My friend Sam Hirabayashi, a longtime participant in the , passed away on Friday from complications from cancer. He was 84.
Sam had many friends and was in frequent contact with all of them. We will all miss him and it will be a long time before we will comprehend that he is no longer among us.
Born on May 24, 1927 in Kent, Wash., Sam's biggest claim to fame was his running ability. Just a few months ago, he was still running like a youngster, and winning races in his age group. He was unable to compete in because of illness, but he was certainly there in spirit.
Sam was forever seeking ways to run faster and he faithfully followed advice that he deemed useful. Until recently, when his illness forced him to resign, Sam was the leader of the Tamalpa Runners Men's Vets Racing Team.
In addition to his running, Sam was also an excellent golfer, frequently traveling to other cities to compete in tournaments.
Sam was married to former Dipsea winner Eve Pell, a member of the Dipsea Race Hall of Fame. The couple continued running after Hirabayashi’s cancer diagnosis, and the attached photo shows him last September at the start of the Hill Climb that starts in downtown Mill Valley.
There will be a private memorial service at 3:30 p.m. on July 17 in Fairfax. Contributions in Hirabayashi's memory can be sent to Hospice by the Bay, 17 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Larkspur 94939.
Hans Roenau is a photographer for Mill Valley Patch. He has finished 33 Dipsea Races, as well as 24 Double Dipseas and one Quad Dipsea.