Dipsea History and Soapstone Inspiration

It isn’t too often that the Wall Street Journal writes about a trail running race, but The Dipsea Race isn’t an ordinary event. Friday’s Journal published a short story about the race and its long history. I’ve written about Dipsea in the past and hope to run it some day, though the trip to Marin County, California, would probably only be worth it for the Quad-Dipsea a longer version run on the same trail.

Dipsea has long been an inspiration to the Shenipsit Striders. I’m not sure what the genesis was or who was responsible, but the club runs it’s Soapstone Mountain Trail Race Sampler and Soapstone Assault races using a system based on the Dipsea handicap start format. The Sampler was run nearly three weeks ago and the Assault is on July 20th at 9:00 A.M. EDT. I’ll post the application when it is available next week.

I’ve always struggled with the Assault. Six trips up Soapstone Mountain is fine, but it is the five trips down that hammer my legs. On the other hand, the milder Sampler has been to my liking in the past. I’ve even got a 1st place rock to prove it. However, every time I think about the win, I feel guilty. I finished 2nd in 2001 and 2002. One time I was beaten by a 40-something male who had sizable head start (I had to start last). The 2nd time, I got beat by a teenager, again, who had a head start. In 2003, I was focused and trained for the 6km trail race. Again, I started in the last group, but this time I caught everyone. With about a 1/4 mile to go, I had the last runner in front of me, Dick Stoeffler, in my sights. Dick had been hanging around the top three for several years, also never getting the top rock. He was more than thirty years senior to me at the time (in his early 70’s I think) and I caught him to win. He was bummed. I’m still bummed, though first felt good at the time. I see Dick at all the trail races. He is often out there hiking and supporting his son, Brett.

Well, guilty or not. Dipsea has rewarded a lot of “seniors” over the years. This year 70 year old, Russ Kiernan, is a favorite to win. Let’s hope he wins Dipsea in honor of Dick.

2 Responses to “Dipsea History and Soapstone Inspiration”


  1. 1 sfrunner 7 June 2008 at 2:49 pm

    You’re right about trying to get into the Dipsea. I’ve tried several times with no success. And I went to high school in Mill Valley.

    The Double Dipsea is much easier to get into. It’s on Saturday, June 21.


  1. 1 2015 Soapstone Mountain Trail Races | Life Adventures Trackback on 17 May 2015 at 6:50 pm

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