The Start PhotoRun.comEveryone has to do Falmouth at least once. If you haven't run this classic race yet and you live in New England you should give it a try. Many years ago, Runner's World Magazine did an article on the Falmouth Road Race and they refererred to the "Winding roads that seem to beckon" from an old Patti Page song called "Old Cape Cod". Falmouth is a magical race. I love the history of the race, as well as it being the race that follows the roads of the town where I grew up. I have great memories on these winding roads! Unfortunately, many competitive runners now pass it by. But really, it should be on your list of must do races.
This year I went down Friday night and picked up my race number at Falmouth High School. I was there when autographs were about to start, so I got in the short line because I wanted to meet Meb Keflezighi. Meb decided not to run Falmouth the day before, but as soon as I finished he was the first one shaking hands of us runners after we crossed the finish line.
He was there with his Olympic marathon silver medal and the New York City Marathon gold medal. What was neat was that he let me and others hold the medals. The Olympic medal in particular is getting worn out! I really appreciate that Meb "shares" these medals rather than lock them away for safe-keeping.
I went back to the high school to watch the Falmouth Miles. This year they had high school miles for the first time. Unfortunately only two women were in the elite mile, but it was still a good race. The men's race had Olympic 1500 meters silver medalist Nick Willis making a comeback from injury race. He was outsprinted at the finish line as the first two runners broke a 4 minute mile. When you go to Falmouth, you have to watch the miles, they are a lot of fun.It is also run on the track where I started my cross-country running career back in 1973. Here is the video I took of Russell Brown outsprinting Nick Willis in the mile.
This year's race saw me feeling pretty good at the start. I was able to do strides and a warm up without feeling so stiff like I have been recently and it was an incredibly gorgeous and cool summer day for the race. When the gun went off it was a bit crowded until the first corner and then I started getting more room. I hit the mile at Nobska Lighthouse slower than I wanted, but from then on I think I pretty much kept the same pace throughout the race, which meant I was slowly passing runners the whole race, and was rarely passed at all. I never really sightsee as I run Falmouth, but I got that sense of blue ocean over to my right side as well as that salty air smell and I felt right at home. I ran at a good pace and effort, but didn't really push things.
Here is a video someone posted (there is not much online that I can find) of the lead runners running up Shore Road (right in front of a house one of my good friends used to live in). It is about 4 3/4 miles into the race.
At the 6 mile point, I noticed an old friend named Stewart Johnston at the side of the road and called out to him. His brother was the 8th place finisher at the first Falmouth Road Race. We both went out for cross-country together in 9th grade two weeks after that race and traded last place finishes at races throughout that season. Stu never ran again after that year. I haven't stopped.
If Falmouth is too busy for you, you can always run the same course at the Falmouth in the Fall road race.
photo Ted Tyler