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Who We Are


The DIPS Run Club is a "Running Club of dedicated fitness enthusiasts committed to becoming well oiled trail racing machines." (from the original Yahoo Group).


Named in honor of the famous Dipsea Trail that runs from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach, the Dips Run Club was formed by a group of runners who love to run trails, especially the Dipsea. Dips members come in all shapes, sizes and skill levels. We're not the fastest, but then again, we run on some of the most beautiful trails in the Bay Area, so what's the rush?

And more often than not, on the second Sunday of the winter and spring months, you'll find us on the beloved Dipsea Trail, with its famous 676 steps, the first set of which are shown on the right. And if we're really lucky, you'll find us there on the second Sunday in June, which is when the famed Dipsea race takes place. It's the second oldest footrace in the country (next to the Boston Marathon), and an event for which the Dips are constantly training.

We plan our runs and engage in some playful banter (otherwise known as trash talk) on a formerly Yahoo and now Google Group. Let us know if you'd like an invitation, but there ARE rigorous entrance criteria (pulse, breathing, able to laugh at oneself). We also have a Facebook page.

So there's a little background on the Dips Run Club. . . Now get RUNNING!


2005 Relay

The First Dipsea: For DIPS that is. The 1998 race was the first Dipsea with (future) DIPS participation. Old Yoga Guy, Coach Tommy and OTC make it through the unpredictable and unforgiving application process. In a cruel twist of Dipsea irony, Captain Marty doesn't make it in and sits on the sidelines, despite organizing this first group.

It Ain't Over Till The Fat Lady Runs: In the 1999 Dipsea, Old Yoga Guy, Coach Tommy and Captain Marty make it in. Unfortunately, Captain Marty, no doubt jaded from his 1998 experience, doubts he'll get in, and only begins training after he receives his acceptance notice. One month later, he runs over two hours, narrowly beating a runner described by Old Yoga Guy as the "fat lady". This incident will go on to haunt Captain Marty at future runs and family reunions.

The Catch: No, not that one. This one involves two of the DIPS' fastest runners, OTC and Raybo, and took place during the 2003 Dipsea. With old man Raybo's two minute, age-adjusted head start in front of OTC, the last thing he expected to see at the bottom of Steep Ravine was the sight of OTC. OTC had run a brilliant race, working his way through the pack, picking off runners and eating up that two minute head start, and was on the verge of passing Raybo. At one point on the downhill, beyond the Swoop, Raybo took a wrong turn, and ran an unnecessary loop, about 25 yards off course. Just as Raybo emerged from this unfortunate detour, OTC passed him. After loudly yelling out "F*$#," Raybo sprinted after OTC, and closely followed him all the way to the beach, in what felt like a full sprint. Just seconds before the tape, with the crowd roaring, Raybo kicked past OTC with the words "make it happen, Chris" and crossed the line 2 seconds ahead. OTC had the better time, but Raybo had the better story. Maybe this one should be called "The Catch. . . and the Pass."

The Battle of Words at the Stadium: As we climbed the bleachers at the Stanford Stadium, two voices got louder and louder. FSteve and Raybo started to discuss the unfortunate choice of a group of individuals Raybo observed performing in blackface at an elderly woman's birthday party. The result of the discussion? An opinion from the New York Times famed "The Ethicist" colmunist, Randy Cohen.

2003 Providian Relay

Sponge Bob is on the Bridge!!!: These immortal words were uttered by Golden Gate Bridge/Relay security during the 2003 Providian Relay. FSteve, in his infinite wisdom and inspiration, provided not one but TWO Sponge Bob costumes, one for each Van. Steve wore his across the bridge, provoking the immortal phrase above. Since this race, DIPS runner 6 has fulfilled the tradition of wearing a costume across the bridge.

No Guts, No Glory: During the 2005 King's Mountain 1/2 Marathon, Coach Tommy severely twisted his ankle just after the turnaround, with more than 6 miles left in the race. Through sheer determination, Coach Tommy refused to stop, and hobbled all the way to the finish line. Although his bravado would cost him (he wasn't able to run for the next 9 months), this is the kind of gutty performance that symbolizes the DIPS philosophy.

Stadium Black Ops

LaRon: No, it's not a French 10k specialist. Its' the amalgamation of DIPS Relay runners Lance and Ron born out of necessity during the 2005 Relay. With essentially only one set of good calves between the two of them, each ran 1 1/2 of the legs assigned to Runner 9 that year. So uncanny was their resemblance, only photographic evidence could show that they were indeed two different people.

Escape From the Golf Cart Guy: Wednesday, November 23, 2005. Our last day at Stanford Stadium before they renovated it. 8 DIPS spend the morning running from a security guard in a golf cart who was protecting the Stadium from illegal bleacher climbers. It would be our last hurrah at the nauea-causing stadium workout.

At the Finish, Dipsea 2006

A Banner Race: For the 2006 Dipsea, more DIPS made it into the Great Event than any previous year. Captain Marty, Coach Tommy, LSD, Raybo, TYSMIHA, and Mary Lou were all benefactors of a particularly successful (and lucky) application campaign. Raybo and Mary Lou both raced well enough to receive invitational status for the 2007 race. Raybo set the Dips record with a non-adjusted time of 1:08:31.

July 4th Showdown

It "Runs" In The Family: During the 2006 4th of July "Fun" Run, the daughters of Captain Marty and Coach Tommy participated in a finish more exciting than anything their dads could muster. After running over 3.5 miles, "Coach" was doing her best to fend off her friendly rival, while "Captain" was doing all she could to reel her in as the finish line approached. The result was a photo finish, with a shared award for First Place in their Division. The next generation of DIPS is off to a good start.

FSteve's Quest: The Date: May 3, 2007; The Quest: fullfill a New Year's resolution by completing an entire trail marathon; The Result: 28.12 miles of mixed trail and pavement, 5471 feet of vertical, sore and cramping muscles, but SURVIVAL! A solo trail marathon put up as a benchmark for the DIPS, matching Alex's earlier feat. The Question: with or without hydration?

Alex's Yoga Marathon: Alex, on a whim, embarks on what would be a 28.22 mile solo trail marathon with an almost nausea inducing 8262 feet of vertical. Kept going after 26 miles with the help of some "yoga stretching." The money quote: "It was strangely fun but I'm not ready to go that far again for awhile and I still have to ask myself What Was I Thinking???"

Relay 2007: DIPS II Batters DIPS I: Despite the Run-o-meter's projections, DIPS I, made up of the pantheon of DIPS stars, finishes 43 minutes in arrears of DIPS I in Santa Cruz. Predicted to pass DIPS II on Highway 9, the members of DIPS I could only watch from afar, awaiting their lonely runner 12, as DIPS II accepted their victory medals at the end of this titanic struggle.

Shucking the Oyster: In the inaugural (for the DIPS anyway) urban adventure race known as the San Francisco Oyster, the DIPS entered two teams and finished 11th and 12th in the coed division despite some extreme mishaps along the way. 2008 should bring refined technique (e.g. improved reading skills and puncture proof tubes) and higher places!

What??? DIPS II over DIPS I Again???: Yes indeed! DIPS II sets the modern day DIPS Relay record with an outstanding 27 hours, 20 minutes, 59 seconds, ensuring that yet again DIPS I is relegated to runner-up status. The 2008 Relay was unfortunately marred by injuries to key members of each team (at the exact same transition!), but the DIPS soldiered through and finished strongly.

The 2008 Dipsea

2008 Dipsea - Revenge of the Trail: Despite the courageous efforts of four brave DIPS, the Dipsea Trail would be the victor on this day. On a hot day, with Roy Rivers finally breaking through for the overall victory, Raybo, Mary Lou, Jeff, and LSD ran hard and ran fast but will all be in the Runner's Group next year.

2008 July 4th Race: And a Child Shall Lead Them...: Running with his dad most of the way, NEVER stopping to rest, Owen Mylod Yee finishes second in his age division in the annual July 4th Fun Run, carrying on the proud legacy of his sister.
Owen 2nd in 2008 Fun run

2009 Relay - DIPS 1 Dominates!:

2009 Dipsea Race - Invitational For Gary and Anders, and for the rest...:


A Baker's Dozen! Can You Spot LaRon?

LSD: Known for Long Slow (but getting faster) Distance runs. Also known as Squelch, Squelcher, and The Squelchmeister. He also blogs about his passion (obsession?) here and here.

FSteve: (Not what you think... "F" short for "Franken")Takes 40+ running to a new level. Often followed by hairy black runner.

Pace Boy: Newest, fastest member of the group. Has the genetics to win the Dipsea

Mary Lou: Named for two particularly horrific but graceful tumbles on the trail. Known for sprinting uphill with calf injuries. Captain for Life. Also known as Darth for his irrational decision to go the Dark Side occasionally and run on the road. Read more about his runs here.

TYSMIHA: Stands for "Thank You Sir May I Have Another". Uttered these words (or reasonable facsimile) after voluntarily being shocked with one of these. Stepped up bigtime as Runner 10 in the last TWO relays. Has alarm clock issues.

2004 Saturn Relay

Coach Tommy: Founder of the club, started original Yahoo group, continues to kick ass on the trail, helluva chef. Won Best Margarita in the World award, August 2008.

RayBo: Set the new DIPS Dipsea standard in 2006. He says core training, we say BALCO

OTC: Known for his "Off The Couch" ways, will challenge for Runner 10 in the 2007 Relay. Also Switchback founder & crazy good 4 wheeler.

Bathrobe: Although he set the DIPS per mile pace record in the Relay in 2004, his performance in 2006 will be remembered primarily for getting blown away by a female runner on Foothilll Expressway due primarily to his choice of running attire.

Captain Marty: Plodding uphill (and downhill) since 1999. Provides emergency medical assistance (i.e. calls the helicopter).

Old Yoga Guy: Used to run with us, but know sits around "posing" and coming up with new DIPS acronyms (e.g. Dilapidated Insipid Posing Sibling)

Roo: Sees the Wall in his sleep. Primary keeper of the Run-O-Meter

Jeff: Legendary performer in the 2007 Relay, not only for his devastating Runner 10 legs, but for doing the event one brief week after the birth of his second child.

Alex: Ran an incredible solo trail marathon... on a whim! Some "yoga stretches" pulled him through. Noted for his hydration pack and blazing starts.

DIpsea Diva: or Awesome Autumn... novice trail runner who has demonstrated her natural ability first on some powerful Relay legs, then a triumphant CAB, then a powerful Windy Hill Loop. Thought to be honing her skills for a run at some of the serious races in the DIPS pantheon, but also has natural sandbagging ability, so no one knows for sure.

Gary (and Holly): Has taken the running quality of the team to an entirely new level. Formerly an elite hill climbing bicyclist, Gary has taken the local trail running scene by storm, setting course record after course record and reaching heights no DIPS member has gone before. Black Shirt material.

Holly (and Gary): The other half of the hill climbing duo (spare yourself the embarrassment - don't ask her her OLH time), she's making a smooth transition to trail running, learning the art of belly breathing and completing the recent Skyline 50K with aplomb.

Paul: Another drop dead fast runner who needs a nickname. Stays in Gary's wake on race day, i.e., ahead of most other runners. Fought through full body cramps on the Skyline. Don't count him out for a Black Shirt.

Alistair: OMG, another biker turned trail runner who is shaking up the standings every race. Famous for bombing downhill suicidally.

The Dude: Shows up occasionally, kicks tail often. Famously featured in a Sacramento Bee blog posting. This Dude does NOT abide.

The Dude Not Abiding

Favorite DIPS Trail Runs

Huddart: A veritable trail running playground right in our own backyard. Easy access to adjacent Phleger Estate, with some of the best trail runs on the Peninsula. Meet here at the "Parking Pad" here. Car only stolen once! Here's a great trail mapfor both Huddart and Phleger. Highlights include:

  • The Loop - A Dips staple. Richard's Rd. to the Phleger Entrance, then at the Crossroads, take Redondo up and Raymundo down to form the loop. Redondo is sometimes used to gage a Dips general trail-running performance. Pad to Pad: 8.6 miles.
  • Lonely - Start out like The Loop, but at the top of Redondo, take the Lonely Trail up to Skyline. Too many options down to list.
  • Richard's Road - The fastest way to Skyline. Get on Richard's and don't stop climbing till you get to the top. Also used as a performance standard. See RRTT. From the horseshoe to Skyline (the escalator section): 2.0 miles
  • Half-Marathon Course - Used for the King's Mountain Half Marathon in March, it starts at the Rock, goes up Richard's to Crystal Springs, then shoots off to the Dean Trail, then a final grind up the Chinquapin trail all the way to King's Mountain Rd., then back down to the start. Here's a Google Earth image of the course.
Be Warned!!

Wunderlich: Just a couple of miles from the Parking Pad, we usually take the Alambique Trail up to Skyline. From here, there's a trail to cross over to Huddart park. Trail map here.

Windy Hill: A great place to run with the dogs (4-legged variety). Here's a trail map. Meeting place here. The usual Dips run is up Hamm's Gulch, then either right to the summit (amazing views) and down Spring Ridge, or left and down Razorback.

The Dipsea Trail: Hallowed ground for Dips runners. Training runs are scheduled the second Sunday of each month during Dipsea Season (December thru June). For a taste of what the race is like, read this runner's account.

Sawyer Camp: Sometimes referred to as the trail for weekend pavement nerds, it's a nice trail for road cross-training, with mile markers every half-mile and no significant hills until the 6th mile. Beautiful views of Crystal Springs.

Rhus Ridge/Black Mountain: "Richards Road on Steroids." A 9.4 mile grueling out and back. The equivalent of a two, steeper, Richards Road, with a slight lull in between, along a beautiful single track trail with amazing views of Silicon Valley.

Pulgas Ridge: A little bit 'o hell right down the street. Short but steep climbs, rollers, beautiful view - Perfect DIPS territory - and close enough for early morning runs! Here's the meeting place.

Glossary of Frequently Used Terms

2007 Relay - Dips I, Van 1
2007 Relay - Dips II, Van 1
  • A
  • B
  • C

CAB: Cardiac And Back. The DIPS standard Dipsea practice, 4.1 miles to the highest part of the course and back to Mill Valley. A more difficult run (more elevation) than the actual Dipsea Race.

CFL: Captain For Life. Unbeknownst to Mary Lou or LSD, this is a title given rather sneakily and unceremoniously to a rookie DIPS Relay captain as part of a plan hatched by Captain Marty never to hold that title again.

The Compound: A term used to describe the adjacent homes of Captain Marty and Coach Tommy. This is also a common gathering point for carpools to Mill Valley and the Dipsea Trail.

The Cream: Deemed a "miracle" by the denizens of Van 2 of the 2005 Relay, the Cream, not to be confused with the Clear, is an aspirin-based ointment that makes sore muscles feel, well, not so sore. It's maker sponsors Gino, the flying orthopod, member of the 2005 team.

The Crossroads: The intersection of the Miramontes, Redondo and Raymundo Trails in Phleger Estate. This is also the decision point of many runs since adding the Redondo/Raymuno loop adds 2.4 miles (and some climbing) to the run (even more if a runner takes the Lonely Trail up to Skyline Rd). Generally speaking, a Crossroads run is an excellent introduction run for a beginning trail runner.

The Crossover: 5 miles long and part of the Skyline Ridge trail, this is a trail that connects Huddart Park with Wunderlich Park. If you find yourself on this trail, it means you're on an epic trail run of at least 15 miles long.

2007 Relay - Dips I, Van 2
2007 Relay - Dips II, Van 2
  • D

DBB: The DIPS Bike Brigade - a splinter group formed when one or more of the original DIPS became too old or feeble for regular running and climbed aboard the aluminum/titanium/carbon machines that transported them, with some physiological stress, to Skyline and beyond.

The Dark Side: Despite the benefits, this is a term used to describe road running.

Deke: This is a practice used by a fast runner whereby they convince others they are slower than they actually are, in the hopes of passing (and hopefully embarrassing) other runners. One who dekes is considered a "dekester".

  • E
  • F

Free DIPS: A philosophy, first verbalized by RayBo, but really lived by FSteve, of running without the encumberance of things such as "organization" or "race numbers." It's a seductive philosophy, one that probably LSD and Alex for two also live.

  • G

Grinder: A term used to describe a particularly long, steep hill. Also a specialty of TYSMIHA.

  • H

HydroBoy: A title bestowed on anyone caught running with a hydration pack, especially if that person is Captain Marty.

  • I
  • J
  • K
  • L
  • M

Mill Valley: The starting line and headquarters of the fabled Dipsea Race. The DIPS have spent many hours in the plaza sipping mochas after a CAB.

  • N
  • O

OFBC: Otherwise known as Old Fart Boot Camp - where Coach Tommy inflicts his sadistic impulses on unwitting (is that the same as witless?) old out of shape guys.

  • P

Pancakes: A code word used for road running. Apparently, the use of the word "road", in the context of running is not allowed on the DIPS forum. See also The Dark Side.

PO: Poison Oak. The bane of every trail runner. Remember, "If it's three, let it be". See Tecnu.

  • Q
  • R

RRTT: Richard's Road Time Trial. One of the many cruel and vicious ways we Dips measure our performance. It's a timed run from the Rock to the Gate at Skyline Blvd. via Richard's Road. The "official" Dips record is currently held by Raybo with a time of 34:12.

The Rock: Not to be confused with the wrestler/actor or the island prison/tourist attraction, this is a rather non-descript geological formation located in the East/West Meadow in Huddart Park. It's also the informal starting line for timed trail runs within the park. Conveniently located next to a bathroom.

  • S

Spa Run: Starting at the more leisurely and Spa-like time of 8:00 a.m., rather than the ungodly time of 7:00 a.m. or earlier.

Squeeze One Out: To "wring out" the end of a fun, sloped trail, by picking up your pace to the end.

Squelch: Too stretch the truth, especially when one doesn't know what the hell one is talking about.

  • T

Tecnu: A trail runner's best friend, this wonder of modern science has been proven to be the best treatment for PO.

  • U
  • V
  • W
  • X
  • Y
  • Z

Zanfel: Use this if you want the PO gone fast. Relieves in 30 seconds...it's expensive, but it works!

ZombieRunner.com: Great online running store for ultra-type folk and sponsor of the 2007 DIPS Relay teams.

DIPS Sanctioned Events

2006 Relay Finish

The Relay: A 12 person 199 mile relay that has been graced by DIPS participation every year since 2003. CFL (captain for life) Ron is now steering the ship and should be joined by LSD this year to put TWO teams in to the 2007 version of the race.

King's Mountain 1/2 Marathon & 5M: A race right on our own home trails. The 5-mile version is a popular first race for those aspiring to become DIPS. Usually well attended by DIPS members.

PCT Woodside Trail Run: Another great run in our own backyard.

4th of July Fun Run: A 5Kish run through the downtown streets of Redwood City, this is a great opportunity for DIPS and their families to get together and have a good time before the parade. Although advertised as a Fun Run, there is always the possibility of intense competition popping up now and again.

Double Dipsea: In 2007, the famed cousin to the Dipsea will feature the largest contingent of DIPS in its storied history.

The San Francisco Oyster: An Urban Adventure race held annually in San Francisco. Starting from Crissy Field, participants run skate, scoot, kayak, bike, and ride buses and taxes throughout the City. The DIPS finished 11th and 12th in the coed division in 2007.

2007 SF Oyster

Any Switchback Adventures outing, like the one to Sierra Buttes.

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