Mark Tatum of Colorado Springs is the defending champion in the annual Dipsea Race, the oldest trail race in the country. The 111th Dipsea will be held Sunday, June 12. Last year Mark became the first non-California runner to win the Dipsea in 35 years. He is one of 21 runners from Colorado entered in this year’s Dipsea, the most of any state outside California.
The race is limited to 1,500 participants with each runner assigned a head start based on age and gender. The defending champion is 62-year-old Mark Tatum of Colorado Springs, CO, who last year became the first non-California runner to win the Dipsea since Gail Scott of Durango, Colorado in 1986 and the first male outside the state of California to win the historic trail race since Joe Patterson of Queensland, Australia in 1975 by finishing first the 110th Dipsea race.
Dipsea contenders this year include two-time race winner Chris Lundy, 51, of Mill Valley who has won a Dipsea female record nine Best Time Trophies and last year became the oldest female in Dipsea history to post the fastest time by a woman in the race. Like Lundy, Alex Varner, 36, of Mill Valley has a Dipsea record nine Best Time Trophies and has 11 Top-10 finishes. However, Varner has never finished higher than 2nd place as a scratch runner with no head start minutes. Other contenders are 57-year-old Cliff Lentz, the former mayor of Brisbane; 56-year-old Darren Banks of Berkeley; 53-year-old Gary Gellin of Mill Valley; 34-year-old Paddy O’Leary of San Francisco; and 12-year-old Erhan Elliott of Mill Valley who last year placed 13th overall.
This year’s Dipsea is back to its traditional second Sunday in June race date after it was cancelled or postponed twice because of the pandemic. 2020 was the first year in 65 years that race was cancelled. It was not held from 1942-1945 because of World War II and military operations on Mt. Tamalpais. Last year the Dipsea race was contested in the month of November, the first time in 82 years the race has been staged in November.