Falmouth, MA. – Pictures from the lead man’s vehicle at the 47th New Balance Falmouth Road Race on old Cape Cod. U.S. Army’s Leonard Korir (32:11) wins his first Falmouth after finishing second twice and third two other times. Four time champion Stephen Sambu of Kenya takes 2nd (32:29) with fellow Kenyan Edward Cheserek in his his first Falmouth taking third (32:30) and former NCAA steeplechase champ Mason Ferlic out of Michigan in 4th (32:54) on a warm, muggy morning.
Falmouth, MA. – Tomorrow’s 47th New Balance Falmouth Road Race men’s competition will have a throwback look to it as the top three seeds are all Kenyan-born, but American schooled athletes. Since Joe Nzau of the University of Wyoming became the first Kenyan champion at Falmouth in 1983, that’s how we became acquainted with the first generation of great Kenyan runners who emerged in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.
Four-time Falmouth champion Stephen Sambu (2013–2017) was a nine-time All-American at the University of Arizona. Twice runner up to Sambu in Falmouth and also twice third, including last year, Leonard Korir was a two-time NCAA champion at Iona in 2011. And Falmouth debutante Edward Cheserek was a record-breaking 17-time NCAA titleist at the University of Oregon.
Defending champion Ben Flanagan of Canada out of the University of Michigan is back in town this year but injured so we won’t be running just doing personal appearances at the expo.
Just got word that Clayton Young, BYU’s NCAA 10,000 meter champ in Austin this June has been added to the start list. That’s the same position Ben Flanagan held coming into Falmouth 2018 out of Ann Arbor.
So far in 2019 Sambu has not been the athlete he has been in the past. Rather than winning, he’s been taking thirds (BAA10 K), fourths (Bix 7), and sevenths (Peachtree).But at age 31, he’s transitioning to the marathon heading toward the New York City Marathon in November. That transition is often attended by a slowing in speed as distance in training piles up.(more…)
As we come up upon the 46th New Balance Falmouth Road Race weekend, we also celebrate the 85th birthday of race founder Tommy Leonard. In honor of TL a light verse recalling that other great running institution associated with TL, Boston’s Eliot Lounge. Happy birthday, TL. See you soon.
For this is where we runners met,
The bar we called our own,
Hard along the marathon course,
Just a half a mile from home,
On the corner of Mass. and Commonwealth Aves.,
In Boston’s old Back Bay,
Where we came to recover from training,
And put PRs on display.
With Tommy Leonard tending taps,
The guru in his lair,
Every runner’s true best friend,
With a heart big enough to share.
And Coach Squires in his corner,
The Wack in classic form,
Holding court, as usual,
Untranslatable being the norm.
With walls festooned with photos,
Of racers in their glory,
Posters, banners, flags, as well,
Each one with a telling story.
It’s where Rodgers came to drown a loss,
Or celebrate a record run,
And Joanie nipped with barracudas,
A champion, not a nun.
With footprints of the running stars,
Pressed out front in wet cement,
Course Tommy mixed the formula wrong,
So the prints didn’t quite indent.
And remember the night the horse clopped in,
Or the Stanford marching band,
And Heidi singing in those tight blue jeans,
They and the joint absolutely crammed.
‘Twas a clubhouse for every iconoclast,
Be they runner, writer, or pol,
And while few considered themselves joiners,
To the Eliot they came one and all,
When running meant more than fitness alone,
Or a bucket–list item for the masses,
But instead formed a band of close brothers,
Before our youth and speed finally passed us.
Yes, those days are fondly remembered,
When the lines did snake around the block,
But we knew the secret back entrance,
Sometimes I wish we could turn back the clock.
When time was the measure of excellence,
And Greater Boston the club above all,
When speed was the currency in issue,
But a good time was at night at Fall Call.
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.
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 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. (more…)
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.
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. (more…)
Falmouth, MA. — In the early days of road racing it was not unusual for track athletes to come back from the European circuit to run the Falmouth Road race in August as a season-end topper. The first man to do so was Marty Liquori, the great 1500 meter/5000 runner who was invited by his brother Steve through race founder Tommy Leonard to come run the second Falmouth Road race in 1974 as somewhat of a mini vacation on his way home to New Jersey from the continent.
Little did he know that rising local hero Bill Rodgers was trolling area shores ready to meet him head on over the seven-mile Cape layout. It was the Liquori scalp that elevated Rodgers (and the Falmouth Road Race) to stardom in the local media, and began Rodger’s final ascent to international recognition that culminated the following April when he won his first of four Boston Marathon titles in an American record time.
Over the years track men like Frank Shorter (1975 & `76 Falmouth champion); Craig Virgin (1979 champ); Rod Dixon of New Zealand (1980 winner); Mike McLeod of Great Britain (silver medalist in the 10,000 in L.A. `84 & 2nd to Al Salazar in Falmouth 1981), and more, came to race along the outer elbow of the Cape at the end of their track seasons.
As the sport developed, however, we saw the sport divide into distinctly parallel camps of road and track specialists with not much overlap between. This year, however, the 44th New Balance Falmouth Road Race will showcase a number of athletes returning from their Olympic experiences in Rio de Janeiro, including its last two female champions. (more…)