Once a year, they serve as the foot-pounding, lung-busting opening stanza to the Dipsea Race, the oldest trail race in the United States.
For the rest of the year, the famed Dipsea Stairs serve as one of Mill Valley’s most vital arteries for walkers, runners, hikers and sightseers. The reconstruction of the first flight of Dipsea Stairs - 300 of the 688 total - was dedicated Saturday before a crowd of dozens of both race competitors and local residents who sought to honor the restoration of the landmark stairway.
“This project should be a sign that things can continue as they were,” said Merv Regan, chairman of the Dipsea Race committee and president of the Dipsea Race Foundation, which oversaw the fundraising effort to rebuild the stairs. “The steps, a significant part of the Dipsea tradition, faced possible closure. This is a great example of how people who care came together to ensure one of our treasured traditions will continue after many of us have moved on.”
The ceremony occurred at the bottom of the first flight, which stretches from between Cascade Way and Millside Lane, and featured a number of Dipsea Race legends, including and her husband, 2008 winner Roy Rivers, as well as Dipsea Race Haller of Fame member Russ Kiernan.
Each new step is embedded with a bronze plaque for which donors paid $1,200 apiece. For a gallery of the plaques, click here.
One plaque honors the late Marin County Supervisor and Mill Valley resident Charles McGlashan, who .
The Dipsea Race Foundation launched the campaign to restore the stairs in 2007, and hope to complete the reconstruction of the final flight in 2012. The 102nd annual Dipsea takes place Sunday, June 10, 2012.