NB FALMOUTH ROAD RACE WEEKEND 2017 GEARS UP

Falmouth, MA. – Timing and Tommy, what a combination. The end of the summah (sic) on old Cape Cod and the hospitality of race founder Tommy Leonard, put them together and what you get is what has come to be known as The Great American Road Race. This Sunday the New Balance Falmouth Road Race celebrates its 45th running.

2017 NB Falmouth Elites: (back row l-r: Craig Engels (mile), Abdi Abdirahman, Katie Mackey (mile), Diane Nukuri (’15 champion), Stephen Sambu (3X men’s champion), Jess Tonn.  (Front row: Danny Romanchuk, Krige Schabort (5x chair champ), Tatyana McFadden (2x chair champ)

Today, race weekend kicked off with a press conference at the Casino Wharf overlooking a gray Vineyard Sound and the finish line of the 7-mile summer classic. Defending champions Stephen Sambu (3x open men’s division), Katie Mackey (3x women’s Aetna Mile) and Tatyana McFadden (2x female wheelchair division) headlined the proceedings. But Falmouth weekend is very much a family reunion, too.

Inaugural year champions Jenny Tuthill and Dave Duba

Inaugural year winners Dave Duba and Jenny Tuthill were back to remember 1973, even as they wondered where the ensuing years had gone. 1975 and ’76 men’s champion and race inspiration Frank Shorter never fails to return to the Cape to join Tommy Leonard for a stroll along memory lane. And six-time women’s champ Joan Benoit Samuelson will factor once again into the master’s competition, even at age 60. Continue reading

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FALMOUTH ROAD RACE FOUNDER TOMMY LEONARD TURNS 84

This Sunday the New Balance Falmouth Road Race turns 45.  But today race founder and guiding spirit Tommy Leonard celebrates his 84th birthday.

Back in the Summer of `72 Tommy was tending bar at the Brothers 4 on Falmouth Heights when Frank Shorter ran to the gold medal at the Munich Olympic Marathon.  Inspired by Frank’s win, Tommy dreamed up a local road race to help raise funds for the Falmouth Girl’s Track Club.  45 years later, both the founder and his founding spirit live on.

Tommy Leonard

Though he summered on Cape Cod, T.L. called Boston’s Eliot Lounge home for nearly a quarter century, and it was there that his legend took root.  In honor of his birthday, here is a little verse that recalls the days when a visit to Tommy was on every runner’s wish list. Continue reading

THE MEASURE OF MEN

Even as we revel in the life affirming glory of last night’s women’s 1500 meter final at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in London, we are constantly reminded of the brief stay that is ours upon this blue, spinning orb.  The Boston Globe put out a very nice obituary today on an old friend, and wheelchair racing pioneer Jack Coakley.

Jack was a 30-year stalwart at the Bill Rodgers Running Center in Boston’s Faneuil Hall.  He died last Friday while working out at Rowe’s Wharf gym at age 67.  He was a man who asked no quarter, nor gave any in return.  RIP wheel man.

We live as we do,

In the time we are given,

Trying as we might,

To accomplish what we can,

   In the fields that we till,

Through the habits we develop,

By the grace that is God’s,

To bestow as He sees,

Upon those of His choosing.


And through those days,

and by our ways,

We come to discover,

The true purpose of our existence,

In this realm of blood and breath and bone,

From the bright wail of our birth,

 ‘Til the silent dying of our light,

Arranging through trial and error,

Accommodation and accord,

And even at times whimsy,

The measure that is ultimately me.

END

 

FAREWELL TO A MAN OF ARMS

On the sixth anniversary of his passing, a chance to remember a fallen hero whose memory won’t fade no matter the time.

Toni Reavis

IMG_7246     San Diego’s Mission Bay Park is the training ground for many of the area’s fitness enthusiasts and serious competitors alike. In 2008 and again in 2011 its lush green lawns hosted the USATF National Cross Country Championships.  But thoughts of speed and championship performances were not on the minds, nor in the hearts, of the hundreds of people who came to the park last night.  Instead, as deepening summer shadows cut through the velvety green, San Diego’s running and triathlon communities gathered to bid farewell to one of their own.

35 year-old Petty Officer 1st class Jon Tumilson had run along Mission Bay Park hundreds of times in the years he was stationed in San Diego as a Navy Seal.  And though he transferred to Virginia Beach in April 2009 to join fabled SEAL Team 6, the native of Rockford, Iowa kept his connections to America’s Finest City strong and vibrant.

JT on the Run JT on the Run

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2017 TD BEACH TO BEACON 10k Preview

Cape Elizabeth, ME – 33 years ago on August 5th a young woman from Cape Elizabeth, Maine wrote her name indelibly into athletics history by winning the inaugural Women’s Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles. She trained for that effort along the streets of her hometown, streets that this August 5th will play host to the 20th running of one of the nation’s premier 10k road races.

The TD Beach to Beacon 10k began as a great notion that over its two decade life has lived up to its founder’s hopes and more.  Joan Benoit Samuelson‘s hometown race has proven to be among the new American road race classics, taking its place alongside such legendary first boom generation runs like the Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod and the Bix 7 Road Race in Daveport, Iowa, races Joanie helped put on the map with her victories and personality.

For its 20th running, 117 legacy runners and five former champions lead thousands more on the trek from near Crescent Beach to the Portland Head Light in Ft. Williams Park.  Local star Ben True will attempt to defend his title from 2016, when he became the first American to win the prestigious international race. But Ben will have his hands and legs full. Continue reading

2017 TD BEACH TO BEACON SET UP

Cape Elizabeth, ME. – After going through his final checklist, race director Dave McGillivray sprung a question on me at last night’s TD Beach to Beacon 10k organizing committee meeting at the Cape Elizabeth High School.

“Toni, what’s the fastest women’s 10k so far this year?”

The question was more than pertinent given the quality of the elite women’s field at this year’s 20th Beach to Beacon, led by three past champions including defender Mary Keitany of Kenya who set the course record in 2016 at 30:45.

2017 TD B2B 10k Organizing Committee (photo courtesy of Ann Kaplan)

Being out in California most of the year, I am more of titular member of the hard-working organizing committee, but like to join the final gathering on the race week at the high school cafeteria.

“Jeez, Dave,” I said softly – as one does when called out by a teacher after failing to do your homework – “I don’t know off the top of my head.”

My confession brought Dave to the edge of a guffaw and chiding ridicule.

“What! Toni doesn’t know something about running?”

The room joined in the good-natured hectoring (though it was nice to know they were under the impression that I generally knew what I was talking about).

In search of redemption, I quickly opened Safari on my iPhone and dove into the IAAF.org website searching for world leading times for 2017. Continue reading

2017 BIX 7 RUNDOWN

Davenport, IA. – As race director extraordinaire Ed Froelich quipped, “even when it’s an American championship, Kenyans win.”

True enough, the 43rd Quad City Times Bix 7 Road Race hosted the USATF 7 Mile Road Championship yesterday for the fifth time, and two Kenyan-born Americans took home top honors, Sam Chelanga for the men, and Aliphine Tuliamuck for the women.  And none of the competitors  in the two pro fields could have been more thankful or gracious in victory. Continue reading