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Dipsea Champ Rivers Can’t Wait for ‘Dipsea Day’

Despite losing a minute as the defending champ, 61-year-old Mill Valley resident says she feels great and is ready to go for it.

Mill Valley resident Jamie Rivers can’t wait to defend on Sunday.

But before she does, she’s got to get through one more 12-hour shift at UCSF Medical Center, which is in the midst of a massive shift to electronic charts across all departments. Rivers, 61, is a nurse in the hospital’s peri-operative department and also works in the children’s unit. We spoke with her this week on the even of her defense of last year.

Mill Valley Patch: You’ve scaled back your hospital work in recent years but still hold down two 12-hour shifts a week. How does that affect your training for the Dipsea’s 7.5 grueling miles?
Jamie Rivers: Those are long days and at the end of one of those days, I don’t get out to train much.

MVP: How’s the training been so far this year?
JR: It’s a year-round thing, but it’s been dedicated training since mid-January, doing around 40 to 50 miles a week. I feel good.

MVP: So you lose a minute in your handicap because you won last year but you don’t gain a minute by being one year older this year. How do you feel about your chances?
JR: Oh, I don’t know. My health is good, my fitness is good. But that’s the thing about running and racing and the Dipsea. It doesn’t look kindly upon aging. Running fast and getting older just don’t mix. I would love to be in the black (the top 35 finishers are awarded black t-shirts, and Rivers has won 14 Dipsea black shirts, the most ever among women, in just 22 tries). But regardless I’m going to put my best foot forward because I just absolutely love this race. But we’ll see.

MVP: If not you, then who?
JR: Honestly, (72-year-old) Hans Schmid gains a minute this year and he finished second last year and only lost to me last year by 28 seconds. And he’s just barely missed a couple of time now. It might be his year.

MVP: And how’s (husband and 2008 Dipsea champ) Roy feeling?
JR: He’s feeling great. We won the (Alan Beardall Award) family trophy last year and we’re hoping to defend it this year.

MVP: Anyone else you want to tip as a possible winner this year?
JR: We could finally have a year when a scratch runner can win this thing, and if it is, it will be Alex Varner, my Pelican Inn Track Club teammate and an incredibly fast runner. That would be very exciting.

MVP: What’s your plan for the next few days?
JR: I’m going to walk parts of the course on Thursday and Friday and rest on Saturday. I just can’t wait I’m so excited. There’s just nothing like Dipsea Day.

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