Record Efforts Highlight Cape Cod Marathon Weekend
By Bob Haskell
Marathon winner Bryan Morseman of Bath, N.Y., easily earned ironman honors on a pristine Sunday morning, but plenty of others contributed to record-breaking efforts that defined Cape Cod Marathon Weekend, Oct. 29-30, in Falmouth, Mass.
The men’s and women’s 13.1-mile half-marathon records were washed away along chilly Nantucket Sound Saturday morning as a competitive pack took its place among the 1,310 starters, another of the weekend’s records.
And the lone wheelchair racer, 57-year-old Gary Brendel from Sterling, Mass., blistered the 26.2-mile circular marathon course Sunday morning in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 37 seconds to claim the weekend’s fourth record.
After finishing second in Saturday’s half marathon, in 1:09:38, the spindly, 31-year-old Morseman simply ran away from Sunday’s 545 other marathoners to win that 39th road race in 2:30:01, nearly 19 long minutes ahead of Tom Thurston from Waterbury, Vt. It was Morseman’s 43rd marathon victory.
“I’ve wanted to win this marathon for 10 years,” said Morseman after claiming his 43rd career victory.
His extraordinary 39.3-mile performance in both races regained Morseman the Clam Chowdah Challenge crown that he won in 2014 and the respect of those who mostly saw his back. “I couldn’t run with that guy. He’s in a different league,” marveled Thurston after he finished second in the Chowdah competition.
Saturday’s victors also earned plenty of praise after accomplishing exactly what they intended – breaking the half-marathon’s men and women records.
Brazilian army infantryman Antonio Wilson, 27, ran the out-and-back route in 1:08:17 to readily beat the course record of 1:10:15 that Morseman set two years ago.
Wilson is an elite runner from Rio de Janeiro who has represented his country in the prestigious U.S. Army Ten-Miler. He has been a force since coming to Everett, Mass., in late summer to join the Mystic Runners, winning five of seven races in 36 days before going to Falmouth. He will return to Brazil in November and resume his army duties in January, Wilson explained through an interpreter.
Kaitlin Goodman came from Providence, R.I., to run a personal best 1:16:15 and rewrite the women’s event record of 1:18:55 that was written four years ago along the original half-marathon route.
“A personal record and an event record on the same day? I’ll take it,” said the seasoned Goodman who raced in three Olympic Trials races – the marathon and 10,000 and 5,000 meters – earlier this year. Goodman decided to race close to home on October’s final weekend rather than compete in the Pittsburgh 10 Miler on Nov. 6.
It was a happier ending than her disappointing effort in the 2014 Falmouth Road Race. “That was not a good experience,” recalled Goodman about that hot August morning.
Goodman was not the only happy person. “We are delighted that this Cape race attracted such a large and quality field in just its sixth year,” said Helen Kennedy, the half-marathon director.
Amy Steffen of Madison, Conn., was also delighted on Sunday after she comfortably reclaimed the women’s marathon crown in 3:09:41. Steffen won that title in 2014 and finished second last year.
Thomas Giardino, Falmouth, took fourth in Sunday’s marathon in 3:04:26.
Michael Stone led the Falmouth half-marathon contingent in ninth (1:15:52), and Anne Preisig was the eighth woman (1:30:49.)
In Sunday’s team competition, the Falmouth Track Club ran off with the 24th Marathon Relay’s men’s crown in 2:48:35, the Cape Cod Athletic Club claimed the women’s title in 3:05:23, and the Somerville Road Runners narrowly won the coed championship in 2:51:31.
In an unusual twist, the Cape Cod Athletic Club and Somerville Road Runners tied for first in the Cape Cod Invitational Cup.