Thursday, February 01, 2007

Jack Kirk, the "Dipsea Demon", dies at age 100

Jack Kirk, who ran the Dipsea 67 times over his storied running career, died on Monday at the age of 100. Jack ran his 67th Dipsea in 2002 at age 96, exclaiming "you don't stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running". He has won the event a few times, at age 44 and 60.

(Jack Kirk taming the Dipsea, photo courtesy of Ken Wilson)

Few people capture the spirit of running like Jack Kirk. So many lessons to be learned from his example - keep running, have fun, and perhaps you too can run the Dipsea when you're in your mid-90's. You can read more about his life at the San Francisco Chronicle (here) and the Marin Independent Journal (here), or even order the DVD about his life.

Jack used to say "old runners don't die, they just reach the 676th step" (referring to the 675 steps of the Dipsea). Congratulations, Jack, you found the 676th after thousands of runs.



  1. thanks for sharing that story. what a legend!!

  2. It was one of my favorite Dipsea memories each year - standing around the finish area, and suddenly hearing the ovation from hundreds of spectators as Jack rounded the final turns of the race, shuffling toward the finish in his early-90s. He was an amazing guy.

  3. Scott- Before I ran ultras I did the Dipsea every year and I was lucky to be there that last race he ran. It was inspiring even to this day in many 100 milers I do I think if Jack can keep going at 96 I have no excuses. He is a hero.

  4. Scott - Great blog. Found you off the injinji site. Check out my blog

    Thanks for all the great info.

  5. What a life! Something everyone could wish for, what a life! Running 100 miles...I mean years, one step at a time. May he rest in trail's heaven, beacuse I don't believe he'd want to be in peace.
    Thank you for bringing this story, Scott.

  6. Thanks for stopping by Scott. I agree with your suggestion to do the VO2 Max test done, thanks for the tip. Have a great weekend!

  7. What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

  8. What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

  9. I ran Dipsea in 1956 and 1957.

    It is a staggered race and I started well after Jack, passed him coming toward the end, took a wrong turn and finished behind him. He was the most famous runner even then and I think this was his only running event at that age. I was 17 and he was about 50


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