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.

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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.

The Dipsea Race – Challenging Trail Race in the Bay Area

Dipsea Race pic

Dipsea Race
Image: dipsea.org

A graduate of Boalt Hall, the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, former judge Paul Seeman previously chaired the Alameda County Collaborative Juvenile Court. In his free time, Paul Seeman enjoys running and has completed the Dipsea Race multiple times.

The oldest trail race in the United States, the Dipsea Race began in Northern California in 1905. The competition takes runners on a challenging 7.5-mile course from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. With stairs and steep trails, the race features a handicapping system to award runners of all ages.

The Dipsea Race is capped at 1,500 runners in order to protect the local environment and reduce the risk of participant injury on the steps. Although the competition attracts runners from all over the globe, local residents have a slight advantage in the selection process.

The 107th Annual Dipsea Race will take place on June 11, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. To learn more about the race, visit www.dipsea.org.