Falmouth Road Race
|The New Balance Falmouth Road Race|
|Location||Woods Hole to Falmouth, Massachusetts|
|Distance||7 miles (11 km)|
|Established||August 15, 1973|
The race was the idea of Tommy Leonard, an avid runner and popular bartender in Boston and Falmouth. During the 1972 Summer Olympics Leonard closed his bar in order to watch Frank Shorter win the first Olympic marathon for the United States since 1908. After Shorter won the marathon Leonard was quoted as saying "Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could get Frank Shorter to run in a race on Cape Cod?" One year later, in the summer of 1973, with the help of a local high school track coach John Carroll, and the town's recreation director Rich Sherman, the first Falmouth Road Race was run by approximately 100 people. The next year there were 445 runners, and the year after that Frank Shorter joined 850 other runners in the race, bringing Leonard's wish true. Today the New Balance Falmouth Road Race is considered one of the premier non-marathon races in the country, if not the world, attracting over 10,000 runners each year. The field of runners typically includes many of the best American and international runners, including both past and future Olympic athletes.
More people apply for places than can be accommodated in the race, so a lottery is held to select the field of runners. The application period is a short window of time during the first half of May. Applications must be submitted online at the race web site. A number of places are specially reserved for Falmouth residents. Five runners, Mike Bennett, Tom Brannelly, Don Delinks, Ron Pokraka and Brian Salzberg, have officially completed every Falmouth Road Race.
The beginning of the course is extremely hilly, with a starting line by the Captain Kidd Restaurant & Bar in Woods Hole, and a finish by the Falmouth Heights beach (near the former site of The Brothers Four tavern, where Tommy Leonard tended bar in 1972–1973). From the start corral, one races up a gradually steepening incline and into a narrow wooded road, emerging onto a long curved coastal stretch that runs by Nobska Light, along a hot beach on Martha's Vineyard Sound, and past the estates of Belvidere Plains, before turning inland toward the center of Falmouth town, finally looping back to the shore route for one last 1⁄4-mile (400 m) hill that crests just before the finish.
Before 2006, promotional materials usually described the New Balance Falmouth Road Race as a 7.1-mile (11.4 km) event. In 2006 it was measured and certified to be 7 miles (11 km).
New Balance, a clothing and apparel company, became the title sponsor of the race in 2011.
Key: Course record
- Gambaccini, Peter (2013-08-12). "Micah Kogo Edges Ben True at Falmouth Road Race". Runner's World (Rodale Inc.). Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- List of winners
- Monti, Dave (2009-08-10). Falmouth Road Race 7 miles. Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2010-04-06.