Gearing up for a new STRAVA challenge – the Dipsea Climbing Challenge


Run up 6,600 feet in three weeks! is the site that I use to upload my runs off my Garmin. I love analyzing my runs, seeing my pace and elevation and giving “kudos” to my fellow Strava runners. I find it really keeps me on track with my training.

I also find Strava’s monthly challenges very motivating, and this month is no exception. The Dipsea challenge for runners, that started this past Saturday, is named in honor of one of the oldest and wildest races in the US, the Dipsea. The challenge is to run up 6,000 feet of elevation during your runs over a three week period.

I figure I’ll be lucky to run half that, but the calf muscles I get attempting this challenge will be well worth the effort. The Dipsea sounded interesting, so I decided to do a little research. It is the oldest cross country trail running even and one of the oldest foot races of any kind in the US. Located in Marin County, California, it is 7.5 miles (12k) long and has about 2200 feet of elevation gain. It has been held almost every year since 1905, and June 14th will mark the 105th edition of the race.


The unique handicap system allows the oldest and the youngest racers to get up to a 25 minute advantage over the fastest competitors. That couples with the permissible secret shortcuts, make it possible for the winner to come from any age group. Previous winners include children as young as 8 and women as old as 72.


The first of several sets of stairs.

The first of several sets of stairs.

As of this morning, I have 642 of the 6600ft covered and 20 days left… We’ll see how close I get to the goal, but already I’ve been seeking out the hills in my neighborhood that I usually avoid. Win/win.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

What challenges are you doing? Would you ever consider a race like the Dipsea?




10 thoughts on “Gearing up for a new STRAVA challenge – the Dipsea Climbing Challenge

  1. I haven’t heard of this type of race before!!! Looks challenging and interesting for sure!!

  2. When I saw the race was 7 miles, it made me think about the “Bix” in Davenport, Iowa. This too, is a 7 mile race that starts at the Mississippi River and treks uphill on Brady street for 7 miles. There were over 20,000 runners from all over the world that participated in this race over 22 years ago when I attended Chiropractic College. I have attached the races web address for you. Thought you might like to read up on it.

    Looking forward to following your blog. It’s wonderful to read about people that ACTIVELY improve the quality of their lives. I will bet you will inspire plenty of people.

    Thank you for checking out my blog site. Motivation is an important key to happiness.

    • Thanks for the link. I like how they call the hills “severe”. I’m always checking out new races – I’m thinking that some destination races might be a fun way to travel and see more places. I enjoyed checking our your blog and I’m looking forward to your future posts.

  3. I’ve heard a lot about Strava, I must go and check it out. Love the sound of the challenge. All the best with it.

  4. Oh man, glad to see some other people are attempting this challenge without expecting to really make it. I’m at 1500 feet so far and I’m already sick of running up every hill. haha Gonna be tough!

    • It is going to be tough! As of this morning I’m at 2300 feet and hills are starting to make me angry. 😉 Can’t imagine doing that much elevation in one 7mile race. I actually stopped today halfway up a hill to talk to an older gentleman fixing his grandson’s pipe organ in the garage. That’s how sick of hills I am… hehe

  5. Thanks for sharing this info, i track my runs with RunKeeper and it always shows elevation but i never really paid much mind to it…now maybe I will start seeing how high i run!

  6. Everything I’ve heard about the Dipsea sounds like such a great time. It’s such fun to pick up on idiosyncratic races when I travel. Hey, thanks for the follow. Hope to have a couple of new and interesting posts up soon.

  7. […] been doing the Dipsea Challenge on Strava for the last couple of weeks, trying to do 6600 feet of elevation while running over a 3 […]

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