Falmouth, MA. — 42nd
New Balance Falmouth Road Race from the announcer’s vantage point
Woods Hole harbor race morning Water Street start early before the field collects Ground level
Loyal blog reader Brian Baker of Walden, N.Y. before 45:41 effort in 50-59 division “The Beast”, Tatyana McFadden who crushed the women’s wheelchair record which had stood since 1991 Falmouth’s Alexa Panepinto with the national anthem Race director Dave McGillivray ensuring no announcer screw ups before running the route himself Pro women start 10 minutes ahead of the men and field Pro men off and running Eventual 4th placer and top American, Ben Bruce of Flagstaff, Az. leads the way out of Woods Hole New dad Ben (son Riley just two months old) at the point The race settles into a Kenyan fight with eventual champion Stephen Sambu (31:46) controlling from 800m over Emmanuel Bett (3rd, 33:01), Kennedy Kithuka (DNF), and defending champion Micah Kogo (2nd, 32:31) Ben Bruce and 2014 NC State All-American Andrew Colley (5th, 33:27) press to stay close to the leaders through 4:38 opening mile 2000 volunteers helping make the race safe Kithuka dispatched with 4:36 second mile (9:14). Sambu, Bett and Kogo remain. It was Kithuka’s first pro road race after stellar career at Texas Tech 3 miles in 14:39 (4:33) with Sambu finding his rhythm of the flat stretch of Surf Drive. Kogo and Bett suffering. Bett broken Kogo deep in the well of pain as mile four approaches Sambu dispatches two-time Falmouth champ Kogo (2007 & 2013) with a 4:28 4th mile (18:17) Falmouth Milers Heidi Gregson, Stephanie Garcia & Kimarra McDonald feel the draft as Sambu flies by Sambu almost placid as he nails a 4:24 5th mile heading off the water (22:41), each mile faster than the previous one. BAA master Mimi Fallon getting checked out from the sidelines. Sambu cruises past the Island Queen lot, hitting a 4:30 6th mile (27:12), no reason to continue driving (28:09 at 10K) Crowds along Water Street await the champion Sambu was so fast, 31:46, sixth best time in Falmouth history, that I missed his finish while doing the announcing. So I got Kogo in second some 45-seconds in arears, the largest margin of victory since BIll Rodgers beat Marty Liquori by 69-seconds in 1974. Not a record an event looks to break. The party in the Crow’s Nest where George “Malmo” Malley, Bob Hodge and Brad Hurst host an annual watch party high above the ballfield finish. “The Hawk”, Brent Hawkins (red cap), wife Mary from Litchfield, Ct. and Bill Harblas of Holyoke (green cap) take in the festivities Road race 6th placer, miler Jordan McNamara (33:47), with host family Rick & Melissa Rizzitano of North Falmouth.
Since I was on the men’s lead truck, I didn’t get to photograph any of the women’s race. But theirs was the race of the day with Kenya’s Betsy Saina taking Great Britain’s Gemma Steel in the final stretch, with Bix 7 champion Molly Huddle besting Burundi’s leggy Diane Nukuri-Johnson for 3rd.
Another weekend of memories on the Cape at Falmouth #42. Happy birthday Tommy Leonard.