Nested in the rolling hills of Marin County the Dipsea Trail is a local icon of strength, endurance, and beauty. Every year people test their minds and bodies against the 688 steps of stairs and steep terrain, racing towards the rolling waves at Stinson Beach. It’s a rite of passage for anyone who believes they’re strong.
This 108-year-old race starts in Old Mill Park in Mill Valley. In front of you is Mt. Tam and 688 steps start this 7.5-mile race. You will rise up the stairs, snake through the Windy Gap, down Suicide trail only to climb Dynamite Hill. You’ll continue up Hogsback, and pound up Cardiac Hill, 1,360 feet up. The Swoop marks the start of your descent to Stinson Beach, but before you get there you’ll be met by Insult Hill, a final push for weary legs.
To thrive in this race you’ll have to learn your stride. Find your pace. Let your hamstrings pull you up the mountain, your feet gnawing away at the hillside. Breathe. The constant pounding on your quads will drain your energy. Run with your whole body, calves, quads, hamstrings, and butt! Breathe. Keep your head up and your shoulders back. It’s a long race and to thrive you’ll have to learn your stride. Most importantly, you’ll have to be strong.
The Larkspur Stairs offer a great training ground with 139 ‘easy’ steps towards the Dipsea Race. If you’re looking to build your endurance and test your cardio, this is a great place to start. Try this, carry two 35-lb kettlebells up and down the steps 5 times.