The Historic Accomplishments of Dipsea Hall of Famer Jack Kirk

Jack Kirk pic

Jack Kirk
Image: sfgate.com

The recipient of a juris doctor from the University of California, Berkeley, Paul Seeman is a former judge with the Alameda County Superior Court. During his career, he also served as an attorney and juvenile court referee. In addition to his professional pursuits, Paul Seeman is an avid runner who participated in the Dipsea Race from 1987 to 2010.

Established by a group of San Francisco Olympic Club members in 1905, the Dipsea Race is a celebrated diverse-terrain, 7.1-mile trail run. A Hall of Fame was established in 1993 to honor some of the most accomplished runners to participate in the race. Several athletes have won the race on multiple occasions, including the first-ever winner John Hassard, Mike Boitano, and Homer Latimer, but none have a more celebrated history of participation than two-time winner Jack Kirk, who ran every race from 1930 to 2003. He won his first race in 1951 and was the winner once again in 1967. He was 96 years old when he ran in his final Dipsea Race.

At his first race, Kirk earned the “Dipsea Demon” moniker as, according to legend, one runner in 1933 mentioned Kirk “runs like a demon” after he appeared out of nowhere and tore down a slope, passing a horde of runners along the way. In 2004, filmmaker Drow Millar produced a biographical film on his life aptly titled The Dipsea Demon.”

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Berkeley High Baseball and Friends of the Derby Street Park & Field

 

Berkeley High Baseball pic

Berkeley High Baseball
Image: berkeleyschools.net

A former California Superior Court Judge from 2009 to 2013, Paul Seeman concurrently served on multiple committees, task forces, and other legal organizations. He also chaired the Alameda County Collaborative Juvenile Court. Outside of the professional arena, Paul Seeman volunteered his support to Friends of the Derby Street Park and Field.

A group of concerned Berkeley citizens established Friends of the Derby Street Park and Field in 1998 to promote a plan to bring a baseball stadium to Berkeley High School. The plan, which would have closed a block of Derby Street near the school to create a multi-purpose sports field, had become mired in controversy when the farmer’s market that had been using the same block once a week decided they did not want to move to another nearby location. Berkeley High School players continued to practice and play at another city facility, San Pablo Park, until 2013 when a compromise solution kept Derby Street open but redesigned it slightly to accommodate a regulation diamond.

With the help of Friends of the Derby Street Park and Field, Berkeley High School’s first regulation baseball field opened on September, 21, 2013. Christened Tim Moellering Field after a Berkeley High School baseball coach who died of cancer in 2011, the new complex also includes a basketball court and a separate grass sports field. The Farmer’s Market, after opposing the street closure and forcing the re-design, eventually moved to another location anyway.

The Dipsea – a Storied Northern California Trail Race

The Dipsea pic

The Dipsea
Image: dipsea.org

Over his more than three decades in the field of law, Paul Seeman served in a number of roles including judge, attorney, and educator. While engaged with his career, Paul Seeman also participated for many years in the Dipsea, an annual cross-country race in Northern California.

First held in November of 1905, the Dipsea has taken place every year since 1983 on the second Sunday of June. America’s oldest trail race, it requires runners to navigate a strenuous but scenic 7.4-mile course which begins in Mill Valley and extends to Stinson Beach.

The race was first organized by members of the Olympic Club in San Francisco and was named for the Dipsea Inn, a seaside establishment that served as the endpoint of the 1905 race. Over the years, the Dipsea has welcomed such runners as Jack Kirk, who ran the race in 74 consecutive years, winning it twice. In 2016, Brian Pilcher crossed the finish line first to earn his third Dipsea victory.

Southern California Outrigger Racing Association Offers Training

Southern California Outrigger Racing Association pic

Southern California Outrigger Racing Association
Image: scora.org

Paul Seeman has had a legal career spanning more than 30 years, as an attorney, commissioner, and finally as a judge with the Alameda County Superior Court in California. As judge, he was a member of the Judicial Council Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues. As someone who enjoys staying active, particularly outside, Paul Seeman participates in outrigger canoe paddling.

Outrigger canoeing in California goes back to 1959 with the first race taking place between two boats on September 20 from Avalon on Catalina Island to the Newport Dunes. Both boats were made of koa wood and were shipped to California from Hawaii. The Hawaiian crew won the race in five hours, while the California team finished just 11 minutes later.

The Southern California Outrigger Racing Association (SCORA) allows individuals interested in outrigger canoe paddling to participate in team races. The organization offers training from May through September, with Iron Races during May and June. Each boat participating in these Iron Races has a crew of six paddlers who compete through the entire 10- to 14-mile race without rest. The nine-person season begins in August with the Whitey Harrison Race and ends with the U.S. National Championships, which is a 30- to 34-mile race between Catalina Island and Newport Beach. Practices are Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 p.m. until sunset and Saturday mornings at 7:00.