part of the community and cross-country running; the Foundation was created to preserve the race for future generations. The Dipsea Race Foundation has three main goals: to preserve the race and the trail for current and future generations, to support the entities and organizations that control the property over which the trail winds, and to encourage boys and girls from all backgrounds to appreciate and protect the Dipsea and other trails on Mt. Tam.

Visit the Dipsea Race Foundation website at www.dipseafoundation.org.

The 111th Dipsea Race from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach is scheduled for Sunday, June 12, 2022.