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Dipsea: Impalas continue drive with impressive race finish

Dipsea: Impalas continue drive with impressive race finish
  • Winner Chris Lundy, right, embraces second-place finisher Clara Peterson at...

    Winner Chris Lundy, right, embraces second-place finisher Clara Peterson at the finish line of the 113th running of the Dipsea race on Sunday, June 9, 2024, in Stinson Beach, Calif. (Frankie Frost/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Former Dipsea winner Diana Fitzpatrick (4) of Larkspur, Calif., takes...

    Former Dipsea winner Diana Fitzpatrick (4) of Larkspur, Calif., takes off from the start line during the Dipsea race in Mill Valley, Calif., on June 9, 2024. (Douglas Zimmerman/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

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The co-captains of the Impala Racing Team have chased each other along the Dipsea Trail year after year, as rivals and as training partners. The two-woman race at the end of Sunday’s Dipsea was so much more than a practice run for them, and for the club.

Dipsea winner Chris Lundy and runner-up Clara Peterson celebrated more than their individual success, as Sunday was a major victory for the all-female club and for all the women who run the Dipsea.

“We never entered as a team, so last year we put it out to the team and we agreed it was time to do this,” said Peterson, who has been co-coach with Lundy for the Impalas since 2022. The Impalas were certified as a USATF club in 1980 and have served as a resource for female runners and a force on the track and the trails. “We had a lot of black shirt finishers. It’s been fun to be part of this team as co-coaches. I felt like this was something special.”

The Impalas didn’t take home the team trophy, as they were edged out in a close finish by the Pelican Inn Track Club, but it was still a moral victory for a group of runners who have never competed in the Dipsea as a team before.

“We were trying to get the team award, so that was important to me and gave me a little extra inspiration,” said Lundy after claiming her third Dipsea victory in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 9.35 seconds, with a 15-minute handicap. She had to hold off familiar rivals down the stretch, notably Impalas teammate Peterson, who placed second, just 37 seconds behind Lundy. Julia Maxwell Bailey placed third overall with a clock time of 49:21 and a nine-minute head start. Maxwell Bailey was the fastest female runner with an actual time of 58:20.51.

Lundy’s last win came in 2018, when Peterson finished 10th. Lundy and Peterson finished 4-5 in 2019. Peterson placed third, with Lundy sixth in 2022, then in 2023, Lundy was third and Peterson fifth.

Sunday’s Dipsea witnessed three women lead the field across the finish line, a notable finish for a race that, at its origins in 1905, did not allow women to compete. It’s not the first time women have swept the top three places. In fact the 1988 race saw Kay Willoughby win, with Peggy Smythe, Patricia English, Eve Pell, and Debbi Waldear rounding out the top five.

The history of women in The Dipsea dates back to the turn of the 20th Century when the Amateur Athletic Union banned women from competing in long distance running. In 1918, George James organized the first All-Women’s Dipsea Hike, without calling it a race in order to avoid the ban. Edith Hickman won the inaugural trophy.

The Dipsea’s ban on female runners continued until 1971, but in the 53 years since then, nearly half of the race’s winners have been women, including Melody Anne Schultz, Shirley Matson, Jamie Rivers, Diana Fitzpatrick, and Lundy. And on Sunday, Lundy and Peterson added to the history of women at the Dipsea, with the Impalas charting a course for more generations of young women who just want to run.

“I’m really proud to have an all-women’s team running this year,” Lundy said.

Peterson added, “It’s been fun to be a part of this team as a coach, to help the other runners. We had a lot of strong runners today.”

Lundy and Peterson hit the downhill slopes with the roar of the waves at Stinson Beach mixing with the pounding of their hearts for a perfect soundtrack to the day. Lundy, who had been running among the top three all day, finally took the lead from two-time winner Fitzpatrick of Larkspur just past Steep Ravine, with Peterson close on her heels.

“I would have been fine if (Peterson) passed me,” Lundy said as she hugged Peterson and her Impalas teammates. “I would have been happy for her since she’s such a good runner.”

Lundy was just too fast for Peterson or anyone to catch her as she closed in on the finish line.

The Pelican Inn team was led by Dominic Vogl, who placed fifth overall with a clock time of 49 minutes, 53 seconds after two-minute head start. Teammate Jeffrey Stern (51:58) took 11th place, followed by Cliff Lentz (52:12) in 13th place, Alex Varner (52:17) in 14th, and Jared Barrilleaux (52:44) in 16th place.

Notes

Tam senior Ellery Barnes was the fastest high school girl with a mark of 58:53 for a 92nd-place finish. Barnes established a personal record of 18:15.9 during the cross country season at the three-mile Woodbridge Classic in September.

For the second time in three years, Berkeley High runner Oliver Nickelsen was the fastest high school male finisher. Nickelsen, a senior, placed 25th with a clock time of 53:41 after a one-minute head start. That beats his fast time of 55:59 in 2022, when he placed 20th.

Nickelsen edged Tam’s Max Dunmire for the fastest high school male award. Dunmire, the recipient of the Hauke Memorial Scholarship, placed 33rd (54:32) for his second consecutive black shirt.

One of the most dominant runners in recent years at the high school level, Redwood grad Daegan Cutter, came back from Yale University in time to run the Dipsea. A standout freshman at Yale, Cutter placed 17th in 52:53 with only a two-minute head start.

  • Former Archie Williams High runner Amir Barkan, now at Occidental College, took 30th place (54:17). The 22-year-old Barkan wasn’t the only black shirt winner in his family Sunday, though. Older brother Brody Barkan, 26, who also ran at Archie Williams and Occidental, placed 21st in 53:27. Together, the Barkan brothers won the Allan and Darryl Beardall Family Award.
  • The first finisher from the runners section was Heidi Reifenstein, who placed 574th in 1:19.51.
  • Hazel Wood, 75, of San Anselmo was presented with the Jack Kirk “Dipsea Demon” Award for “determination, perseverance and performance over time.” Wood has participated in the Dipsea as a runner and volunteer for 40 years.
  • Sue Anne and Ross Kokos earned the Red Tail Hawk Award for “sportsmanship, leadership, and dedication to the Dipsea race” after 25 years of volunteer service.
  • Mark McManus was given the Norman Bright Award for “extraordinary effort in the Dipsea race” after battling health problems.
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