Tag: Stephen Sambu

FALMOUTH FOTOS 2019

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.

Leonard Korir opens his lead in the final mile over Sambu.
Korir turns Falmouth Harbor heading toward mile six.
1983 Boston Marathon champ Greg Meyer watches the action near six miles with 1978 Falmouth runner up Mike Roche.
Passing six miles in 27:30 off a 4:40 split.
The final stretch with 1K to go at the turn.
Korir salutes the crowd.
Victory awaits!
How the followers saw Leonard at the line.
4X champ Sambu holds off Cheserek for second 32:29 to 32:30.
Former Michigan Wolverine Mason Ferlic In fourth in a breakthrough performance.
Sailing home!
Falmouth board member Scott Ghelfi interviews the champion.
To the victor go the spoils.
Everyone’s destination.
The ball field was jammed!
Former Philadelphia Half Marathon race director Tony DeSabato with 1980 Falmouth Road Race champion Rod Dixon in the Crow’s Nest.
The calm before The storm in Woods Hole.
Lined up and ready to go.
Nerves apparent before the start.
And they are off.
2014-2017 champ Stephen Sambu attack’s early out of Woods Hole.
Sambu in close concentration with Silas Kipruto already chalkenged.
Mike 1 in 4:27, 7 seconds faster than last year.
No prisoners today.
In mile 2, Cooper River Bridge 10K champ Silas Kipruto made his bid.
Kipruto put some distance on the pack in the second mile.
The gap widens.
Three-time Bix 7 champion Kipruto finished fifth at the Wharf to Wharf six miler in Capitola, California two weeks ago.
Famous Nobska Light
Rolling hills and tree cover define the first 3 miles of the Falmouth course.
2 miles in 9:03, a 4:36 second mile. Silas still leads but the pack is closing.
Together again. Kipruto, Korir, Sambu, David Bett and King Chez.
No messing around. Sambu again goes to the front and puts in the boot.
Serious business.
Edward Cheserek In his first Falmouth race came in with a slight hamstring pull from 10 days ago after running a 13:04 personal best over 5000 m in Belgium. But in mile three he fades from the front as the pack strings out under the pressure applied by four-time champion Sambu.
Sensing the moment at hand, Sambu continues to drive with only Leonard Korir and Silas Kipruto able to maintain contact.
Mike 3 in 13:39, a 4:36 split and it’s Just the two Falmouth veterans still in the hunt.
Gaps have formed.
Sambu finished fourth and Korir third last year as they let University of Michigan 10,000 m NCAA champion Ben Flanagan from Canada hang around until his speed took the victory. This year it was a drive from the start.
Big boisterous crowds lined the route along the beach
Sambu never came off the gas. But he couldn’t break free. He’s training for the New York City Marathon in November and coming off fourth place finishes at the Utica Boilermaker 15K and the Bix 7, and a seventh place at the Peachtree Road race July 4th in Atlanta.
Beginning to show signs of wear.
Four miles passed in 18:12 off a 4:32 split. Sambu wonders where Cheserek is.
King Chez we gathered him is only 14 seconds behind at 4 1/2 miles.
Finally, Leonard Korir takes control.
Korir check his watch and sees that he passed 5 miles in 22:50 off a 4:37 split. In 1978 Bill Rodgers, Mike Roche, Craig Virgin, and Alberto Salazar passed 5 miles at 22:40 as Rogers headed toward his third Falmouth win with Roche in second, Virgin in third and Alberto fading back to tenth heading toward an ice bath to reduce his spiking body temperature. This year, Korir cruised to his first Falmouth victory in the final two miles. Thanks for taking the ride with me on the men’s lead vehicle along with 2018 champion Ben Flanagan provided color commentary like a real natural. See you down the roads.

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47th NB Falmouth Road Race Men’s Preview

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.

4x men’s champion Stephen Sambu & 2012 women’s winner Margaret Wangari

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…)

2018 FALMOUTH PHOTO ESSAY

Little late, I know, but here’s a look back from the lead men’s press truck at last Sunday’s 46th New Balance Falmouth Road Race.

 

The calm before the storm in Woods Hole
A gray summer’s day for those heading to Martha’s Vineyard. 64F at the start.
Thus it begins
Great Britain’s Chris Thompson leads the way coming off 11th in the 10,000 & 9th in the 5000 at the European Championships in Berlin.
Chris Thompson, leads 2x Falmouth runner up Leonard Korir, Northern Arizona Elite’s Scott Fauble and US Army WCAP’s Haron Lagat in a strong early push.
Scotland’s Callum Hawkins (white over red) shows early interest, coming off 7th place at the TD Beach to Beacon 10k two weeks ago in Maine. Took 9th at the 2016 Olympic Marathon, 4th last year at the World Champs in London.
No damage to the pack after a 4:34 opening mile. But 4x defender Stephen Sambu in black enters the picture.
Sambu is the only 4x men’s winner in Falmouth history, and came in off a second place finish at the TD B2B 10k two weeks before. WCAP’s Haron Lagat in white and ZAP Fitness man Andrew Colley in blue on the left both have shown good form this summer.
Cheering fans help the runners through the first three miles of rolling hills.
As the course rolls down out of the tree cover, Sambu presses, passing three miles in 13:58 (4:40 3rd mile, off a 4:44 2nd). University of Michigan star Ben Flanagan falls in with WCAP’s Korir and Lagat, Colley and Fauble.
12 strong hit the flats as the boys roam the coast along Vineyard Sound. Callum Hawkins leaking off the back. Chris Thompson and GBR’s Ross Millington (yellow #9) still holding.
Four miles fall in 18:36 (4:37) as a steady headwind negates the clement 66F temperature. 10 still remain.
A well defined lead pack now separates, led by defending champ Stephen Sambu. Today’s splits right in line with the last three years when the winning time ranged from 32:10 to 32:17.
Chris Thompson (far left) finally gives way between 4-5 miles. This is the traditional place on the course when the finalists are determined. Philadelphia Med school student Martin Hehir (yellow on left) well positioned coming off 8th place at July 4ths AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. Colley in blue on the right took 6th there. 
Still 10 strong turning off the water and heading through the neighborhood section of the course.
Sambu still in front at 5 miles – 23:14 (4:38) – as the men begin picking through remnants of the pro women’s field.
The final six take a left and head toward Falmouth Harbor, Left to right: Martin Hehir, Ben Flanagan, Stephen Sambu, Haron Lagat, Leonard Korir, Scott Fauble. Toughest part of the course, too far out to smell the barn, but five-plus miles in and hurting.
Sambu had established a good lead by the time he reached Falmouth Marine in each of the last four years, but he’s a little under-raced this summer as he heads toward the Chicago Marathon in October.
With Falmouth Harbor off their right shoulder, the final six take one another’s measure. NCAA 10,000m champion Ben Flanagan took 2nd at the Bix 7 in Iowa after placing third at the Canadian Nationals at 5000m and winning a road mile in Ann Arbor. He’s the man with the speed.
Six miles in 27:52, 10k in 28:49, no records today, but we’ve never seen six men still together this late in the race. And the crowd drives them even harder toward home.
And it’s the rookie, The Wolverine, Ben Flanagan, flashing his heels and romping to the tape with a giant smile creasing his face. NAE’s Scott Fauble a breakthrough in second. Leonard Korir on the podium for the fourth straight year in third. Sambu relegated to fourth.
Happiest champion EVER!
Go Blue! Michigan Hugs all around.
Falmouth Road Race board member Scott Ghelfi and family hosted Ben during his stay in Falmouth. He just about lost his voice shouting out Ben’s win over the PA.
Saluting Canada’s first ever Falmouth champ.
And in they come, neatly 12,000 in all.
Just behind the finish line the Crow’s Nesters take in the action.
After his win, Ben heads to the Crow’s Nest to celebrate, while receiving a well-earned standing O.
Brad Hurst awards Ben his Crow’s Nest tee shirt, which, according to no less a source than Malmo himself, is Falmouth’s equivalent of the Masters green jacket.
2x Boston Marathon champion Geoff Smith hails a Commonwealth man’s win at Falmouth, a first since Dave Murphy’s double in 1984-‘85.
Kickin’ back, reliving the day. Many of the Crow’s Nest crowd raced against University of Michigan women’s coach Mike McGuire back in the day. Mac texted Ben the address and said go up and say hi.
Overlooking Falmouth Heights, a place Ben will long remember.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. See you next year.

 

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2018 TD BEACH TO BEACON 10k PHOTO ESSAY

Cape Elizabeth, ME –  The 21st TD Beach to Beacon 10k presented the 7000 starters with the dreaded double of heat and humidity today, making for wet-banklet-like conditions over the rolling 6.2 mile run from Crescent Beach to Fort Williams Park.  Despite the oppressive conditions, New Zealander Jake Robertson arrived from his training base in Iten, Kenya anxious to take on the 2003 course record 27:28 set by Kenya’s Gilbert Okari in the first of three straight B2B wins.  Here are a series of photos from the lead men’s vehicle documenting the effort of Mr. Robertson and his followers.

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The finish line awaits at Ft. Williams Park , shot taken Friday at the B2B High School Miles
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The air horn sends the 7000 person field to their task at 8:12 a.m.
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Jake Robertson spoke of wanting to break the course record at the pre-race press conference, and put the boot in from the get-go, not waiting for any help. He used similar gun-to-tape tactics to win April’s Crescent City Classic in New Orleans in 27:28.
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No prisoners! A 4:15 first mile opened the winning gap. 2016 U.S. Olympian Shadrack Kipchirchir tried to follow, “but Jake was very tough.” You might think so after he knocked off five Kiwi national records in a six-week span early in the year, including a 60:01 win at the Houston Half Marathon.
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Mile 2 fell in 4:25 (8:40) and the road behind was already clear. “At the start Jake said, ‘are you ready to go with me, I’m going from the gun,“ said Steven Sambu, last year‘s fourth place B2B finisher and four-time Falmouth Road Race champion. “I said, ‘OK, let’s go.’ Then the 1st mile in 4:15, and in these conditions, it’s crazy! Way too fast for me.“
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Past 3 miles in 13:01 (4:21), 5K in 13:30 with a :34 lead on Sambu and Kipchirchir, Robertson was still rocking course record pace as he turned onto Shore Drive for the next three miles.
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4 miles fell in 17:31 (4:29) 16 seconds under course record pace. We could barely see Sambu and Kipchirchir in the distance with 2016 B2B champion Ben True moving into fifth behind Ethiopian Amedework Walelegn,  himself a 59;50 half-marathoner.
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Stern faced at 5 miles in 21:59, Jake took 4:28 for that 1609 yards, while Gilbert Okari ran a 4:16 in 2003. Only :04 under course record pace now, and paying the price for his early aggression and the high humidity. “At about 7.2 km I began to feel the conditions, “said Jake afterward. “I knew I had a gap and the win, but I came here on behalf of my family, my training partners, my sponsors, and everyone who supports me. Everyone has been so good to me in my time here in Maine, I wanted to give a performance that everyone was happy with.”
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Victory in hand! 27:37, tied for the third fastest time in B2B history. In these muggy conditions, Jake slowed over the final mile, but still won by 50-seconds, the largest margin in race history.  “I’m happy,” Jake told me in the media tent. “I was fearless and I delivered. If you set your mind to something and then deliver, you have to be satisfied. Sadly, no course record, but I gave it my best and I never want to give it anything but my best. ‘To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift’ is a Steve Prefontaine quote that I love. Hopefully, I can return to Cape Elizabeth next year and get that course record.”
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Race founder and 1984 Olympic Marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson greets a wobbly champion after his heroic effort.
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Fully recovered, Jake cheers in Stephen Sambu and Maine native Ben True in 2nd and 3rd. “I’m so happy for Jake,” said Stephen after checking the final times. “The way he trains, very serious. It’s amazing.” And that’s coming from the four-time Falmouth Road Race champion.
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A Viking ship sailed over Casco Bay behind the awards ceremony with Ram Island Light in the distance as another classic B2B was celebrated by the thousands lucky enough to have shared the course with some of the best foot-racers in the world. Thanks to the sponsors and record 878 volunteers who made it all possible. And to the host families who share their homes and hearts with all the invited runners. That’s olde tyme New England road racing at its best.

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