The deal between the Dipsea Race committee and UltraSportsLive injects the landmark event, which begins in downtown Mill Valley, runs through Mount Tam State Park and ends in Stinson Beach, with a level of transparency that organizers hope will attract longtime fans and newcomers to watch the event live even if they can’t attend in person.
“For many years people have only been able to imagine what it is like to compete in the Dipsea and now, with Ultrasportslive.tv, we will be able to show people—runners, volunteers, spectators, media worldwide—what the Dipsea is really like as it happens in real time,” Committee President Merv Regan says. “The goal of this partnership is to provide a new and unique view of this beloved and scenic trail race to a wider audience to follow step by step on race day.”
Ultrasportslive.tv will have camera crews stations at the starting line downtown, the aid station on Cardiac Hill and at the finish line in Stinson Beach, where the crowd will be able to watch the live stream on a large flat screen TV. Company CEO Mike Cloward says he’s pleased to be part of the Dipsea Race, particularly since “it’s right in our backyard,” as UltraSportsLive.tv is based in the Bay Area.
“We look forward to bringing live coverage of this event to our viewing audience—it will truly be a special experience watching runners from all walks of life traverse this legendary course,” he adds.
The inaugural live stream of the race could bring another dose of Dipsea history, as Diana Fitzpatrick is vying to become the first runner to three-peat since seven-time Dipsea champion Sal Vasquez did so in 1984.
To achieve that mark, Fitzpatrick will have to conquer a course that sends runners from downtown Mill Valley, through Old Mill Park, up 688 Dipsea steps and the eventual peak at the summit of Cardiac Hill – 1,360 feet above sea level – and then down the down the narrow Dipsea trail through Steep Ravine, across the panoramic Moors toward the finish line at Stinson Beach.
While the Dipsea Race is widely known for the difficult terrain it traverses, it’s perhaps best known for assigning head starts based on age and gender, a time-handicapped event that yields surprising winners such as then-nine-year-old Reilly Johnson in 2010 and Hans Schmid, a 72-year-old retired natural foods importer and distributer, in 2012.
With a 16-minute head start in 2014, Fitzpatrick edged out 42-year-old runner-up Chris Lundy of Sausalito by four seconds and beat 56-year-old third-place finisher Brian Pilcher of Ross by nine seconds – the closest Dipsea finish in 25 years. Alex Varner of San Rafael, a scratch runner with no head start in the Invitational field, passed more than 400 runners and finished fifth last year with an actual time of 47 minutes and 59 seconds. Varner finished with the best time for the fifth consecutive year.