Author Barry Spitz competing in the Quadruple Dipsea race in November 2008, (courtesy image) at right, and the Depot Bookstore & Cafe, at left.

PictureAuthor Barry Spitz’s 2010 book “The Dipsea: The Greatest Race.” Courtesy image.

​There is arguably no greater ambassador and advocate for – and historian of – the legendary Dipsea Race, which has its 108th running this Sunday, June 10, than Barry Spitz.

In addition to serving as the race’s ubiquitous finish line announcer for the past 37 years, Spitz is the author of “Dipsea, The Greatest Race,” the 2010 tome that chronicles each of the 100 Dipsea races from 1905 through 2010, with subsequent supplements covering each race through 2017. 

Given that the Dipsea Race has started right outside the Depot Bookstore & Cafe since 1905, it’s fitting that Spitz is set to appear at the venerable downtown Mill Valley gathering spot on Thursday, June 7 at 7pm to share his favorite personal memories of the race. Spitz will be selling and signing copies of his book. 

​Spitz, who has also written “Mill Valley, The Early Years,” “Mount Tamapais Trails,” and other local history and guide books, was inducted into the Dipsea Hall of Fame at the Dipsea Race Foundation’s Hall of Fame dinner in 2015, a tradition he created in 1993.

“I like to think my greatest contribution is helping, in some way, to make the Dipsea’s story so well known that no bureaucrat can ever kill the race,” Spitz said at the time.

Spitz, who grew up in New York City, moved to San Francisco in 1970 and to San Anselmo five years later, became actively involved in the running world, as a runner and racer, a writer for Runner’s World, City Sports, and Running Times magazines. He became the Dipsea’s finish line announcer in 1982. 

“With his electrifying voice Barry added another dimension to the finish line spectacle,” the late Dipsea Race director Jerry Hauke said in 2015. “Imagine yourself in those runners’ shoes; exhausted, bruised and bleeding in some cases, and determined to go those last 200 hundred yards, and then hearing your name called out to spur you on to cross the finish line with your red badge of courage.” 

The 411: Dipsea Race historian, author and announcer Barry Spitz speaks and signs books at the Depot Bookstore & Cafe on Thursday, June 7 at 7pm. Free.  The Dipsea Race is set for Sunday, June 10 at 8:30am.

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