Run, Sacramento

News and observations for recreational and competitive runners in Northern California.

reilly1.jpgAn 8-year-old girl in pigtails and wearing all pink won the 100th running of the Dipsea, the country's oldest trail race. But she had to outkick a 68-year-old woman to do it.

See, that's why we love this event.

The Dipsea is an age- and gender-handicapped race, which evens the playing field (although scratch runners, males 18-29, might say unfair advantage) and often delivers unexpected winners.

Sunday was no exception. Mill Valley fourth-grader Reilly Johnson (pictured) won the centennial race with a time of 47 minutes 30 seconds. That's eight seconds ahead of Melody Schultz, a 68-year-old from Ross. Both runners received the maximum 25-minute head start on the scratch runners. (The Dipsea whittles away the head start, by every two years, until the speedy 20-something men take off.)

Don't you just love that photo. Her winner's black shirt fits her like a dress.

Johnson not only won the race, but she was a veritable quote machine when speaking to the media afterward. (Believe me, if you've ever tried to interview a fourth-grader, it can be darn tough to get a complete sentence out of them.) Here's the Marin Independent Journal story on Reilly.

More than 20 local runners competed both in the invitational category (those who have raced previously and qualified to return) and those in the "runner" category (who got in by lottery and started after all the invitational runners.)

Once again, Sacramento's Iain Mickle, 49, earned a coveted black shirt for finishing in the top 35. Mickle, coming off an injury, finished 34th with an age-adjusted time of 53:37 (actual: 58:37). Rounding out the top 10 invitational runners:

  • 113th John Howard Jr., 22, Sacramento: 58:35 (scratch runner)
  • 134th Bruce LaBelle, 54, Davis: 59:37 (actual: 1:07:37)
  • 169th Sam McManis, 50, Davis: 1:01:19 (actual: 1:07:19)
  • 192nd  Matt Talbott, 32, Davis: 1:01:53 (actual: 1:02:53)
  • 207th Jason Howard, 19, Sacramento: 1:02:25 (scratch runner)
  • 241st James Flanigan, 60, Davis: 1:03:24 (actual: 1:15:24)
  • 268th Krista Callinan, 29, Davis: 1:03:56 (actual: 1:11:56)
  • 315th Brian Olson, 35, Elk Grove: 1:05:17 (actual: 1:06:17)

(Note: The dad of the two speedy Howard boys, John Howard, finished 359th at 1:06:13; actual time: 1:12:13. For compelte results, click here.)

In the runners division, which starts after all the invitational runners take off, the top three locals are all sure to have qualified for invitational status next year.

  • Chris Korzer, 41, Rocklin: 1:23:04 (58:04 actual)
  • Mark Helmus, 56, Davis: 1:30:06 (1:12:06 actual)
  • Randy Anderson, 46, Folsom: 1:30:32 (1:07:32 actual)

You may have noticed Your Boasting Humble Blogger listed there among the locals. Yup, I survived another Dipsea. This year, strangely, the downhills seemed more precarious than usual and the uphills just as hard as last year. But the race is still like being on a self-propelled rollercoaster for an hour or so -- fun and terrifying in equal parts.

I achieved my three goals:

1. Make sure I run fast enough to qualify for next year's race.

2. Beat my time from last year (2009, I ran 1:08:47)

3. Don't get injured

So, I was feeling pretty good about myself until going over the race last night with my 13-year-old soccer-playing daughter. When she found out that I only beat an 8-year-old -- Johnson, the winner -- by 5 minutes 11 seconds in "actual time," she mocked me for the rest of the night.

Had she seen the talent and guts that this incredible 8-year-old possesses, she wouldn't have been laughing.      

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