First run in 1905, the Dipsea is the oldest trail race in America. The scenic 7.4 mile course from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world. (San Francisco) And its unique handicapping system has made winners of men and women of all ages.
The Dipsea inspired the 5.6 mile East Fork race, now 5 + years old, with the same type of handicapping start. Runners start between 9:00 (slower) and 9:30 (fastest) in small groups ever few minutes. Bibs on the front and back with your start position let runners know “who” you are as they pass you and visa versa. If perfectly handicapped and everybody healthy, it could have been a mass sprint to the finish line. (theoretical)
|Love chatting with people. Go figure.|
Waiting my turn to start. A steep 100 meter hill on pavement before leading into the woods. Wondering how hard to run it.
Sue came with me today and took these pictures. It's great to have my biggest supporter with me! Funny sport where the runners disappear into the woods for one to ? hours, while "spectators" hang out.
I started at 9:12 or a 18 minute head start. I was the 22nd runner to start.
- I passed 17 of the 21 who started in front of me.
- 16 of the 36 who started after me, passed me.
- Of the two fastest runners, with a full 30 minute handicap, one finished 4 spots in front of me, and one 4 spots behind me.
- The “handicapped” winner was a 13 year old girl, who started 6 minutes behind me and finished just over 5 minutes in front of me. She finished with the 13th fastest actual time.
So what does all of this mean? Well, the slowest people as well as the fastest are not fast enough to win. And when you spread out 50 people over the course, close finishes are not really common. I really hoped to race some fast young man/woman to the finish as I always save something for the finish. Today I finished at a 4:30 pace, but all alone L.
|My normal finishing face, scary|