History of the Cape Cod Marathon 1978-2012

This history of thirty-five years of the Cape Cod Marathon is based on newspaper and magazine accounts from The Falmouth Enterprise, the Cape Cod Times, the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, New England Runner, and the Hockomock Swamp Rat and the personal recollections of many of the participants and Falmouth Track Club members. The hope is that some of those who read it will have stories to tell or memorabilia and pictures to share which can be incorporated into future editions of this history.

1978: Ice in the Cups: Olsen and Hatch Win Inaugural

The Cape Cod Marathon was the brainchild of Falmouth Road Race Co-Director, Richard Sherman. After running the 1977 New York Marathon, he captured the imaginations and enthusiasm of fellow Falmouth Track Club members Jack Oser and Jeff Burton with the concept of a point-to-point Cape Cod Marathon that would begin by crossing the Bourne Bridge, following the back roads along the Buzzards Bay shore to Woods Hole, including the Sippewissett Hills, and then along the Falmouth Road Race course to a finish in Falmouth Heights. While it was an exciting idea, the logistics were too much for race directors Oser and Burton, who saw the event a primarily as a Boston qualifier for Cape runners.

The directors opted instead to put on the race on Otis Air Force Base on a four-loop course that passed abandoned World War II barracks each time and that Falmouth Road Race Co-Director and race official John Carroll described as “manageable” The date was was set for December 10, 1978. The field was limited to 300. A low $3.00 entry fee and the promise of a flat course led the race to close out with a field of 320 some three weeks before. The amenities were few and the budget low. Etonic Shoes was the main sponsor with a contribution of 10 pairs of shoes. A Yogurt company supplied t-shirts. The Falmouth Radio Amateurs tracked the runners, Falmouth Track Club volunteers manned the water stations, volunteer school bus drivers parked busses at the finish line with motors and heaters going for the benefit of the finishers; and a construction trailer was the command headquarters. The food director of the Falmouth Road Race, Bill Dougherty, had vats of hot soup ready for the runners.

The temperature at the start was 21 degrees, winds steady at 16 knots, gusting to 25 and a below zero wind chill. The runner attrition started even before the race began. Only 250 started. Once the race began, the cold took its toll. At the water stops, the water froze in the cups, and 25% of the starters failed to finish. No medical staff was on hand for emergencies, and when it was discovered that many of the drop-outs were suffering from the cold, the National Guard loaned the organizers 120 army blankets in which to wrap the finishers. While race director, Jack Oser, pleaded with the runners to return the blankets, none were. The Guard was not too happy.

Pre-race favorite Larry Olsen quickly moved out to the lead and was never seriously challenged. He finished in 2:33:34, followed by Bill Hine (2:36:37) and Bruce Jilson (2:38:16). The women’s race was won by Andrea Hatch of Middleboro in 3:16:29 – the first of three consecutive times she would capture the title. Of the 188 finishers, 70-80 met the more stringent qualifying standards of Boston. Despite the frigid weather, the race organizers pronounced the race a success and began planning for the second edition, which would be held on December 2, 1979.

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1979: Joyce Sets Course Record, Hatch Repeats

Two major changes were made. The four-loop course was changed to three loops. The start and finish was put at the Lyle Jr. High School on the base. The school had shower and changing facilities, and the cafeteria became the site of the post-race meal, which included clam chowder, corn bread, spaghetti, juices, and soda. In the meantime, those looking to qualify for Boston found the standards tougher. The three hour standard for men was now 2:50, and for women, the standard was 3:20. Master men had to run under 3:10. So with a “last chance” mentality and a flat course, 582 registered for the race.

The day before, the race organizers staged a clinic at the Sea Crest Resort. Dave McGillvery presented a talk on his Jimmy fund run across the US to inspire the runners. Also featured was the inimitable Charlie Ratti who spoke about marathon training. When asked how he trained for his first marathon, his answer was that he was so embarrassed to be seen practicing his running that he ran around his basement daily dodging the bras of his rather amply endowed wife, Gloria! On race day, the Ivory Soap Company handed soap to all competitors and filmed the race for a possible advertisement.

December 2 was clear and cold – temperatures in the upper 30’s. Some 400 runners started and last finisher (278) came in at 4:54:00. But in between, the course record was set by Thomas Joyce of Somerville in a very respectable time of 2:24:20. Andrea Hatch, now of Concord, MA returned to successfully defend her title by running a 3:11:19, more than five minutes faster than her previous year’s time. Co-director, Jack Oser expressed satisfaction with the race, but told the press that the 1980 edition of the marathon would be held the week before Thanksgiving so “I can watch the Falmouth Christmas Parade.” The date was set for November 23, 1980.

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1980: Murphy Wins, Hatch Triples

Phyllis Evenden, a superb organizer, was made sole director in 1980. Every base was covered in a meticulously organized race. Amateur radio operators, Coast Guardsmen, National Guardsmen, the Red Cross, the Otis AFB emergency squadron all were in place, to say nothing of the scores of Falmouth Track Club volunteers. Gloria Ratti and Bev Whitney were in charge of the finish line. But the numbers were down. The Foxboro Marathon was scheduled for the day before, and the potential field was split. Yet when the gun went off on a cloudy cool day, which many runners called ideal for a marathon, the field of registered runners totalled 459. After running neck and neck with Bourne’s David Ezersky, James Murphy of Worcester, runner-up the previous year, broke away on the second loop and finished in 2:27:00 followed by Ezersky (2:30:45). Andrea Hatch, now of Hingham, shaved two minutes off her previous year’s time and won the race for the third time in a row with a 3:09:22. In all there were 311 finishers of which 56 qualified for the Boston Marathon’s stringent qualifying standards including 37 finishers under 2:50.

The Cape Cod Marathon was developing a reputation as being a nuts and bolts race with with a fast course and superb organization that had as its primary mission to qualify local runners for Boston. The Falmouth Track Club set the date for the 1981 edition for November 22 at 11:00 AM.

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1981: Dexter and Smith-Rohrberg Capture Honors

Doug Poole, FTC President, took over directorship of the race from Phyllis Evenden who had been involved since its inception. He continued the attention to detail that had characterized the previous three years. Etonic Shoes continued its support of the event and was joined by Prince Spaghetti and Ocean Spray Cranberries — two companies that would become major sponsors in later years.

November 22 was another typical late November day on the Cape – cold, overcast, and raw with an uncomfortable wind out of the northwest. More than 300 had signed up for the race, 212 would finish. The uncomfortable conditions did not seem to bother Orono, Maine’s Steve Dexter, took the lead from the start and cruised in to win in 2:32:46, beating Bob Chasen of South Weymouth whose first marathon time of 2:35:08 was 2« minutes behind. The women’s race generated the excitement. A Boston University student, Mary Ann Gedritis, who had won the Falmouth in the Fall Road Race the week before, took off fast and developed a commanding lead over the next woman, West Falmouth’s Karen Smith-Rohrberg. At 20 miles, Gedritis was three minutes ahead. But Smith-Rohrberg kept to her game plan – run the race in an even 6:58 pace. A burned out Gedritis slowed, and at 25 miles, Smith-Rohrberg passed her and ran in easily to finish in a course record of 3:02:38. Gedritis managed second in 3:04:34. “Evil”, “a killer” were the descriptive phrases used by the runners to describe conditions on the course, but they were soothed by the now traditional post-race feast of clam chowder, spaghetti, and of all things, baked beans.

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1982: The Nadir: Carroll becomes Indian Giver, Smith-Rohrberg Repeats

1982 was the nadir of the Cape Cod Marathon. At the time, the Falmouth Track Club drew race directorships from among its members. Initially, no one stepped forward to take over the reins. The FTC’s board became concerned, and there was talk of dropping the race. Finally, a club member volunteered. As a condition of taking the job, the race director-to-be insisted that the marathon’s date be moved to October 3rd to avoid the nasty weather. Like the story of the emperor’s new clothes, when asked, the director said everything was fine and plans were coming together. Then in mid-September, three weeks before the race, the director resigned, citing personal reasons.

Things did not look very auspicious for the 1982 edition. There were no sponsors, the race applications had yet to be printed and distributed, and most of the required permissions and sanctions had not yet been obtained. But the FTC forged ahead, not wanting to drop something that had, up to then, been a positive event for the club. Club President, Kit Wise, Courtney Bird, and Ron Lafreniere agreed to pick up the pieces. Applications were printed, permissions secured, sponsorship from the Plymouth Savings Bank, Ocean Spray Cranberries, and Coca Cola garnered, and volunteers rounded up. It was truly a low budget operation. FTC member, Jack Carroll of Pascoag, RI donated his basement full of trophies, much to his wife’s delight. The old plaques were removed and the appropriate labels applied. A particularly garish trophy was chosen to be the the winner’s. For once, the sun shone on race day, but 75 to 80 degree temperatures were too warm except for the volunteers who out numbered the 83 starters by a considerable margin.

The race itself provided some drama as Steve Kahain of Middleboro, Greg Stone of Abington, Ray Burcheli, and Jack Carroll traded the lead. But by 18 miles, the heat had taken its toll on all but Carroll who ran steadily from the beginning. As Carroll approached the finish line, race officials scurried to locate a tape for him to break. With no sponsor to put up the money for a flashy version and no cash to even buy one, an enterprising volunteer emerged from the men’s room of the Lyle School wielding a roll of toilet paper! Carroll’s winning time, 2:44:26, was the slowest in the history of the marathon, but it was 8 minutes ahead of Marshfield’s Roger Welch (2:54:49), who in addition to being second was the first master. It was a glorious day for Carroll. He had won the marathon, and like the proverbial albatross around the neck, he won back the trophy he’d donated, much to his wife’s chagrin! In the Women’s race, it was a clean 1-2-3 sweep for the FTC. West Falmouth’s Karen Smith-Rohrberg broke away from teammate, Anne Ford of North Falmouth at 16 miles, and cruised in to a comfortable 3:12:02 victory. Ford, who would later win the marathon in her own right, placed second with a PR of 3:16:54. Diana Roth of Woods Hole finished 3rd in a PR 3:24:15.

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1983: The Last Otis: Ellis Wins, Smith-Rohrberg Triples

The near disastrous 1982 race caused the FTC to start taking a hard look at the Marathon. There was developing sentiment for taking the race off Otis AFB and moving it to Falmouth. However, those advocating such a major change recognized that such a move was at least two years away. In the short term, the club decided to keep the race at Otis but to return to the third Sunday in November date it had been run on previously. Courtney Bird volunteered to direct the race for one year. But that one-year commitment has now stretched to twenty-six. While preparations for the 1983 race were underway, Kit Wise, Bird, and other members of the FTC board began looking at the possibilities of a future move to Falmouth. Kit Wise laid out a one-loop course with a village green start and finish that took in many of the more scenic areas of the town, but which also turned out to be much hillier than the Otis course. It even had its own heartbreak hill at 20 miles by the Woods Hole Country Club. In the fall the Falmouth Board of Selectmen and the police approved of the proposed move, but it was left to the club membership to decide the issue at the FTC’s annual meeting in December, 1983.

Sunday, November 20 was ideal for marathoning. 55 degrees, partly sunny, with a light wind. Some 200 marathoners toed the line. Bruce Ellis of Exeter, NH and Andy Rogovin, the Dennis-Yarmouth cross country coach, pushed each other through 18 miles, before Ellis pulled away. He finished in 2:26:27, a PR by 5 minutes. Second place, Rogovin, was four minutes behind in 2:30:49. The drama in the women’s race centered around two time winner, Karen Smith-Rohrberg. She had set her goal at 2:51:16, the qualifying standard for the 1984 olympic trials and 11 minutes faster than her best time. For six months she gradually increased her mileage from 60 miles a week to more than 100. On race day, she ran even splits and was on target until 21 miles. She slowed somewhat for two miles and then picked up from 23 miles on. But she could not regain the lost time. She finished in 2:52:21, missing the qualifying standard by 65 seconds. However, she won the race for a third time, set a course record, and knocked 10 minutes off her best clocking!

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1984: The First Falmouth: “Honey, You ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!”

Meanwhile, the debate about moving the marathon to Falmouth got warmer. Track club meetings are usually sparsely attended, but a special meeting to discuss the marathon held in early November brought some 40 club members out of the woodwork. The Pro Move faction argued that the race was gradually dying at Otis due to its increasing invisibility, that the Otis course was not representative of Cape Cod’s scenic beauty in sharp contrast to the proposed loop course in Falmouth, that a move to Falmouth would mean greater involvement by the community and greater ease in attracting sponsorship. The Anti-Move people argued that Otis was a “PR” course unlike the proposed Falmouth route, and that Otis was a snap to organize and inexpensive to stage (1983’s expenses were $1,200.00) with little of the financial risk that a larger race in Falmouth would entail. Those opposed to the move pointed out accurately that the race budget would be at least $18,000.00 and that a minimum of $8,000.00 would need to be committed by sponsors. And there was further concern that if there was no sponsorship, the resulting financial disaster would ruin the club. The Antis also argued that finding 300 to 400 volunteers to man the course, etc. would be impossible to find. After all the club only had 100 or so members. The Pros countered that finding volunteers would be no problem if the club made it a community event. As the time wore on, it was clear that both sides were fervent about their positions.

In fact the debate became quite heated at times, and the outcome was uncertain. Finally, it was decided to vote on the issue at the club’s annual meeting in December. At the meeting, which was better attended than most, the debate on the issue covered the same ground, but when the vote was taken the Pro-Move side won 21-14. A sensible condition was imposed that if the FTC board of directors or the marathon committee could not obtain significant financial sponsorship by June 1, 1984, then the marathon would stay at Otis. The race date was set for Sunday, November 18.

During the spring of 1984, a marathon committee was formed that consisted of most of the club directors and was chaired by Courtney Bird. The 10 to 12 person committee was a working group. Each member had a specific area of responsibility – course management, start-finish area, medical, water stops, publicity, registration and results, etc. The committee member was then responsible for lining up all volunteers necessary for his or her area. The emphasis was on delegation of responsibility. The water stop director was not responsible for lining up all people to man the 10 stations along the course, but rather to find 10 captains – one for each stop – and charge them with the job of lining up a crew for that particular stop. The idea was to keep the responsibilities manageable so that good people were not burned out, to broaden the volunteer participation as much as possible, and to make involvement with the race fun.

During the spring of 1984, formal permissions were secured from the town, the state, police, etc., and several presentations were made to potential sponsors. Initially, there were no bites, and the June 1 “drop dead” deadline was fast approaching. Finally in late May, Jack Weiss, who was in charge of soliciting sponsorship, landed Co-Sponsorship commitments from Shawmut Bank and Peters-Hartel Corporation, a real estate development company with personal ties to the FTC. The June 1 deadline was only three days away!

During the summer and fall, the race committee met every other week and then weekly as the race approached to plan the myriad of details and plan out co-operative strategies to handle the logistics of the loop course and a larger field. Despite virtually no advertising, the applications began pouring in. By the 10th of October, The Falmouth Enterprise reported that 310 had pre-registered. By race weekend, some 650 had signed up, and the final total was 754. The record field was attributable to three reasons: the curiosity factor, the demise of the Foxboro Marathon, which had been run on the same weekend in previous years, and the fact that Cape Cod was one of New England’s last races to qualify for Boston. Most entrants assumed that the terrain was like Otis – flat and fast. After all, who had ever heard of hills on Cape Cod – except the locals.

Race day dawned overcast, with a raw wind blowing, and temperatures in the upper 40’s. When the gun went off at 11:00 AM, the runners encountered easy going through the first miles. But around 10« miles the hills began. Betty Fuller of West Falmouth, who would run a 3:17 that day, recalls that a man who was running with her during the early miles, started to coach her and kept urging her to slow down. She politely informed him that she’d run 12 marathons, lived in Falmouth, knew the course and, above all, knew what she was doing. He wouldn’t relent bestowing advice. At the crest of a rather long hill at 12 miles, he complained that the course was really hilly. Betty replied, “Honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet!” At that point, he must have gotten the message and took off on the downhill. Five miles later, in the midst of the Sippewissett hills, Betty encountered her former “coach” walking. As she cruised by, she gleefully remarked, “I see you’ve taken your own advice and have slowed down!” Indeed, the challenge of this course, as those 720 or so starters would find out, is that the hills roll on relentlessly from 15« to 23« miles. While the course is not a killer, it must be run conservatively and intelligently.

Rick Bayko of Newburyport had been pointing for this race, hoping to better his PR time of 2:20 set at Boston in 1974. He had run high mileage weeks since Labor Day as well as speed work. For the first 6 miles he shared the lead with Peter Hopfe of Worcester. But by the time Bayko passed through 7 miles at the Davisville lights on Route 28, he was alone in the lead and ran strongly in the Sippewissett hills and Woods Hole. By the time Bayko emerged onto flat Surf Drive for the last 2 miles, he had built a commanding three minute lead over Hopfe, and would run into the village green finish in 2:27:21. “I take back everything I said about the course being easy. I was torpedoed by it!” On the women’s side, Harwich’s Beth Nelson, who had run two previous Cape Cod’s and had started entering local triathlons, look the lead early and ran unchallenged. Her 2:47:33 placed her nine minutes ahead of second place finisher Gail Turner (2:56:31) of Hanover, NH. Like Bayko, Nelson had not expected the hills. “This is the hardest course I’ve ever been on. Its all up and down, and that wind was terrible!” Veteran chair racer Jack Coakley wanted to use the race as a Boston qualifier. With no other chairs in the marathon, Coakley knew that keeping focused would be very difficult, But Jack did. His finish time of 2:16:52 set a 13-year standard, but it failed to qualify him for Boston.

A total of 503 finished the race. and all moved to the warmth of the Lawrence School for showers, awards, and a post-race feast of clam chowder, pasta, salad, fruit juices, homemade bread, brownies. The marathon committee and the Falmouth Track Club pronounced the race a success. Hundred’s of volunteers had come out to cover the bases, and it was clear that it was a community event. The head of the police detail commented that “This [was] the best set-up race I’ve seen. They’ve left nothing to conjecture.” The town fathers were pleased because the marathon brought business into town, and other than a rather large traffic jam at the seven-mile mark where the race crossed Route 28, the problems associated with the event were minimal. Over the next few weeks, many letters from runners were received complimenting the race committee for its superb organization, attention to detail, and caring attitude — although there were laments about the hills. Even the doubters in the track club, who had opposed the move off Otis AFB, were impressed as were the major sponsors who agreed to sign on for another year. The date of the eighth edition was set for November 17, 1985, the third Sunday in the month, and planning began within weeks of the 1984 race.

In the euphoric afterglow of success, the race committee expected the race to grow significantly in 1985. But it was not to be… Enter the Boston Peace Marathon.

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1985: Boston Peace Cops Field, Howard Wins, Nelson Sets Women’s Mark

Various groups had considered putting on a fall marathon in Boston. In late October, 1983, John McGrath staged the Bostonfest Marathon. Despite a hefty entry fee, the race attracted around 2,000 runners. Traffic and logistical problems doomed the race and a second Bostonfest was never held. But McGrath demonstrated that there was a market for a fall marathon in Boston. In the summer of 1985, another group headed by Gerry Wright and Russell Deutsch announced plans for a fall marathon. Called the Boston Peace Marathon, it featured a point-to-point course that began in Concord and ended at Fanueil Hall and was to be run on November 24, one week after Cape Cod. When Courtney Bird, Cape Cod’s race director, picked up a copy of the Boston Peace Marathon entry form being passed out at the finish of the Falmouth Road Race that August, his heart sank because he sensed what the impact of the race would be on the size of Cape Cod’s field. Eastern Massachusetts is the geographic area from which Cape Cod traditionally drew 80% of its field. To have a new marathon on a potentially less challenging course, close to home, a week later, which drew on that same pool of runners, was not good news for Cape Cod.

Indeed, Bird’s fears were borne out. By early November, only 235 had signed up. With less than a week to go, the number of pre-registered had grown to 260. These numbers contrasted sharply with the 650 entered at the same time the previous year and the 700 plus that had signed up for the Boston Peace Marathon. By race day, the field had grown to approximately 350, of which about 250 started. Rick Bayco did not return to defend his title, opting for Boston Peace instead. The women’s field was strengthened on race day when Beth Nelson returned to defend her title and Shirley Silsby of Cotuit, who had a 2:41 to her credit, signed up.

At the start, temperatures were in the upper 50’s and humid. Former winner, Larry Olsen, post-entered on race day. Soon after the start, Olsen led a lead pack of four or five runners that included teammate, John Howard of Framingham. At about seven miles, someone yelled to Olsen from the lead truck, “Are you going for a repeat victory?” “No,” he shouted back, “I’m just doing an eighteen mile workout.” By the halfway point, Olsen and Howard were running alone in the front. At 18 miles, true to his word, Olsen dropped out, and Howard pushed on alone through the hills to Woods Hole and out past Nobska Light. His pace slowed. At about 23 miles, when asked how he was feeling, he replied that he would have dropped out long ago if he weren’t leading the race. Howard won. His time of 2:35:21 is the slowest winning time on the Falmouth course. In the women’s race, Beth Nelson and Shirley Silsby pushed each other through the early miles. But Nelson proved to be stronger that day. After 15 miles, she pulled away from Silsby for good. When she crossed the finish line, Nelson shattered her own women’s course record by more than three minutes with a 2:44:12 clocking. Silsby was second in 2:49:10. Both women placed in the overall top 10 finishers! The warm conditions took their toll on the field with generally slower times and high attrition rate — only 173 finished.

While the race again was superbly organized and mechanically perfect, the track club and the marathon committee were disappointed with the small field. The following weekend, the inaugural Boston Peace Marathon would attract some 1,100 runners. The Falmouth Enterprise even had an editorial which while praising the efforts of the Cape Cod Marathon organizers, wondered out loud whether the race had a future. At the committee’s post-mortem, the future of the race was debated. No one was ready to throw in the towel.

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1986: Thomas Sets Course Record, Ford Donates Prize Money to Track Fund

Given the competition in Boston, what could be done to attract a larger field? Certainly, one of the negatives was the hilly course. The legendary Bill Squires once cornered race director Courtney Bird in the Eliot Lounge and on the third beer informed him in no uncertain words that if Cape Cod had a flat course, it would attract 2,000 runners – no problem.

In fact, the course was looked at. Should it be run in the opposite direction so the hills would be in the beginning? That option was discarded because it would mean that runners would be running into a headwind on the flat parts of the course. A number of other ideas were considered, including various out and back and multiple loop configurations. But all were rejected because it would mean sacrificing much of the spectacular scenic beauty of the course to the Gods of “Flat and Fast.”

Finally the race committee decided to try the gambit of offering prize money. The organizers reasoned that prize money would attract better runners, get the race more media attention, and over time start attracting larger fields. The decision was made to advertize the race more extensively, touting the beauty of the course and the idea of making Cape Cod a destination weekend for a fall getaway. The hope was that these approaches would increase the field size to more than 500. By the spring of 1986, additional sponsorship had been secured, and in June the race committee announced the offering of a $5,500.00 prize purse with $1,000 going to top man and woman. The date of the ninth annual edition was set for Sunday, November 16, 1986.

During the summer and fall, the entries trickled in. By early September, the number of registered runners was double the previous year, leading The Falmouth Enterprise to breathlessly proclaim in a front page story that more than 1,000 runners were projected for that year’s marathon. In fact, the field closed out at around 385, up only slightly from the year before.

But it was a field with talent. Amherst’s Randy Thomas, with a 28 minute 10k and a 2:11 PR in the marathon made him the man to beat. He had never won a marathon, though he had finished fifth in Boston and New York and third in Tokyo, but he was determined to win Cape Cod. Jimmy Fallon of Providence, RI had a PR of 2:17 and hoped to run 2:16. John O’Leary of Dedham had run 2:20 in Boston in the spring; Gregorio Carillo of Costa Rica – 2:25; and Stephen Grygiel of Portland Maine – 2:26. The Women’s field, though not as strong, included Shirley Silsby of Cotuit. Beth Nelson was a doubtful starter because of an injury.

Sunday, November 16 was overcast and raw with temperatures in the mid-forties. Thomas, Fallon and his teammate Mark Skinkle, Carillo, and Vin Fleming, Thomas’s former GBTC teammate went out together, blowing through the first mile in 4:59. By five miles, the pack was down to three — Thomas, Fallon, and Skinkle. When Fallon stopped to tie his shoe at 5® miles, Skinkle stayed with him and Thomas surged, hoping to break contact. By 10 miles, which he passed in 51:01, Thomas had opened up a lead of 600 yards over Fallon. Thomas went through the half in 1:06 and had widened his lead even more. While he slowed in the hills, he maintained his record pace and kept glancing over his shoulder wondering when Fallon might come up on him. But Fallon was falling farther behind. Thomas went past the 24 mile point in 2:04, still looking over his shoulder. The hills were behind him, ahead lay Surf Drive and the finish. Small knots of spectators encouraged him on Surf Drive and Walker Street. When he turned onto Main Street for the final 2/10’s of a mile, he knew he had it won. His remarkable performance that day – 2:17:35 – took 10 minutes of Rick Bayko’s course record and set a standard that has held up for 10 years. When Thomas was asked what he was going to do with the $1,000.00 he’d won, his answer was to pay off $600 in parking tickets he’d accrued at UMass-Amherst, where he was the cross country coach. Fallon was second, crossing the line some four minutes later in 2:21:47. Third place went to Terry Rauch of Natick (2:28:40).

In the women’s race, Shirley Silsby took an early lead. By 10 miles, she was 2:45 ahead of Anne Ford of North Falmouth, who had entered the race at the last minute on a whim. By the half, Silsby had widened her lead to four minutes. But as the hills rolled on, she began to slow as a nagging hip injury began to take its toll. Ford maintained her steady pace, looking to meet a personal goal of breaking three hours as much as winning. As the race wore on, the gap between the faltering Silsby and the smooth running Ford closed. By 23 miles, Silsby was in Ford’s sights. On Surf Drive, Ford took over the lead and cruised in to a PR and a $1,000.00 purse in 2:58:12. Silsby was second in 3:01:07. Third place went to former three-time Cape Cod winner, Karen Smith-Rohrberg (3:12:32). Ford selflessly donated her winnings to a fund to build a new track at Falmouth High School. While disappointed that the field remained small, the race committee was very pleased with the quality of the event and continued to look for ways to build the field. The date for the 10th edition was set for Sunday, November 15, 1987.

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1987: Cathy Schiro Sets Women’s Standard

In December of 1986, Cape Cod bid for and was awarded the NEAC Marathon Championship for 1987 — the first of 10 consecutive years that Cape Cod would host the Grand Prix event. The race committee hoped that having championship status would both increase the size of the field and its quality as well as attract more sponsorship support. Although long time sponsors Peters-Hartel and Shawmut Bank failed to renew their support, the Falmouth Woods Development Corporation, which was in the midst of constructing a major resort and residential complex on 800 acres in North Falmouth, came on board with a commitment of $10,000. The Sandwich Co-operative Bank also committed to underwrite the cost of the t-shirts. With increased sponsorship, Race Director, Courtney Bird, announced in July that the the Cape Cod Marathon would offer a prize purse of $11,000 including $1,500 to the top man and woman and $500 to the top men and women’s masters. Additionally, the race organizers increased their advertizing to promote the race in New England and nationally.

Entries came in at a steady clip. By early October, the number of pre-registered runners was running ahead of 1984 when the field had topped 750. Also contributing to the increased field was the one year-demise of the Ocean State Marathon, a late October – early November fixture on the fall marathon calendar since the mid-seventies. By mid-week before the marathon, the number of pre-entered had swollen to more than 650. And the quality of the field was good as well. Jimmy Fallon returned for another try. But he was challenged by a number of top regional runners – Mike Brady, Gregg Cornell, Ron Gillooly, and Mike Casner. The women’s race promised to be competitive as well. Beth Nelson was back and running well. But there were others as well. Cristine Maisto had won the Pike’s Peak Marathon and had a 2:45:50 recent marathon to her credit; Rhode Island’s Kim Goff had run in the 2:40’s on more than one occasion; Jackie Regan had won the 1986 Boston Peace in 2:57; defending champion Anne Ford also was registered; and Connecticut’s Jan McKeown, a master, had recently run under 3 hours. About 30 minutes before the starting gun, a young twenty year old college student who had dropped out of New York two weeks earlier signed up. Her hope was to qualify for the Olympic trials. Cathy Schiro had the credentials. At age 16, she had placed ninth in the 1984 women’s trials with a 2:34:24 and had placed seventh in the Falmouth Road Race in August.

On the Thursday before the marathon, an early snowstorm dumped 10 inches of the white stuff on Falmouth. Despite Bird’s fears, the weather warmed and by Sunday only a few stray piles remained along the roadsides. Race day was ideal. A cloudless sky, no wind, and 50-degree weather was a marathoner’s and spectator’s dream. Swollen by post-entries, the 774 runner field was the largest in the history of the event. Even Jack Coakley was back to see whether he could break his record and meet the 2:10 qualifying time for Boston.

Johnny Kelley fired the cannon, and Jimmy Fallon took off, determined not to be second again. Within a short distance, he and Mike Brady were alone in the front. They ran together for the first eight miles, but there Fallon surged in a short stretch of hills. Brady did not answer. Fallon ran steadily for the balance of the race. Meanwhile, Brady struggled increasingly and dropped out at 21 miles. Gregg Cornell moved into second but never got close to Fallon who crossed the line in the 2nd fastest time on the Falmouth course – 2:20:22. Gregg Cornell finished 2nd in 2:26:18 followed by Vin Fleming in a very respectable 2:26:59.

Thirteen places behind Fallon, came Cathy Schiro. She was never challenged from the start, and she obliterated the strongest field in the history of the race. Her time of 2:37:06 took more than seven minutes off Beth Nelson’s course record put her across the finish line 10 minutes ahead of Christine Maisto (2:47:15) and Sally Zimmer of Windsor, Connecticut (2:51:13). The depth of the women’s field was evident in that the first six women were under three hours.

Beside Cathy Schiro’s record setting performance, course records were set in the Men’s Master (John Boyle: 2:30:49), Women’s Master (Jan McKeown: 3:02:09). Unfortunately despite Jack Coakley’s very gutsy performance that day, he could not best his record, and he settled for a 2:21:06.

By every measurement, the race was a success. There was a record field that was characterized by its overall quality as well as its size, it was a perfect day for a marathon, and the race’s superb organization proved more than equal to the biggest field in the history of the event. Pleased with its success, the Falmouth Track Club again bid for and received the NEAC marathon championship. The date for the 11th annual Cape Cod Marathon was set for Sunday, November 13, 1988.

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1988: Record Prize Purse, Nasty Weather, Gutsy Victories for Cotton and Silsby

The success of the 1987 race caught sponsors’ interest. By the spring of 1988, the total sponsorship dollars committed exceeded $20,000. With that kind of backing, the track club decided to increase the prize purse to $14,000 with $1,700 going to the top man and woman and with money being distributed to some 38 competitors including seniors and veterans. But some rain was to fall on the parade. Like the Phoenix, the Ocean State Marathon rose from the ashes, now reconstituted as the Rhode Island Marathon. Its date was to be November 6th, and the organizers were offering a $10,000.00 prize purse. Once again three top marathons crowded the New England calendar, with only a week separating each of them. The total marathoner pool was now divided among three races. The results were predictable. Despite increased promotion, Cape Cod’s field dropped to 600. Boston Peace was down as well. Rhode Island attracted a field of about 1,000.

In spite of increased prize money, the field was not as deep as ’87. Jimmy Fallon returned to try to repeat his victory. But he was challenged by Mike Cotton of New Haven, Paul Hammond of Wilmington, MA, and Mark Albin of Manchester, VT. Neither Cathy Schiro or Beth Nelson returned. However, Cotuit’s Shirley Silsby decided to make another run at victory. She had been second to Beth Nelson and Anne Ford in previous races. But the field had some other fast women as well. Lise Bouchard from Quebec had the best credentials with a 2:45 in the 1988 Boston Marathon. Nicole McGilpin of Westfield had posted marathon bests in the 2:50’s.

The weather on November 13 was as unfriendly as 1987 had been ideal. The temperature was in the low 50’s, it was overcast and spitting rain, and the wind was blowing 30 to 40 mph out of the southeast. This meant that the runners had the worst of everything. In the open areas along the shore, they bucked the head wind. Don Allison who had run a couple of low 2:40 marathons on this course could manage only a 7:45 pace for the first five miles. Along the back part of the course, the runners fought the hills until 24 miles. Then it was back onto Surf Drive and two miles of headwind and blowing sand. Needless to say, the race had a high number of dropouts.

From the start the top men ran in a pack. Fallon and Cotton matched each other stride for stride, and Albin and Hammond held on for the early miles. By about 6 miles, it was clear that Cotton was dictating the pace. Hammond and Albin began to drop away and Fallon was increasingly bothered by a pulled muscle. He managed to stay with Cotton until the mid-point where he dropped out. After that Cotton ran alone. One of the lasting images of that race was Mike Cotton powering his way up Surf Drive, his body leaning slightly sideways into the 40 mph headwind, head cocked a bit so that the sand blown off the beaches would not fill his ear. He crossed the finish line in 2:20:30. If the conditions had been less severe, Thomas’s record might have been broken that day. Indeed, Cotton went on to run 2:16 in the Pittsburgh Marathon the following May. Paul Hammond (2:26:37) was second and Mark Albin (2:28:46) was third.

The women’s race was a classic example of how to run Cape Cod. Silsby had run the race three times. From her experience, she had learned respect for the hills, conservative running for the first half, and running one’s own race. Lise Bouchard jumped off to a quick lead, and had a commanding lead of some four minutes over Silsby by 10 miles. By 13 miles that lead had shrunk to less than 2« minutes. From then on, Silsby’s knowledge of the hills and the course worked to her advantage. At 21 miles she caught up to the faltering Bouchard and cruised in to a 2:51:39. Bouchard was second in 2:54:24 followed by Nicole McGilpin (2:59:52). It should be noted that both Cotton and Silsby ran negative splits on the course. But for many runners, the conditions were too severe, Of the 600 who registered, only about 525 started and only 394 finished.

As the marathon committee looked ahead to 1989, there was debate about changing the date. The traditional mid-November date sandwiched the race between its competitors and conflicted with the NEAC cross country championships. The committee voted the change the date to October 29, 1989. Ironically, Rhode Island decided to move its date to October 22, leaving Boston Peace as the only November marathon in New England. With its new date, Cape Cod bid for and again was awarded the NEAC championship

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1989: Sponsorship Woes Plague Organizers, Race Perseveres

Stirrat Wins Tactical Race and Silsby Victorious a Week After Winning Rhode Island

The 12th annual Cape Cod Marathon was a potential nightmare with a happy ending. Falmouth Woods Development Corporation had supported the race for two years and had indicated it would be back for a third. With assurances of sponsorship, Courtney Bird went to the NEAC meeting held to select New England championships and assured the group that prize money would again be awarded. Part of the reason for awarding the championship to Cape Cod was that representation. In early spring, the race got two pieces of bad news. First, Falmouth Woods, which by that time was in deep financial trouble with the now defunct Bank of New England, backed out of its commitment. Second, Cape Cod Potato Chips, which had Co-sponsored the 1988 race, pulled out because it was a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, who did not take kindly to having Boston Beer as a prominent contributing sponsor. The race could go on, but the race organizers were faced with either not offering prize money or cutting back on race amenities. With no debate, the decision was made that the race amenities and special treatment of all runners was the priority. Courtney Bird went to the NEAC in July and informed them that there would be no prize money. He offered to withdraw as the championship. He added that if the number of entries or future sponsorship permitted, the marathon would offer NEAC team prize money. After some debate, the NEAC decided to keep Cape Cod as the championship.

During the summer and fall entries came in steadily at a rate that would produce a field of about 500 runners. Then in early October, the organizers of the Boston Peace Marathon announced that the race was cancelled, citing lack of financial backing and problems getting permits. Suddenly, there were 1,000 marathoners looking for a race. With Cape Cod now three weeks earlier, but the last fall marathon in New England, the marathon’s telephone rang off the hook with runners looking to sign up. In the last two weeks, the race picked up some 300 entrants and when the gun went off, 690 runners had signed up. Because Rhode Island offered prize money and was held a week earlier, many top runners chose to run there including last year’s women’s winner, Shirley Silsby. Because, the Cape was a championship race, many top club runners entered despite the lack of prize money. The pre-race favorite was Reno Stirrat with a 2:19 PR, and his competition came from East Boston’s Lou Ristaino, Groton’s Donald Alvey, and Chelmsford’s Tom Amiro, all of whom could run in the 2:20’s on a good day. The women’s field was very thin. No woman who had entered prior to race day had run under three hours.

Race day was sunny but very warm. The temperature at the start was 76 degrees. While it would drop to the mid-sixties three hours later, the cooling off would prove to be of little help for many runners. Of the 625 who would start, only 496 would finish.

Lou Ristaino was looking to win. Courtney Bird warned him to run conservatively in the beginning and take fluids. Bird said, “Don’t worry about the other guys; develop a game plan and stick to it. Conserve your energy for the hills. The runners in front will come back to you.” Advice is much easier to give than to take. Lou learned the hard way.

When the race began, Ristaino jumped out to an early lead. In addition, he did not take fluids at the first two or three water stops. By seven miles Ristaino had built a lead of nearly a half mile. The pack following Ristaino was not even visible from the lead truck at eight miles. Then at 10« miles a tiny speck was observed way back. By 11 miles the speck had gotten bigger. By 12 miles, the speck had grown to a runner and was only 150 yards back. By 12«, the challenger had pulled within 10 yards. It was Reno Stirrat. Ristaino was running stiffly and his form was disintegrating. By contrast, Stirrat strode smoothly and effortlessly. At the 13-mile point, Stirrat breezed by Ristaino, who disappeared from sight. Reno Stirrat would now cruise comfortably through the hills and into the finish in 2:30:06. Ristaino gutted it out, trying to hold onto second. But he struggled through the hills and was caught by Don Alvey on Surf Drive. Alvey finished second (2:31:52) followed by Ristaino (2:32:48). Later, at Bird’s post-race party at his house, as Ristaino quaffed a Sam Adams beer, he pronounced that he’d learned some hard lessons about Cape Cod, and promised to return next year to win. But Stirrat had proven to be the best that day. After the race, he said that the heat and the hills were relentless and that rather than try for a PR, he had chosen to run to win.

Forty minutes before the start, Shirley Silsby entered the race. One week earlier, she had won Rhode Island and $1,200.00 with an impressive 2:49:30. She proclaimed to anyone who asked that she was going to do a 16 mile training run. Weymouth’s Kim Baker jumped into an early lead. Silsby hung back, running easily. When she crested a long uphill gradient just before 16 miles, she spotted Baker only 100 yards ahead. Silsby felt good and decided to go the distance. At the mid-point of a particularly nasty little hill at 17 miles, Silsby grabbed the lead. She glided through the hills, widening her lead over Baker, and finished the race in a very respectable 2:54:14. What was impressive about her feat was that Cape Cod was her second marathon victory in eight days! Meanwhile, second place, Kim Baker, crossed the line in 3:01:33 — a PR by 17 minutes! Both women had banner days.

In their post-race evaluation, the committee discussed the possibility of returning to the mid-November date now that the Boston Peace Marathon was gone. However, because the organizers wanted to bid for the marathon championship again and because there were conflicts with other NEAC events in mid November, to say nothing of the fact that the volunteers liked the warmer weather, the late October date was kept. Cape Cod bid for and got the 1990 NEAC championship and the date was to be Sunday, October 28, 1990.

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1990: The Beginning of the Lean Years

Ristaino Applies 1989 Lesson, Silsby Triples

“It’s the economy, stupid!” the saying goes. From 1990 to 1993, the country was in a recession. Massachusetts and Cape Cod, in particular, were hit hard. The marathon would not escape the effects. Road Races require financial support other than entry fees to cover costs. The Cape Cod Marathon, which historically has had a small operating budget compared to other marathons, gets only 60% of its costs covered by entry fees. The rest comes from the support of corporate sponsors. Because Cape Cod in the fall is not perceived to be in a major market such as Boston or Providence, corporations tend to shy away. The Cape Cod Marathon had always looked to local businesses for support. In the early years, it was Peters-Hartel, and later, Falmouth Woods Development Corporation. In 1987, Fred Legate, president of the Sandwich Co-operative Bank and a Falmouth Track Club member who had set a PR at Cape Cod, was persuaded by Courtney Bird to have the bank become a sponsor of the event. Thus began an ongoing association by the bank with the marathon that continued through 1998 when it was taken over by New Bedford based Compass Bank. Compass Bank has elected to continue the sponsorship through 1999 at least. Over the years the level of Sandwich Co-operative’s support varied with the state of the economy. but year after year the bank was there. In fact, were it not for the bank’s sponsorship during those recession years, Cape Cod might well have disappeared.

But it was not just sponsorship. Many runners during the eighties combined the Cape Cod Marathon with a getaway weekend or week. Even many New England runners who could could have made the marathon a day trip, spent the night or the weekend in the Falmouth area. But in the early ’90’s, fewer runners traveled or came only for the day, and those that did come spent less in the local economy. Restaurateurs and hotel keepers could see it in their balance sheets.

And the Cape Cod Marathon? During those years, the race organizers focused on maintaining the quality of the event and on being able to continue to offer runners of all abilities the amenities for which the event had become known. Prize money would only be offered if sponsorship permitted. From 1989 to 1993 sponsorship did not permit, and the marathon survived only because of the determination of the Falmouth Track Club to stage a first class race and the loyal sponsorship of the Sandwich Co-operative Bank.

The 13th annual Cape Cod Marathon attracted a field of 609 including Don Alvey, Gregg Cornell, Tom Amiro, local favorite Ken Gartner, and Lou Ristaino, who was back to gain the victory that eluded him in 1990. The women’s field included several good New England club runners. As had been her pattern in the past, Shirley Silsby remained undecided. The Rhode Island Marathon had moved its date to the week following Cape Cod and its $1,200.00 first place prize purse was tempting. But Silsby’s ties to the Cape proved to be strong. On race day she entered.

When the cannon boomed, temperatures were in the 50’s, and it was overcast – almost ideal conditions. A lead pack of Ristaino, Gartner, Alvey, Cornell, Amiro, and Carroll emerged after the first mile. Then, Gartner and Alvey took a hundred yard lead. As the miles ticked by, Alvey dropped back leaving Gartner alone in front. As the runners went through the 12-mile point, Gartner maintained his lead, but Alvey, Ristaino, and Cornell were only 100 yards back. At 13 miles, Ristaino began to make his move, he broke away from Cornell, surged past Alvey, and made a run at Gartner. At 15 miles, Ristaino, using the lessons he’d learned the year before, went by Gartner and accelerated through the Sippewissett hills. By the time he ran onto the flats of Surf Drive, he had developed a commanding lead over the rest of the field. When Ristaino crossed the line with a very respectable 2:28:10, he showed he had mastered the lessons of the course and had run a textbook race. Gartner faded to eighth while Don Alvey moved into second place for good in the hills. Alvey finished in 2:33:19 followed by Cornell (2:34:56).

In the women’s race, Shirley Silsby followed the same lesson plan as Ristaino. Run conservatively in the beginning and power through the hills. For the first 16 miles she ran with Eastham’s Cheryl Schultze and then got down to business in the hills. Silsby crossed the finish line for a third consecutive victory in 2:46:49 – her best time on the course up to that time. Schultze finished second in 3:07:14.

But Silsby was not done. She went to Rhode Island the following week and duplicated her back to back marathon feat for the second year in a row with a time of 2:49:43.

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1991: Hurricane Bob Almost Spoils Party

Silsby Does it Again – 4th Victory in a Row, Age Triumphs in Men’s Race

The weather gods did not smile on Cape Cod that year. Early preparations for the race in the winter and spring were on target. The date was set for October 27th, the organizers bid for and received the NEAC marathon championship again, and sponsorship was secured from Sandwich Co-operative and other local sponsors. Plans were progressing smoothly until the day after the August Falmouth Road Race. Hurricane Bob struck the Cape. The 1« mile long Surf Drive and the cottages along it were destroyed. The road was impassable. That section comprised the 24th mile of the marathon course. The town could not repair the road until it received federal emergency funds and those got tied up in red tape. In September, the Falmouth Department of Public Works assured the organizers that they would have the money by early October and that the road would be ready for the marathon.

Then three weeks before the race, Race Director Courtney Bird learned that the federal money was not going to be available in time and the road was not going to be repaired. At that point, Bird began scrambling. If a short 150 yard section of Surf Drive could be made passable by grading and adding a few inches of compacting gravel, the last two miles of the race could be easily rerouted. Because of the politically sensitive nature of asking the town to divert its already strained resources for a road race, Bird got a commitment of help from Lawrence-Lynch Corporation, a road construction firm located in Falmouth. After meetings with officials from Lawrence-Lynch and the Falmouth DPW, the town agreed to supply the labor and machinery to grade the road and Lawrence-Lynch donated the compacting gravel. The town agreed to open this short stretch of the road for the race. The race committee quickly laid out the new course, measured it, and obtained the necessary recertification. The last two miles would now go up Elm Road, along Locust Street and finish on main street nearly in front of Town Hall Square.

Perhaps because of uncertainties about the course, the field was off some from the year before. On race day, the final total of registered runners was 526, of which about 475 actually started. The men’s field was thin at the top because there was a large prize money purse at the Rhode Island Marathon to be held a week later and because most of the men’s championship races in the NEAC Grand Prix had already been decided. But a number of good club runners who were capable of running in the high 2:20’s and low 2:30’s did sign up. They included Pat Moreton (CSU), Tony Moranto (CSU), Don Alvey (GLRR), Tom Carroll (GLRR), Tom Amiro (GLRR) and Peter Bloomquist (CMS). The women’s field was a different story. Peg Donovan (GLRR), Lisa Senatore (GLRR) and Lois Duquette (GBTC) were all competing for the the women’s individual championship and all had PR’s in the 2:40’s. A further incentive was that it was an Olympic year in 1992, and these women were all looking to qualify for the Olympic Trials marathon. And then there was three-time women’s champion, Shirley Silsby Frye.

The weather was overcast and cool, but extremely humid. Don Alvey, second for the past two years, moved out into an early lead over GLRR teammate, Tom Carroll and led the race well into the Sippewissett hills. At 19 miles, Carroll, surged past Alvey and cruised in to a 2:34:10 victory. He is the only master to win Cape Cod. Don Alvey settled for second (2:35:01) for the third year in a row, and Terry Gilmore from Burlington, VT was third (2:36:01).

The women’s race provided the real drama that year, and Shirly Silsby Frye’s experience and knowledge of the course was the major factor. Shirley had written the textbook on the race entitled “Start Slow and Finish Strong.” Donovan, Senatore, and Duquette hadn’t read the book and went out quickly. Donovan pulled into the lead followed by Senatore and Duquette. At the cranberry bogs at the eight mile point, the three women leaders went by with barely a minute separating first from third. Five minutes after third place Lisa Duquette passed by, Frye loped through looking relaxed and smooth. Given the field, had she let the leaders get away from her? By the halfway mark, it was clear that Frye was beginning her move. She had closed in on Duquette and was only one minute behind her and five minutes behind the leader, Donovan. At 19 miles, Frye overtook Duquette and set her sights on Lisa Senatore. When Frye turned onto Water Street in Woods Hole, just past the 21-mile point, she passed Senatore. Donovan was now only a quarter mile ahead and appeared to be tiring. Frye, on the other hand, looked strong and was accelerating. At 22.2 miles at the bottom of Nobska Light Hill, Frye overtook Donovan and quickly put a hundred yards between her and her rival. Frye powered her way through the rest of the hills, and captured her 4th consecutive victory in 2:46:05. Donovan was second (2:46:56), and Senatore finished third (2:50:39). Without question, Frye had faced her toughest competition ever that day and proved more than equal to the task.

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1992: Husband & Wife Team of Moreton & Moreton Take Men’s & Women’s Top Honors

The 15th edition of the marathon was set for Sunday, October 26th. Again Cape Cod would host the NEAC marathon championship, and the organizers decided to keep the hurricane altered course in tact for another year. Again, sponsorship money proved elusive, but the Sandwich Co-operative Bank’s ongoing support kept the race alive. The number of entries remained fairly constant at 502. The composition of the field was similar to 1991 in that club runners, both men and women, registered to compete for individual and team honors in the NEAC Grand Prix series. The Cambridge Sports Union dispatched strong men’s and women’s contingents, Pat and Joy Moreton among them, and the Boston Running Club sent their top women.

Race day was dreary, windy, 42 degrees, and raining. A pack of runners including Pat Moreton, Falmouth’s Ken Gartner, Jon Waldron (CSU), and Terry McNatt (CSU) ran together through much of the race. With about 3« miles to go, Moreton broke away from Gartner and Waldron, powered through the wind and rain finished with a very respectable 2:29:20. Second place, Ken Gartner, PR’d with a 2:32:02. Third place went to Jon Waldron (2:34:09).

Pat Moreton now waited for his wife. Joy took the lead from the start and ran strongly through the first 18 miles. Behind her ran the three BRC teammates, Mimi Corcoran, Maura Conolly, and Cathy Lifschultz. Corcoran and Connolly stayed together the entire race; however, because of the snakelike nature of the course, they did not realize until it was too late that Moreton was slowing and they were gaining. Although Moreton was very tired, she kept her form together and hung on for victory in 2:55:10. Corcoran and Connolly finished together less than a minute later in 2:56:46, and Lifschultz came in fourth (2:58:15).

The nasty weather took its toll. Of the approximately 475 starters, only 368 finished. But the race was a family affair — the only time Cape Cod has ever been won by husband and wife.

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1993: Five Leg Relay Added to Marathon

Silsby-Frye Wins 5th, Matiskella Takes Top Honors

The date of 16th Cape Cod was set for Sunday, October 24th. At the USATF New England Grand Prix Meeting in November 1992, Cape Cod was again awarded the championship over a strong bid from the Rhode Island Marathon whose hefty prize purse was very attractive to many clubs. When the race committee began its planning, there was a strong feeling that another event ought to be added to the marathon in order to widen participation and attract more sponsorship. Various ideas were considered including adding a half marathon but were discarded as being logistically impractical. Finally at the suggestion of Shirley Silsby Frye, it was decided to add a five leg marathon relay to be run simultaneously. Frye had seen how well a relay had worked at the Vermont City Marathon and the race committee copied many of the mechanical aspects from Vermont. The idea of a relay as a championship event for the USATF-NE was even discussed. The Cape Cod Marathon Relay was to be a demonstration event to determine the idea’s feasibility.

Meanwhile, a new marathon appeared in Rhode Island – the Ocean State. It was organized by many of the same people who had staged the original Ocean State run for many years in Newport. Their date was set for the week before Cape Cod. The late October – early November marathon calendar now was not just crowded; it was packed. In 1990, after the demise of the Boston Peace Marathon, the Bay State Marathon was born as a late winter Boston qualifier. In 1991, its organizers moved the race to mid-October, two weeks before Cape Cod. With the insertion of Ocean State in the empty slot, there were now four marathons in four consecutive weeks. The fields were diluted in all races.

Sunday, October 24th was a beautiful New England fall day, although the temperatures for the marathoners were a bit warm at 65 degrees. The race had returned to its original course, and a field of 439 marathoners and 27 relay teams registered.

As had typified Cape Cod’s fields for the past few years, the race was dominated by top club runners. The horses looking for prize money chose to run Rhode Island or Ocean State instead, and runners worshipping the gods of “Flat and Fast” went to Bay State. Ken Gartner, one of his house mates, Keith Matiskella, running his first marathon, Jon Waldron, Jim Morisseau, and Larry Olsen were potential winners. On the women’s side, Shirley Frye, who had sat out the 1992 marathon, was clearly the favorite. However, Tri-Valley’s Larry Olsen said that one of the women he was coaching, Colleen Brown, might be able to break three hours.

Matiskella took the lead at the start and was never seriously challenged. His 2:31:05 was a very good first marathon. He acknowledged at he had made every rookie mistake in the book. He went out too fast, did not drink enough fluids in the early part of the race, got a stitch in his side and spent the rest of the race getting rid of it. Larry Olsen and Ken Gartner dropped out and two master runners, Jim Morisseau (2:39:12) and Bob Ruel (2:41:11) placed second and third respectively.

In the Women’s race, Shirley Frye lived up to her billing and captured her fifth Cape Cod Marathon title in 2:55:14. She ran in the front from the beginning, but second place Colleen Brown, running her best marathon ever, got to within a minute and a half of Frye at 20 miles, but could not close any further. Nevertheless her second place finish of 2:58:43 was a PR by 17 minutes!

Although only 27 teams competed, the inaugural relay proved to be a very successful and positive addition to the event. The crowds of spectators and runners on the course increased and it allowed a wider variety of runners to participate. The limited number of relay teams allowed the race organizers the opportunity to test the logistical systems, and they worked well. The relay fitted in nicely with the marathon. An open team from the Cape Cod A.C. captured the title, but the feedback from the other participants was very positive.

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1994: Solid Growth in Marathon and Relay, Garcia and Kelley Capture Top Honors

Lyon Triumphs Over Adversity in Wheelchair Division

The date of the 17th annual marathon was set for Sunday, October 30th. The race got a boost from increased sponsorship. In addition to Sandwich Co-operative, Borden Foods, through its subsidiary Prince Pasta became a co-sponsor of the marathon. For Harvard Community Health Plan, the marathon relay was attractive and they became its title sponsor. Again, Cape Cod bid for and got the USATF-NE marathon championship. The race organizers decided to put their increased sponsorship dollars into marketing and a $7,000.00 prize purse. At the same time, one of the two marathons in Rhode Island succumbed restoring some balance to the full fall marathon calendar in New England.

The number of entrants in the marathon increased to 611 and the relay teams doubled to 53 for a record 876 participants. The marathon field had more depth as well, lured by a prize purse and the competition of the Grand Prix series. In the men’s field Rob Pierce with a recent 2:15 under his belt, Jim Garcia, Craig Fram, Dan Verrington, Larry Olsen, and 1993’s runner-up, Jim Morisseau were all possible contenders. In the Women’s race, Shirley Frye was back to try to win for a 6th time. Her competition came from North Carolina’s Mary Ellen Kelly, Maura Connolly, Cathy Lifschultz and Anna Brook.

Race day was beautiful. Sunny, upper fifties to low sixties, and foliage at its peak. From the start, Rob Pierce set the pace and built a substantial lead by the mid point. But the heat and hills began to take their toll. At 18 miles, Fram, then Verrington, then Garcia passed the faltering Pierce. Garcia started his move. At 19 miles he went by Verrington and caught Fram at Nobska Light. When Fram would not answer his surge, Garcia ran the last 4 miles alone. His winning time: 2:27:57. Craig Fram finished second (2:31:12) and Verrington followed in 2:33:59. Larry Olsen (2:38:29) was the first master in a time only five minutes slower than his winning time in the inaugural Cape Cod in 1978, 17 years before.

Shirley Frye was not in top shape, but she wanted to give Cape Cod one more shot. Mary Ellen Kelly was very familiar with Frye’s strategy. She had reviewed the details of Frye’s past victories and knew how she would run the race. When the gun went off, Kelly tried running conservatively, but could not hold back. All she knew was that Frye was behind her somewhere. At the half, she had a four minute lead over Frye, but the hills were coming up. By 18« miles, Kelly was tiring and Frye had closed the gap to less than a minute. But it wasn’t Frye’s day and she ran out of gas by 19 miles. Third place Maura Connolly now moved into second place, four minutes behind Kelly. But Connolly faded on the hills and could not challenge Kelly for the lead. Mary Ellen Kelly captured the women’s division title in a PR 2:53:31. Connolly was a distant second (3:02:35) and third place went to Anna Brook (3:03:42).

The wheelchair division provided a very emotional return to Cape Cod for John Lyon of Sandwich. In 1991, Lyon ran the race, not in a wheelchair, but on his feet, in a very respectable time of 2:59:56. His goal – to qualify for Boston. Two days later he was in Boston during the “No Name” storm working on the roof of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. A piece of roofing debris broke loose in the wind, hit Lyon, who fell 5 stories. The fall severed his aorta and broke his back. His life was saved because he landed outside the emergency room door, but he emerged from a lengthy stay in intensive care paralyzed from the waist down. During his long rehabilitation, he decided to take up wheelchair racing and returned to Cape Cod for his first stab at competition. The result was an impressive 2:26:02. At an emotional awards ceremony during which he received a five minute standing ovation, he vowed to be back one day to break the course record – a promise he would try to keep two years later.

The doubled-in-size relay was now augmented with a corporate challenge. Cape the Cape Cod A.C. Men’s Open team would again capture the first place honors in relay, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution took second overall as well as The Enterprise Cup in the corporate challenge. The growth of the relay was very encouraging to the race organizers. It did not detract from the drama of the marathon, but it enhanced the race by broadening the base of participation and was a very important reason for Cape Cod’s resurgence.

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1995: Marathon Field Swells Record Size, Relay grows by 50%

Cornell and Ishibe Win Marathon, CCAC Men Capture Relay Title for Third Time

The date for the 18th Cape marathon was set for Sunday, October 29. Again, Cape Cod bid for and won the USATF-NE marathon championship. However, the organizers got two sponsorship setbacks when Borden pulled out as a major sponsor and Harvard Community Health Plan, in the midst of a merger with Pilgrim Health Care, did not renew its commitment. However the sponsorship void was filled by Ocean Spray Cranberries who took the title sponsorship of the relay. Because Sandwich Co-operative Bank continued as the main sponsor and several other associate sponsors were signed on, the marathon was able to continue to offer prize money. With the 100th Boston six months away, thousands of runners were looking for marathons in which they could qualify for Boston. A Runners’ World article cited Cape Cod as the 11th fastest marathon in the US to qualify. While the course records are impressive by any measure, RW had not sent anyone out to run it for themselves. But the race organizers didn’t mind the publicity and the resulting surge of entrants. Unfortunately, many unsuspecting non-New England runners found out the hard way that this was not the easy course that they had read about.

By race day, which again was clear, but a breezy low fifties, the marathon field had swelled to 877 and the 83 relay teams had signed up. With more than 1260 participants, the event had grown by 50% over the previous year. The field at the top was not quite as strong on paper as in 1994, but it again brought out the good club runners. Jim Garcia was back to try to be the first man to repeat victory. In the 17 previous years of the race, no man had won Cape Cod more than once. In contrast in the women’s division, Silsby-Frye (4), Smith-Rohrberg (3), Hatch (3), and Nelson (2) had repeated. Garcia was challenged by Gregg Cornell, George Luke, master runner Vladimir Krivoy, Paul Hammond, and Joe Sullivan. The women’s field was dominated by CSU’s Anna Brook with a low 2:40 to her credit, the BAA’s Naoko Ishibe and Diane Tedford. Ishibe had been training hard looking not only to win, but to qualify for the Olympic trials.

When the cannon fired, a lead pack developed that included Garcia, Cornell, Krivoy, and George Luke. The group stayed together until the mid point. Flat from racing a hard marathon a month earlier, Garcia began to fade in the hills. Cornell ran steadily, using his experience on the course to his advantage. One by one the rest of the field dropped away. Meanwhile, Luke also ran a strategic race. He hung back from the lead pack in the hills and let the leaders come back to him. By the time he emerged onto Surf Drive at 24 miles, he was in unchallenged possession of second place but out of striking range of Cornell. Cornell crossed the finish line in 2:29:40 followed by Luke in a PR time of 2:30:46. Third place went to Krivoy (2:34:50).

From the start, Naoko Ishibe took command of the race from the more experienced Anna Brook and never relinquished the lead. She ran smoothly and steadily in the hills and thus presenting no opportunity for Brook to close the gap. From the mid point of the race, Ishibe maintained a four minute lead over Brook and Brook could never close the gap. When Ishibe crossed the finish line, she had won the race, set a PR, qualified for the Olympic trials, and won $1,300.00. Not a bad day! Brook finished second in a very respectable 2:53:41, and Diane Tedford captured third (3:04:40).

The Ocean Spray Marathon Relay also provided excitement. The Cape Cod A.C. Men’s Open, trying for its third win in a row, barely edged out the Falmouth Track Club Mixed Open by 18 seconds to win in 2:27:39. For the second year in a row, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution won The Enterprise Cup corporate challenge in 2:38:44, good for third place overall.

One new twist was the Leukemia Society Team in Training. The Mid-America chapter from Kansas City sent 25 walkers and a relay team to the race. To accommodate the walkers, the race committee started them early so that they would finish with the rest of the field. The relay team included veteran marathoner, Bill Rodgers. The Team-in-Training participants had a positive experience at Cape Cod and a month after the race, Courtney Bird got a call from the Mid-America Chapter of the Leukemia Society telling him that next year (1996) they and several other chapters planned to send some 200-300 walkers and runners to Cape Cod.

In every respect the race was a success. Despite the 50% increase in the field, the race organization was up to the job. Few problems were reported. Traffic control was good, the finish area well managed, the traditional post-race meal bountiful. In short it was a great day. The date for 1996 was set for Sunday, October 27.

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1996: Fram and Dunham Duel for Marathon and Grand Prix Victory

Currier Cruises to Women’s Title

Lyon Breaks Wheelchair Record, Rhode Masters Victorious in Relay, a Record Field Again

The 19th running of the Cape Cod Marathon and Ocean Spray Marathon Relay on Sunday, October 27 was the epitome of road racing in the fall in New England. A cloudless azure blue sky, the rich gold, red, and brown hues of the fall foliage at its peak, the panoramic vistas of Vineyard Sound, cranberry bogs, Nobska Light, the village of Woods Hole, the start and finish at the 300 year old Falmouth village green, and temperatures in the upper 50’s set the stage. Some 400 to 500 hundred volunteers from the Falmouth Track Club and the community turned out to shepherd the the runners on their tour of Falmouth. A record 924 Marathoners and 115 relay teams signed up. While the 1996 field was dominated by New Englanders, runners and walkers came from 35 states, Canada, Morocco, and Japan. For some 300 members of the Leukemia Society Team in Training from Kansas City, Atlanta, Birmingham, AL, and Jackson, MS, the Cape was the culmination of their training and fund raising efforts.

As it had been for the previous nine years, Cape Cod was the site of the USATF-NE Marathon Championship and the final event of the seven-race Grand Prix Series. The drama of marathon was enhanced because one point separated CMS teammates Craig Fram and Dave Dunham for the overall men’s championship in the Grand Prix Series as they toed the starting line. Tempted by a modest $7,000 prize purse, the field also included 1995 winner, Gregg Cornell and several runners who claimed upper teens and low twenties as previous best times. On the women’s side, Plymouth’s Mary Lynn Currier and 1995 champion Naoko Ishibe-Sheehan were among the starters.

In the Ocean Spray Marathon Relay, the team to beat was the Irish powerhouse Rhode Masters – Mick O’Shea, Ray Treacy, Joe Sullivan, Chris Pels, and Bobby Doyle. But a Kansas City Leukemia Society Team in Training had a ringer in another master, Bill Rodgers, to challenge the Rhodies.

At the firing of the cannon by marathon greats, Johnny Kelley and Bill Rodgers, the record crowd burst from the start. After a few miles of separating the wheat from the chaff in the lead pack, Fram and Dunham took over the undisputed lead. They ran together through the easy miles along the East Falmouth shoreline, through Davisville, and past the cranberry bogs and the Hatchville farms. After 15 miles, when the hills of Sippewissett and Woods Hole begin, they were still running easily together. In fact, as the miles went by and the hills rolled on, they accelerated, running neck and neck through 24 miles and onto the flat of Surf Drive. Only there did Craig Fram pull away from his CMS teammate. When the lead vehicle turned onto Main Street for the 2/10 mile dash to the village green finish, Fram led by a hundred yards and crossed the line in 2:23:52 – Cape Cod’s 6th fastest time ever. Dunham followed 14 seconds later in 2:24:06. Each man had run negative spits on the course and proved conclusively that the hills could be tamed! In that moment, Fram and Dunham were what New England road racing was all about. New Englanders, competing for a New England championship, on New England roads battling it out to the last mile. Their race was a classic!

In the womens’ race, Mary Lynn Currier whose recent PR of 2:37:01 certainly made her the the favorite. Naoko Ishibe-Sheehan, the 1995 champion, had been battling stomach problems for the previous month and entered only at the last minute. From the gun, Currier took the lead, and when she saw that Sheehan was not challenging her, cruised to a 2:46:10 finish. Sheehan was a distant second in 2:59:42.

In the Ocean Spray Marathon Relay, the Rhode Masters bested the field with a 2:25:39. They were followed by the Back Road Burners in 2:29:46 and Two Tortoises and a Hare in 2:42:14, a mixed team captained by five-time Cape Cod Marathon Winner, Shirley Silsby Frye. The Corporate Division was won by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 2:53:52.

Despite slightly warm temperatures, three course records fell that day. The ten-year old women’s master record of 3:02:29, set by Connecticut’s Jan McKeown in 1987, was surpassed by CMS’s Sandy Lovejoy’s 3:00:17 (good for third woman overall as well). The second course record to drop was James Daley’ Men’s Senior time of 2:52:25 which had held up since 1988. Terry Van Natta of Grennsboro, NC dropped the standard significantly to 2:46:12. The longest held record of all was Jack Coakley’s 2:16:52 wheechair record set in 1984, the first year the Cape Cod Marathon was held on its present course in Falmouth. In 1987, Coakley returned to Falmouth to attempt break his record and meet the Boston qualifying standard of 2:10:00. Neither was to happen that day despite ideal weather. After that, though several tried, none succeeded. Then came John Lyon of East Sandwich, MA – a true profile in courage and determination.

He had run Cape Cod in 1991 in 2:59. Shortly after he was paralyzed in a fall and began wheelchair racing as part of his physical therapy. The 1994 Cape Cod Marathon was his first wheelchair race. He completed the distance in a respectable 2:26:02 and vowed to return to break the course record. And this year he did! In his second of three marathons this fall, each two weeks apart, he turned in an impressive 2:15:36 thus braking Coakley’s hoary record by more than a minute. Two weeks later, he would turn in a 2:04 at Ocean State, thus qualifying him for Boston. As a member of the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training, he raised more than $3,500.00 in pledges and earned a trip to the Honolulu Marathon in December ’96.

The 1996 marathon proved to be the most successful in its 19-year history. The recent growth of the event attracted greater sponsorship. The Sandwich Co-operative Bank was a major sponsor for the tenth year in a row. Ocean Spray continued as the title sponsor of the Relay and was joined by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Pepsi Cola, who had previously been a contributing sponsor for several years, increased its participation. The Falmouth Enterprise and WMVY continued their active role as media sponsors.

As race day approached, the anticipated size of the field presented organizers with major logistical challenges. Would the size of the field create traffic nightmares threatening the safety of the participants and tying the town in knots? Would there be enough food, medical help, volunteer support? Could the finish line crew handle the crush of runners? What about the walkers? Some 130 walkers from various Leukemia Society Chapters had signed up. They were started at 8:00 a.m. in order to have them finish with the runners and in daylight. Would they create their own set of problems? Was the relay set-up adequate to handle a 30% increase in participation? In short, had the event grown too big? The answer that came back that day was a resounding “No!” The Falmouth Track Club, the Marathon Committee and the hundreds of volunteers were more than equal to the challenge. The day went off nearly flawlessly. But how much more can the race grow?

From the standpoint of the town of Falmouth, the race was also a success. There wasn’t a hotel room to be found in Falmouth or nearby that weekend, the restaurants did booming business, and the stores were filled with runners turned tourist.

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1997: Fram and Currier Repeat Marathon Victories

Rhode Masters Repeat in Ocean Spray Relay

Nasty weather with torrential rains and high winds framed race day, Sunday, October 26th. Both Saturday, the 25th, and Monday, the 27th were horrible. But Sunday, it was a beautiful fall day with clear skies, no wind, and temperatures in the low 50’s — ideal for runners and spectators. 535 marathoners and 110 relay teams toed the start. Craig Fram of Plaistow, NH, and Mary-Lynn Currier of Plymouth, MA, won for the second consecutive year.

Both Fram, 39, and Currier, 33, led the men’s and women’s races respectively the entire way. They each received $1,500 for their victories. Fram’s winning time was 2:33:09. Currier won the women’s championship in 2:48:49. Fram, a member of Central Mass Striders, decided only the Saturday morning before the CCM to defend his title after running a tough race the previous Sunday at the Bay State Half-Marathon in Lowell where he finished second.

“I was undecided all week about what I wanted to do,” he said after his Cape victory. “Yesterday, I just got out of bed, and I looked at the road-racing schedule. I really had a good time (here) last year.” For the first 11 miles, Mike O’Brien of Durham, N.H, husband of CCM women’s course record holder and Olympian, Cathy O’Brien, and Fram matched each other stride for stride. Then O’Brien fell behind and dropped out at 14 1/2 miles. Fram said that running the final 15 miles alone was tough mentally. “I really struggled the last 10K,” Fram said.

Mary Lynn Currier decided to defend her Cape title after dropping out of the Hartford Marathon a week earlier due to leg cramps. “It was kind of neat coming back and win again,” she said. “That doesn’t happen too often, you win a marathon two years in a row.”

Second place in both the men’s and women’s races went to members of the Falmouth Track Club. Ken Gartner, 37, of Woods Hole took second place with a time of 2:34:56 after passing two runners in the last mile and half. Cheryl Schultze, 31, of Eastham ran 2:59:11 and cracked the 3 hour barrier for the first time after seven tries at the Cape Cod Marathon and several at the Vermont City Marathon.

In the simultaneous Ocean Spray Marathon Relay, the “Rhode Masters” of Warwick, R.I., finished first overall, repeating their victory for the second consecutive year. The first women’s team was Cape Cod Road Runners II of Pocasset, Mass.

The CCM went off without a hitch as usual thanks to the very hard work of the race committee and the hundreds of volunteers who worked on every aspect of the race from number pick-up, expo sales, to course control, water stops, finish line, and post race meal.

At the annual Grand Prix Selection Meeting of the USATF-NE, held a week later, the member clubs voted to make the CCM the 1998 Marathon Championship. This was the 11th time in the past 12 years, that the CCM was been so designated.

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1998: Pierce and Landreth Top Field

Cambridge Sports Union Takes Ocean Spray Relay

Running on a warm fall day, Chip Pierce of Newport, VT, and Susannah R. Landreth of Newburyport, MA, captured the men’s and women’s titles at the 21st Cape Cod Marathon. Both Pierce, 38, and Landreth, 30, won by more than 6-minute margins and bested a near record field of 792 registered runners. For their efforts, each received $1,500 in prize money. Pierce’s winning time was 2:28:16.

With her 3:01:33 victory, which came in her first marathon, Landreth also clinched the 1998 USATF New England Road Race Grand Prix women’s title. The Cape Cod Marathon was the final race in the seven-race series.

For Pierce, his Cape Cod victory was his best marathon since winning the Seattle Marathon in 1989. Pierce, a member of the Greater Lowell Road Runnes, ran the second half of the race faster than the first – a tough task on a course that saves its hills for the final 13 miles. “My training in Vermont is up and down, up and down,” Pierce said. “The hills didn’t seem that much.” Pierce said the early pace was slower than he expected and that he started picking up the tempo around mile 14. “From 10 to 23 felt great,” he said.

The second-place finisher was Mel Gonsalves, a 1982 Falmouth High School graduate who now lives in Randolph, MA. He was elated with his showing in his hometown race. “I was just loving it,” he said. Running for the Boston Athletic Association, Gonsalves won $750 for his second-place finish in a time of 2:34:55.

Landreth, a member of the Winners Circle Running Club, took the women’s title in just her first attempt at the marathon distance. She originally planned to make her marathon debut at the Ocean State Marathon in Rhode Island two weeks later, but decided to run Cape Cod when she realized she could win the USATF-New England Grand Prix title. Landreth was coached by Rich Bayko, 1984 winner of the Cape Cod Marathon. “I was able to alert her to the fact there were some serious hills there.” “It was everything I expected to be,” said Landreth. She took the lead early in the race and said she knew by 10 miles she could win if she did not fall apart. She started slowing down around 18 miles, she said.

The second-place woman was 52-year-old Susan Gustafson of Norwell, MA. She also received $750 for taking second and set a new course record in the Senior Women’s Division.

In the simultaneous Ocean Spray Marathon Relay, Cambridge Sports Union took first in the men’s division with a time of 2:33:47. The Cape Cod Road Runners won the women’s division of the relay in 3:10:00, and the first mixed team to cross the line was “4 Guys, a Girl & a Marathon” from Falmouth in a time of 2:45:39. In the Corporate Divisions, the Men’s Large Business category was won by Jacobs Engineering (3:18:37); Men’s Small Business by Tim’s Lawn Care (3:04:56); Women’s Large Business by 88 GI Quatro (3:57:01); Women’s Small Business by Bickford Health (3:59:47); Mixed Large Business by MBL Lightning (3:04:18); and Mixed Small Business by HEI Personal Fitness Trainers (3:16:07). 112 relay teams comprising 545 runners participated in the 1998 edition of the marathon relay.

The 1998 marathon inaugurated an 8:00 am start time – three hours earlier than in the past. There was less traffic and the runners missed the warmest part of the day. The move was well-received by both runners and organizers. It was a very successful edition of the marathon with a near record field in both the marathon and relay. One week later, the USATF New England voted to again designate Cape Cod the site of the 1999 Championship.

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1999: Woburn Man Wins CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon

Rhode Island Master Takes Women’s Title

Merrimack Valley Striders Masters Triumph in Dunkin’ Donuts Relay

Robert Dabrieo of Woburn, Mass., won the 22nd Annual CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon Sunday, Oct. 31, by a comfortable margin after staking a large lead early in the race.

Dabrieo, 37, won with a time of 2:32:56 seconds, about two-and-a-half minutes ahead of second-place finisher Jim Garcia of Westford, the race’s 1995 winner. Knowing the experienced Garcia was behind him, Dabrieo said he was happy he had a large lead headed into the final miles of the 26.2-mile race. “Luckily, I had a little lead because I didn’t run that well the last four or five miles,” said Dabrieo, who runs for the Whirlaway Racing Team.

Over the first half of the race, another runner led the race, but he planned only to run half of the race and dropped out as planned at 13.1 miles. Dabrieo then took over first place and led the rest of the way. Garcia’s second-place finish also captured him first in the master’s division for men 40 and over.

In the women’s race, Marge Bellisle of Warren, R.I., employed a come-from-behind strategy and an unusual piece of running equipment to win the race. At 19 miles in the hilliest section of the course, Bellisle passed early leader Christine Reaser of Dayton, Maine. In addition to being the first overall woman, Bellisle, 44, also captured the women’s masters division.

Bellisle credited her victory to a restaurant placemat tucked inside the waistband of her shorts. The rubber placemat provides protection for abdominal muscles that trouble Bellisle after surgery two years ago. “The rubber blocks the wind,” she explained. The day before the race she ran three miles without the placemat. “I was in agony by two because I didn’t have my placemat.” Bellisle said she too struggled late in the race, but added, “Being in first place psyches you up to keep you going.”

In the Dunkin’ Donuts Marathon Relay, the Merrimack Valley Striders masters team took first place with a time of 2:36:36. The winning women’s relay team was the Cape Cod Road Runners II in a time of 3:19:41, and the winning mixed team was Critz Money, an ensemble of Falmouth High School cross country runners, in 2:42:30.

The 22nd running of the CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon was a record-setter for the host Falmouth Track Club with the largest fields ever. The marathon drew 1,042 entrants, and 150 teams took part in the five-leg Dunkin’ Donuts Relay. As the race organizers looked forward to the 2000 race, the USATF-NE again voted the marathon its championship – the 13th time in 14 years that the race has been so designated.

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2000: Gough, Taber win the 23rd Annual CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon

Quarterdeck Track Club Takes Dunkin’ Donuts Relay

The CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon lived up to expectations Sunday, Oct. 29, as strong fields on both the men’s and women’s sides resulted in the most exciting to watch in several years. In the men’s race, pre-race favorite Danny Gough of Newport, R.I., led the way in the first with a time of 2:24:29. The top four men all finished under 2:30. The second-place finisher in 2:27:55 was Craig Fram of Plaistow, N.H., who won the race in 1996 and 1997.

The women’s race featured a duel between training partners and Merrimack Valley Striders teammates Molly Taber, 27, and Jill Gaitenby, 33, of Boston. Taber took the lead in the last half mile and won in 2:54:26 after the pair ran together the entire race.

In an unfortunate development, two of the top runners, Chris Teague of Norwood, Mass., and Eric G. Beauchesne of Chelmsford, Mass., ran off course little more than a mile from the finish. They had been second and third at the time, but a course monitor did not direct them to turn as they should have. They ran an estimated 600 yards out of the way before they were notified they were off course. In all likelihood, the pair would have finished second and third. Teague ended up in seventh, Beachusne in eighth. Race officials considered a protest from Teague and Beauchesne’s team, Greater Lowell Road Runners, but decided the official results stood.

With her win Sunday, Taber clinched the 2000 USA Track and Field-New England Grand Prix, a series of seven road races around the region. Taber lived in Boxford, Mass., until two weeks before the race when she was married and moved to Chicago. For their victories, both Taber and Gough won $1,500 in prize money.

In the men’s race, Gough ran with a large pack for the first half of the race and then pulled away. The Cape Cod Marathon course is known to be tougher in the second half with a series of hills, but Gough, 32, still ran the second half faster (about 1:14:15 and then 1:10:15). “I wanted to hammer those last five or six miles,” said Gough, who ran in the men’s Olympic Trials marathon in May. He said a cramp slowed him slightly for the last three miles.

With his second-place finish, Fram won the master’s division for runners over 40 and clinched the USATF-New England Grand Prix series in the master’s category. Fram, 42, ran 2:27:55. In the women’s master’s division, Marge Bellisle, 45, of Warren, R.I., finished first after leading the overall women’s race through 16 miles. Bellisle, who won the women’s race outright in 1999, finished third overall among women in a time of 3:04:52.

One of the race’s most amazing performances came from Dave Dunham, 36, of Bradford, Mass. He finished in fifth-place (2:30:53) just three weeks after winning the Chancellor Challenge 100K (62 miles) in Boston. Earlier this fall he also won Clarence DeMar and New Hampshire marathons.

In the simultaneous Dunkin’ Donuts Relay, the Quarterdeck Track Club of Falmouth finished first in 2:24:53. The first women’s relay team was the Mojo Mamas of Marshfield, 3:04:30.

This year’s Cape Cod Marathon was the largest in the race’s 23-year history with 1,230 marathoners and 151 relay teams entered. Both the marathon and the relay reached caps set by organizers from the Falmouth Track Club more than a month before race day.

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2001: Beauchesne, Kimball Stage Come from Behind Victories at 24th Annual CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon

The Quarterdeck Racing Team Repeats Relay Victory

Eric G. Beauchesne of Chelmsford, Mass., and Nikki Kimball of Auburn, Mass., pulled away from the early leaders to capture the 24th annual CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 28.

For Beauchesne, the victory was sweet redemption after last year’s race in which he and another took a wrong turn about a mile from the finish, knocking him from second place down to eighth.

This year, Beauchesne won in a time of 2:28:16, 1 minute 40 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Craig Fram, 43, of Plaistow, N.H., a two-time winner of the Cape Cod Marathon. Fram, 43, was the winner in the master’s division for runners over 40.

Beauchesne said a desire to avenge last year’s disappointing turn of events is what brought him back to this year’s Cape Cod Marathon. “I was worked up about it,” said Beauchesne, 31, who runs for the Greater Lowell Road Runners.

Beauchesne won Sunday by hanging back behind the lead pack before making a move around mile 20. “I figured this is it, one chance,” he said.

In the women’s race, Kimball won by employing similar tactics. She let early leader Suzy West get ahead of her, but she caught and passed West around mile 18. Kimball, 31, won in a time of 3:01:29. It was her first marathon win.

The Cape Cod Marathon course, known for its hills, suited Kimball’s strength. She is a member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team. “I absolutely love hills so they were great,” she said about the Cape course.

Both Kimball and West were supposed to run in the world championships in Italy in September, but the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 forced them to miss the race when the airlines were grounded. The second-place woman was Cheryl A. Taylor of Worcester, Mass., in a time of 3:03:25. West finished third.

IThe first master woman was Nancy R. Corsaro, 42, of Metheun, Mass., in a time of 3:05:03.

In the simultaneous Dunkin’ Donuts Marathon Relay, the Quarterdeck Racing Team of Falmouth won for the second consecutive year in a time of 2:27:30. The women’s relay winner was Wednesday’s Wild Women of Mashpee, 3:16:46, and Bearly Running of Providence, RI, 2:44:31, was the first Mixed Team.

This year’s CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon was the largest in the race’s 24-year history with 1,261 marathoners and 150 relay teams entered. For the second year in a row, both the marathon and the relay reached caps set by organizers from the Falmouth Track Club more than a month before race day. It was an ideal day for running a marathon with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to upper forties. 33% of the runners who had run a marathon before set PR’s and 21% met the qualifying times for the Boston Marathon.

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2002: Beauchesne, Nixon victorious at 25th CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon

The Quarterdeck Racing Team Threepeats Relay Victory

Eric Beauchesne of Chelmsford, Mass., ran away from the field to win the 25th CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon for the second straight year in a time of 2:27:59.

In the women’s division, Sarah Nixon of Mansfield, Mass., came from behind for her first win at the Cape Cod Marathon in 2:53:58.

Both Nixon and Cornell picked up $1,500 in first-place prize money for their victories.

Beauchesne, 32, beat his winning time last year by 17 seconds and finished nearly 10 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Greg Cornell, 42, of Pascoag, R.I., who finished in 2:37:35. Cornell finished first in the master’s division.

A member of the Greater Lowell Road Runners, Beauchesne becomes just the second man to win the Cape Cod Marathon twice, joining Craig Fram of Plaistow, N.H., who won in 1996 and 1997.

Beauschesne said after his victory that he had not intended to run the Cape Cod Marathon again next year, but he is rethinking his plans given his chance to become the first three-time men’s winner in race history.

“I guess I don’t have a choice. I wasn’t going to, but now I have to,” said Beauchesne, who took over the lead at about 19 miles and then ran alone the rest of the way.

Nixon, 38, who had been running in third late in the race, made a late surge to take first among women. She took over first place from Veronica Kanga, 31, of Sturbridge, Mass., in the last quarter-mile of the race. Kanga finished in second in a time of 2:54:34 in one of the most competitive women’s races ever at the Cape Cod Marathon.

Nixon said she passed third-place finisher Charlene Lyford around 21 miles, but could not see Kanga ahead of her until she had just two miles to go. Spectators encouraged her by telling her she was gaining ground. “It was getting exciting,” said Nixon.

She caught Kanga making the final turn onto Main Street with about 400 yards go and then sprinted for the finish.

She already knows what she is going to do with her prize money. “I’m taking my check and going to London,” she said, for the London Marathon in April.

Nixon, a member of Merrimack Valley Striders, won the race just two weeks after she finished first at the B.A.A. Half Marathon in Boston.

Begun in 1978, the Cape Cod Marathon is one of New England’s longest-running marathons. This year’s race served as the USATF-New England marathon championship for the 15th time.

In the simulataneous Dunkin’ Donuts Relay, for the third year in a row, the Quarterdeck Racing Team of Falmouth captured the Cape.Com Cup in 2:32:51. The women’s relay winner was the Heartbreak Hill Striders of Cambridge in 3:05:24.

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2003: Beauschesne wins his 3rd Cape Cod Marathon

Caron wins in women’s division

Eric Beauschesne of Chelmsford, Mass., capitalized on his knowledge of a challenging course to win his third consecutive CompassBank Cape Cod Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 26.

In the women’s race, Nina Caron of Andover, Mass., won a tight race just two weeks after running the Chicago Marathon and gaining a qualifying time for the 2004 Olympic Trials Marathon.

Caron and Beauschesne’s victory’s highlighted the 26th running of the Cape Cod Marathon, which drew 970 marathon entrants and 170 teams for the simultaneous Dunkin’ Donuts Relay.

Beauschesne, 33, won in 2:29:24 to become the first man to win the race three times. The second-place finisher, Craig Fram, 45, of Plaistow, N.H., also had won the race twice before and dueled Beauschesne to see who would become the first three-time winner. Fram finished in 2:32:05, winning the master’s division for runners 40 and over.

“I felt great except the last few miles when somebody said I had a 2-minute lead,” Beauschesne said moments after finishing.

A member of the Greater Lowell Road Runners, Beauschesne said the windy conditions this year made for the toughest of his three victories, but he felt confident when he took the lead around 20 miles in the hilliest portion of the course.

“I love that hilly area,” said Beauschesne. If he runs well there, he said, “That’s the race.”

For Caron, her Cape Cod Marathon victory comes one year after making her marathon debut at the race last year, when she finished in seventh place. The win also follows her Oct. 12 Chicago Marathon performance of 2:45:03, a personal-best time that qualified her for the next Olympic Trials marathon.

“I can’t believe how great I felt today,” Caron, 43, and also the first women’s master, said after her win in 2:57:26. Unsure how she would feel just two weeks after running another marathon, Caron said she ran conservatively over the first half of the Cape Cod Marathon course and then started picking up the pace.

The Merrimack Valley Striders runner took the lead around mile 22 after chasing down several women in front of her, but she could not relax. Second-place finisher Simonetta Piergentili, who runs for the Whirlaway Racing Team, stayed close behind Caron over the last several miles and tried to close the gap over the last few hundred yards with a sprint down Falmouth’s Main Street.

Piergentili finished just 7 seconds behind Caron in 2:57:33, in her personal-best time.

In the simultaneous Dunkin’ Donuts Relay, the Runnin’ Rebels team of Walpole, Mass., won the men’s race in a time of 2:46:35 and the Heartbreak Hill Striders team of Jamaica Plain, Mass., won the women’s division in a time 3:04:34.

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2004: Russian Runners sweep the Sovereign Bank Cape Cod Marathon,

Khokhlov takes men’s title, Kolpakova edges Bychkova for the women’s crown

Russian Aleksey Khokhlov won the Sovereign Bank Cape Cod Marathon on Halloween Sunday, Oct. 31. In the women’s race, Russian Elvira Kolpakova edged her countrywoman Marina Bychkova to take the women’s title. The pair had also run side by side last week in a marathon in Mystic, Connecticut in which Bychkova edged Kolpakova for second place.

Khokhlov and Kolpakova’s victories highlighted the 27th running of the Cape Cod Marathon, which drew over 1200 marathon entrants and 180 teams for the simultaneous Dunkin’ Donuts Relay.

Khokhlov, 33, of Khabarovsk in far eastern Russia, won the men’s race in 2:25:36. Kevin Gray, 26, of Walpole, Mass., finished second in 2:35:49, while Jeff Day, 34, of Berea, OH took third in 2:36:55. Gray ran much of the race with three-time consecutive winner and defending champion and the 2004 fourth-place finisher Eric Beauchesne, 34, of Chelmsford, Mass. The master’s division for runners 40 and over was won by sixth-place finisher Chris Spinney of Lynn, MA in 2:38:56.

Through an interpreter, Khokhlov expressed satisfaction with his race. Khokhlov last glanced back at the receding field at about the six mile mark and never looked behind afterward. He said there was “no problem” at all; in fact, he didn’t have to think too much as it was easy running; he could just relax watch the seaside pass by and enjoy the beautiful views along the course. Khokhlov ran a personal best of 2:17:20 just three weeks ago in a marathon in Denmark.

Elvira Kolpakova, 32, of Perm, Russia, and Marina Bychkova, 28, of Ivanova, Russia, ran together, breaking to the head of the field just after the starting cannon and leading the entire race to finish in 2:52:32 for Kolpakova and 2:52:33 for Bychkova. Through an interpreter, the pair said the race went as planned, and although they didn’t find the course difficult, they did find it a bit windy in spots. Both are 100K elite runners; Bychkova finished second-place in the World 100K Championships held in the Netherlands in September.

Third-place woman and the women’s master’s division winner in 2:58:42 was former two-time CCM champion (1996, 1997), Mary-Lynn Currier, 40, of Unionville, CT. The CCM was her sixth marathon of the year; she finished second in the Hartford Marathon three weeks ago. Currier passed fourth-place finisher, and the 1998 CCM champion, Susannah Landreth, 36 of Newburyport, Mass. in the final mile. Landreth, who finished in 2:59:18, said what many of the leading finishers expressed about the course, “Hilly!”

In the simultaneous Dunkin’ Donuts Relay, the Quarterdeck Racing Team of East Falmouth, Mass., won the men’s race in a time of 2:24:20. The women’s winning relay team was GBTC Margaret Bradley Fish of Cambridge, Mass. finishing in 2:48:33, while the mixed relay champion was Panaccione Road Rulers of Dedham, Mass., which clocked a time of 2:41:59.

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2005: Rhode Island Runners Sweep the Cape Cod Marathon,

O’Neil Takes the Men’s Title, Westerling Grabs the Women’s Crown

Two Rhode Island runners won the men’s and women’s races in this year’s Cape Cod Marathon held on Sunday, Oct. 30. Keven O’Neil took first for men in 2:33:27 and Heidi Westerling had the women’s winning time of 2:46:37 in her first marathon competition. These champions led a field of over 1200 marathoners in the 28th running of the Cape Cod Marathon and 180 relay teams for the simultaneous running of the 13th Dunkin’ Donuts Relay.

O’Neil, 35, of North Kingston, RI was followed by Brendan Lynch, 27, of Dorchester, MA, who ran a 2:34:14 for second place male, and Greg Ward, 33 of Holden, MA who clocked 2:34:52 for third. O’Neil pulled away from his competitors at about mile 16. He found the last few hills a little challenging, but he was happy with the tailwind in the final miles of the course run along Vineyard Sound. He said everything about the race was good, but admitted that he was “glad that it is over.” Fighting a slight hamstring pull, O’Neil, who is head cross country coach for the North Kingston High women’s team, credits the hard work and dedication put in by the boys and girls on the school’s cross country teams with giving him great inspiration. Second place finisher, Brendan Lynch, began reeling in his competitors from the half marathon mark in, catching a half dozen by mile 20 – all except O’Neil. Lynch was pleased to clock his second fastest marathon time, and had praise for the course, the support and the weather.

Garnering the women’s title in her first marathon and the fifteenth marathoner across the finish line, Heidi Westerling, 24, is from Narragansett, RI and is a student at URI. She was followed by Caroline Kondoleon, 31 of Andover, MA in second with a 2:54:10, and Amy Vile, 29, of Essex Junction, VT, who ran a 2:57:05 for third place woman. Westerling, last year’s Athlete of the Year at URI, holds the university’s records at the 3,000 and 5,000 meters indoors and 5,000 and 10,000 meters outdoors. She said she had heard “horror stories” about the course all week long, but after conquering the first major hill at the 11 mile mark, she found the hills from mile 15 through mile 23 to be fairly easy. She said she felt good throughout the race and the toughest mile was the last. Unlike Westerling, second place Caroline Kondoleon did not run in college, but has been running the past 5-6 years. An engineer, she has run 10 prior marathons. She “hit the wall” and had to fight off fatigue at mile 21, but was pleased that she hung on to finish strong, as this race was a PR by over a minute and a half.

In the men’s Master’s race Jason Cakouros, 40 of Milton, MA took first (and seventh overall) in 2:37:32, followed by Chris Spinney, 45 of Arlington, MA in a 2:38:33 for second, and Mike Cooney, 43, of Chelmsford, MA with a 2:42:05 for third place.

The women’s Master’s race was won by Debbie Barry, 40, of Ashby, MA in a 3:04:36, good for seventh place overall. Second place was Patricia Dalconzo, 42, of Lancaster, MA in 3:11:03, and, in third place, Susan McNamara, 45, of Williston, VT ran a 3:14:26.

The Greater Boston Track Club took the men’s and women’s titles in the Dunkin’ Donuts Relay, honoring their former teammate and a former Falmouth High School track and cross country star Margaret Bradley, who died in a training run last year. Both teams were hosted overnight by Margaret’s parents. The men’s team, the GBTC Margaret Bradley Fisherman of Foxboro, MA, clocked a 2:24:43, while the women’s team, the GBTC Margaret Bradley Fish of Cambridge, MA finished in 2:47:00. The Runnin’ Rebels of Walpole, MA captured the mixed title in a 2:42:27.

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2006: Miller PRs to Grab First for Men, Westerling Repeats for the Women in a Windy Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon

The GBTC Mixed Up Fish Captures the Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay Title

Nasty Storm on Day Before Puts Race in Doubt; Town of Falmouth Comes to Rescue!

“Windy” was the first word out of the victor’s mouths as they crossed the finish line before a field of 1200 marathoners and 180 relay teams in the 29th Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon and 14th Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay. Shad Miller had a personal best time of 2:28:14 to top a strong men’s field, and Heidi Westerling easily repeated last year’s victory with a 2:47:32. Hand cyclist John McArdle won his division with a 2:10:00.

Miller, 28, from Providence, RI was followed by Kevin Gray, 28, of Roslindale, MA, who also bested his previous PR with a 2:29:42, and David Bedoya, 29, of Somerville, MA, who ran a 2:30:16. Miller ran with Gray until about mile 22, but was then able to pull away despite his feet being “bruised and falling apart” from the 20 mile mark on. He credits his success to six months of hard training broken only by one week for a honeymoon in Iceland in August. Gray pointed out that his rival, Miller, ran “a great race,” but said he was quite happy with his own. He said, “The last few miles along the beach were crazy, the wind at your back, pushing you along faster than you wanted to go.” Gray’s parents live in Falmouth so he was familiar with the course.

Heidi Westerling, 24, from Narragansett, RI, said she “felt really good” the whole race and thinks the “course is great,” but she was a little disappointed that the day was “so windy”. She ran the first 20 miles with two teammates from the Boston Athletic Association, working well together, as they were good on the uphills and she could pull the group down the hills. Her family provided enthusiastic vocal support at several points along the route. She has won three of four marathons since her first victory in her first marathon last year on the CCM course. Her next goal is to lower her PR of 2:44, which is good enough for a “B” standard to qualify for the women’s Olympic trials under the “A” standard of 2:39. She was followed by Barbara McManus, 38 of Oakham, MA, who said, “It was brutal out there, I was really blown around,” but managed a 3:03:53 for her second CCM finish after dropping out three other tries. Her parents also have a house in Falmouth and she said she was “determined to conquer this course.” She also had high praise for the woman’s champion for running so well on a tough day. Debbie Barry, 41 of Ashby, MA took third and first for Master’s woman in a 3:05:30.

John McArdle, 40, from Montpelier, VT pushed his hand cycle in a fast 2:10:00 around the course. He said he “ate a lot of sand” in the stretches along the beach and he “felt like he was driving a Mac truck” on some of the uphill stretches, but he had nothing but praise for the course, the race organizers and volunteers.

In the men’s Master’s race George Luke, 40, from Clinton, CT ran a 2:33:24 for first (and sixth overall male), Mark Reeder, 47, from Brighton, MA took second in a time of 2:37:44 (and seventh overall male), and Jason Cakouros, 41 of Milton, MA took third (and eighth overall male) in 2:38:40.

The women’s Master’s race was won by Debbie Barry, 41, of Ashby, MA in a 3:04:36, good for third place female overall). Second place was Delwyn Williamson, 44 of Boston, MA, who ran 3:08:43 (good for fourth female overall), and third place went to Patricia Dalconzo, 43, of Harvard, MA in 3:14:46 (good for seventh female overall).

The Greater Boston Track Club took the mixed and women’s titles in the Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay, honoring their former teammate and a former Falmouth High School track and cross country star Margaret Bradley, who died in a training run two years ago. Both teams were hosted overnight in Falmouth by Margaret’s parents. The mixed team, the GBTC Mixed Up Fish of Cambridge, MA, clocked a 2:34:59, to be the first relay team across the line, while the women’s team, the GBTC Margaret Bradley Fish of Brookline, MA finished in 2:49:31. The Jumbo’s from West Lebanon, NH captured the men’s relay title in a 2:57:31.

Top Cape and Island finishers for the men were Benjamin S. Parsons, 28, of Sagamore Beach, who ran 3:11:40, Robert Smith, 40, of North Falmouth (3:13:06), and Eric Nelson, 45, of Sandwich, (3:21:28). The first Cape and Islands woman finisher was also from Sagamore Beach — Nancy Porter, 24, who ran 3:16:41. She was followed by two women from Martha’s Vineyard — Amanda Glazier, 23, of Oak Bluffs (3:37:58) and Bonnie Kingsbury, 28, of Vineyard Haven (3:42:37).

And Here’s the Rest of the Story!

But the accomplishments of the runners that day only tell part of the story of the 2006 Cape Cod Marathon.

Courtney Bird thought he had seen it all in the 24 years he’s directed the CCM — a 12″ snowfall three days before the race in 1987, 40 mph headwinds along Surf Drive that sandblasted the runners in the last two miles of the course in ’88, a course that was obliterated on Surf Drive as a result of Hurricane Bob in ’91, a driving rain and 38-degree temperatures in ’92, several times when torrential rains and high winds on the Saturday before the race gave way to cloudless skies and ideal running conditions on Sunday. But this year was the first in the CCM’s 29-year history that there was the possibility the race would have to be cancelled or the course somehow rerouted.

A furious Sou’easter began building in intensity during the late morning and early afternoon on the Saturday before the race. By 3:00 p.m., the rain was falling at the rate of an inch an hour, and the winds were blowing from the southeast at 35 to 40 mph and increasing. The worst of the storm was forecast to hit Falmouth around 6:00 p.m., right at high tide. Bird decided to check things out along the course. The corner of Clinton and Scranton avenues was flooded with two feet of water (just past the one-mile mark on the race course). He managed to get his four-wheel drive truck through the pond and headed toward Surf Drive. But when he got to Shore Street, his way was bocked by a police cruiser. Surf Drive was closed and flooded. He turned around to check the shore roads from Falmouth Heights on east. Once again, his way was blocked by a police cruiser. It was the same story.

What to do? The forecast called for the rain to stop around 8:00 p.m. and for the wind to shift to the west but continue to blow hard (50 mph gusts were called for) all night long and all day Sunday. But what shape would the roads be in? Would the high seas coupled with the wind and tides wash out the roads along the shore as had happened with Hurricane Bob? Would the traditional low spots on Grand Avenue, Menauhant Road and Surf Drive (remember the deep puddles on Surf Drive the year it rained so hard in the ’99 Falmouth Road Race?) make it impassible for the runners to get through? What about downed power lines? In the interests of public safety, would the Falmouth Police and the DPW even allow the race to go over those stretches of road? And if not, what was “Plan B”?

“Let’s go to the Quarterdeck and consult with the Grand Guru of Running, Tommy Leonard!” was one suggestion. In fact, Bird called a strategy meeting of key members of the marathon committee to be held at the QD, which was the site of a pre-race reception. Bird called Falmouth Police Chief, David Cusilito, around 4:00 to get his take on the situation. Chief Cusilito’s question to Bird was, “You don’t really want to cancel the race, do you?” “Absolutely not!” was Bird’s reply. It was agreed that the two men would tour the critical areas of the course at 8:00 p.m. to assess the situation.

In the meantime, retiring Start/Finish Area Director Ed Giordano had been in touch with Don Swire of the DPW and gotten his assurances that if the weather permitted and the roads weren’t too badly damaged, the the DPW would go to work on them after midnight. But all that left a big question mark. What if the roads were impassable? If only Surf Drive was out of commission, there was an alternate certified last two miles that was last used after Hurricane Bob. The route would be detoured up Elm Road, around Quonset Road, then up Locust Street, and onto Main, with a finish near the entrance to Town Hall Square. But what if Menauhant Road was washed out? Reports filtering back to the Quarterdeck, where key members of the Marathon Committee were gathering to decide on “Plan B,” indicated that Menauhant Road was taking a real pounding. The committee huddled over maps of Falmouth. If the loop course was maintained, there was no way the race could avoid being routed for a time on busy Route 28. That idea was discarded because of traffic concerns and because it would be nearly impossible to accurately measure the distance. The next alternative discussed was to run the race on an out-and-back course that would take the runners in the reverse direction on the marathon route to the 13.1-mile point where they would turn around and retrace their steps to the finish. The route had the advantage of being accurately measured and being relatively traffic-free. The disadvantages were many, most centering around last minute logistics.

In the midst of that discussion, Chief Cusilito arrived around 8:00 p.m., and he and Bird went for a tour. By that time, the rain had stopped and the wind had shifted into the west, bringing relief to the battered south-facing shoreline. The real question was had the roads been washed out. During their tour, Bird pointed out to the Chief that as long as the roads were intact — even if sections of pavement were missing — and the runners could get through, we should not try to change the course. The first stop on the tour was Menauhant Road. Beach sand had washed across the road from the Heights ballfield all the way to the Bridge at the mouth of Great Pond, and in many places the sand had piled into two- to three-foot drifts. At several points along that stretch, there were 18″-deep puddles extending fully across the road and a half a football field in length. But the road had not washed out. However, just east of the bridge, a power line was down across the road. Chief Cusilito made it abundantly clear that he could not permit the race to go down a road where there were downed power lines. But he followed that comment up with a call to the NSTAR supervisor for the area. So with some luck, there was a reasonable chance that Menauhant Road could be made passable. Chief Cusilito and Bird now headed to Surf Drive. What they encountered was a moonscape of sand and boulders the size of basketballs littering the road from Surf Drive bath house to Oyster Pond Road. But, as was the case with Menauhaunt Road, the road surface was intact. Though there were no wash outs, two HUGE puddles effectively blocked the road. One was more than two feet deep and extended the full width of Surf Drive for more than 100 yards. The road was officially closed and police cruisers blocked access to Surf Drive from Mill Road west to Elm Road.

Around 8:30 p.m., Don Swire of the DPW called to say that he was going to have his crew out on Menauhant Road and Surf Drive beginning at 1:00 a.m. to clear the sand and make the roads passable again. He said his crew would work through the night if necessary. About the same time, the Chief got a call that NSTAR was clearing the downed power line on Menauhant Road. Things were looking up, and Bird returned to the Quarterdeck to update the committee.

By 1:00 a.m., Don Swire turned out his troops armed with road graders, bulldozers, front-end loaders, street sweepers and pumps, and they worked through the night to ensure that the roads would be safe and passable for the runners and for the townspeople. NSTAR crews arrived to clear downed power lines and restore electricity. By 5:00 a.m. the roads were open; and by the time the runners came through several hours later, the lakes had been reduced to puddles. It was a wonderful example of a community coming together, of team work, and of “can do” spirit.

“A miracle!!” is the way Courtney Bird described it.

Race morning dawned clear, very windy and quite brisk. There was even a passing sleet shower at 6:30 a.m.. As the 1050 marathoners and 180 relay teams gathered for the start, it was still unclear whether the huge puddles across Surf Drive would be pumped down in time. As of 5:30 a.m., the larger of the two was still some 10″ deep. The runners were forewarned that they could get their feet wet at 25 miles, but that otherwise the course was clear.

As usual, the 30-person marathon committee and 750 volunteers did an outstanding job. As one veteran runner who has competed in hundreds of races, including several Cape Cods, under all sorts of conditions, commented, “It is easy to stage a good race on a good day, but the real test of a race organization is to stage a great race in adverse conditions — and you guys certainly proved yourselves!!”

The CCM was once again the USATF New England marathon championship for the 19th time in 20 years. A total of 972 marathoners and 168 relay teams completed the 26.2 mile journey on a blustery day that featured wind gusts that topped 60 mph — stong enough to, in one instance, blow over a porta john with a runner in it! Temperatures never climbed out of the low 50’s. Yet despite the conditions, 28% of the finishers who had previously run a marathon set PR’s.

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2007: Returning Champions Sweep the Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon;

Miller grabs the men’s title for second year, Westerling Takes the Her Third Consecutive Women’s Crown;

NER All Stars Capture the New Balance Marathon Relay Title

Top New England runners won the men’s and women’s races in this year’s Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon held on Sunday, October 28. Shad Miller took first for the men’s for the second year in row in 2:28:39 and Heidi Westerling had women’s winning time of 2:45:51 in her third consecutive victory in Falmouth. These champions led a field of more than 1300 marathoners in the 30th running of the Cape Cod Marathon and 190 relay teams in the 15th New Balance Relay.

Miller, 30, of Providence, RI was followed by Titus Mutinda, 42, of Lowell, MA, who ran a 2:28.53 for second place, and Avi Kramer, 26 of Jamaica Plain, MA who clocked 2:29:48 for third. Miller said he went out slow and added that it was the first time ever he had a negative split. “Titus pushed me. We pulled out of the pack at mile 20; it was still a group until then. I was pushing the downhills.” Mutinda said of Miller, “He’s very strong, and he passed me at 25.” Miller added, “I was shocked! Last year I was in better shape, but I chased him and never let him get away from me.” Mutinda then commented, “I’m 42 — a Master, so I feel very good to hang with the young guys.”

Heidi Westerling commented that the race was fun. “I had a great time. I even tried to smile for pictures. My boyfriend and my parents were here. I had a good person to run with. I met up with Carlos Rivera, and we ran together, separated at mile 20, and then I caught up to him at the last mile. I felt really comfortable the whole time. The weather was better than last year. This was my PR for the Cape Cod Marathon. The race was really well-organized.”

In the men’s Master’s race Titus Mutinda 42 of Lowell, MA took first in 2:28:53, followed by Glen Guillemette, 47 of Narragansett, RI in a 2:33:07 for second, and Rich Burke, 40, of Morristown, NJ with a 2:38:23 for third place.

The women’s Master’s race was won by Debbie Barry, 42, of Ashby, MA in a 3:01:11. Second place was Patricia Dalconzo, 44, of Harvard, MA in 3:09:42, and, in third place, Holly Madden, 41, of Scituate, MA ran a 3:09:51.

In the men’s senior division, Reno Stirrat broke the course record for the 50-59 age group with a time of 2:45:47

The marathon again served as the championship of New England Association of USA Track and Field and the final event in its 7-race Grand Prix series. More than 200 members of the association participated including most of the top finishers and 80 “ironrunners” — runners who had completed all seven of the races in the series.

The NER All Stars took the men’s title with a time of 2:32:01 in the New Balance Marathon Relay. Running on that team were two former winners of the marathon — Larry Olsen who won the first Cape Cod in 1978 and Jimmy Fallon who was the 1987 champion. The Greater Boston Track Club – Margaret Bradley Fish took the women’s title in the Relay with a time of 3:03:18, honoring their former teammate and a former Falmouth High School track and cross country star Margaret Bradley, who died in a training run three years ago. The mixed teams overall winner was Team Sweaty of Marlborough with a time of 2:41:21. The men’s open division winner was HFC Striders # 2 of South Boston, MA with a time of 2:34:44. CSU Orange of Waltham, MA took the title for the women’s open division with a time of 3:21:35.

It was an ideal day for marathoning with clear skies, low humiditiy, and a 10 mph northwest wind. There were a record number of finishers in both the marathon and relay — 1008 marathoners including the 3 wheelchair and handcycle racers and 184 relay teams. More than 750 volunteers worked the event, co-ordinated by the 30-person marathon organizing committee.

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2008: First-time Marathoner Mike Fisher Wins Cape Cod Marathon;

Westerling Takes Women’s Race for Fourth Consecutive Year;

NER All-Stars repeat in New Balance Marathon Relay

Mary-Lynn Currier Breaks Women’s Master’s Record and Beats All Masters — Men and Women!

Mike Fisher, 24, of Brookline, MA made an impressive marathon debut as he ran away with the men’s championship with a time of 2:33:12 in a field of 1302 marathoners and 200 relay teams in the 31st Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon and New Balance Relay. In the Women’s race, Heidi Westerling, 27, of Acworth, NH won her fourth consecutive championship with her first place finish with a time of 2:50:45.

This year’s Cape Cod Marathon was the first marathon Fisher had ever run. Going into the race, he hoped to finish in the top three to five. He said, “I feel great, the feeling was priceless, knowing I have the ability to run by myself for Boston. I knew I had to be conservative in the first half of the race to have energy for the hills. I figured I would be in a pack, but no one was around me so I took off. At mile 15 my legs tightened up, so I backed off my pace. The last five miles, I just had to hold on so no one would catch me.” Fisher ran cross country and track at Newton South High School and at Boston University. He plans on running the Boston Marathon next spring.

Heidi Westerling continued her four year winning streak by running another brillant race. She had a commanding five minute lead over the women’s second place finisher Mary-Lynn Currier of Canton CT, who had won Cape Cod twice in 1996 and ’97 and finished third in 2004. Westerling said, “I knew I won the race when I turned the corner (of Walker and Main Street). I was nervous the whole time, when you run a marathon anything can happen out there, you can pull a muscle, get a cramp, you just have to stay positive the whole time.” Westerling said she ran the Hartford half marathon a few weeks ago. She plans on running the Munson half marathon in three weeks. Westerling is a full time teacher in North Charlestown, NH. She runs 150 miles a week is engaged to be married next summer, and she and her fiancé are building a house. In April 2008, Westerling set a PR in the Olympic trials and then ran the Vermont City Marathon at the end of May.

Bryan Kovalsky age 29, of Peekskill, NY came in second overall in the race with a time of 2:38:56, and third place finisher Peter Richter, 35, of Norwell, MA had a time of 2:43:01.

In the women’s race, runner-up Mary-Lynn Currier set a new master women’s course record by over 2 minutes with a time of 2:55:10. In fact, she was the first master — man or woman — to finish! Three weeks earlier, Currier ran 2:52:53 at the Hartford Marathon – good for 5th overall and 1st in the Masters in the women’s divisions.

Emily Kruger 23, of Quarryville, PA was third with a time of 3:05:33, and Sumner Fletcher 23 of Uxbridge, MA ran a 3:08:44 for fourth overall.

In the men’s Master’s race, 40-49, Jamie Kreider, 40, of Newton, MA, won his division with a time of 2:56:04; Calvin Ma, 40, of Cambridge, Ma was second ( 2:56:42); Ken Ross, 46, of Boston was third with a time of 2:56:48.

Sandra Parkinson, 41, of Falmouth, MA was second in the Women’s master’s (3:27:14), Yukiko Oba, 42. of Weymouth, MA (3:29:04) was third.

In the 16th Annual New Balance Marathon Relay, first place honors went to the New England Runner All-Stars with a time of 2:37:02. Second overall and first in the Mixed division was Margaret Bradley’s Mixed Fish in 2:42:46. The top women’s team was in women’s senior division (age 50-59) — Fitzy’s Frisky Felines — who ran 3:12:54. So it was a banner day for the New England Runner Magazine teams as they captured 2 of 3 divisional titles — men and women!

900 in the marathon and 191 relay teams finished. Runners came from 40 states, 2 provinces of Canada and Bermuda, Romania, Germany, Great Britain, Australia, Japan.

As has happened so often in its 31-year history, the 2008 edition of the marathon and relay dodged another nasty weather bullet! Saturday night, an intense, but fast-moving weather front, came through Falmouth and eastern New England. It bought with it high winds, with gusts to 60 mph, and torrential rains. Trees and power lines went down. At 4:00 am, Race Director Courtney Bird awoke to pounding rain, no electricity, and driving rain beating on his windows. In his yard, 26 members of the Pittsfield, MA High School Cross Country Team, which had four teams entered in the relay, plus their coaches and parent chaperones, were huddled in tents that were straining against the wind and pouring rain. But then it abruptly stopped. At about 5:30 am the rain ended, the wind died down and it became calm. By 6:00 am when the volunteers began setting up the start and finish area, only intermittent drizzle remained. But downed trees and power lines blocked the course at several points. Emergency crews were already at work cleaning up and restoring power.

By the 8:30 start time, it was overcast with some fog and was calm. The temperature was 62°, and that temperature remained constant for all of the race. As the CCM progressed, the weather steadily improved, and by 10:00 am when the first runners were in the final miles, the sun began to poke its way out of the clouds and crowds of spectators began to line Main Street.

Dunkin’ Donuts again was the title sponsor of the event and New Balance Mashpee was the title sponsor of the relay. In addition, 20 other businesses provided sponsorship support. The Falmouth Track Club organizes the the marathon, utilizing a 30-person marathon committee and drawing on the support of more than 750 volunteers.

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2009: Ekuom Takes First for Men, Currier Three-peats for Women in the 32nd Annual Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon;

New Balance 1-Habitat Team Captures the New Balance Marathon Relay

High winds and rain knocked out power in parts of Falmouth overnight Saturday, Oct. 24th. Cape Cod Marathon organizers were greeted by darkness and no power when they arrived at Race Headquarters at the Lawrence School early Sunday morning. The lighted ball caps that the marathon store was selling came in handy as the volunteers groped their way around the gym in preparation for the marathon. Luckily the winds stopped howling and the power came back on in time for the 8:30 start time, as approximately 1100 marathoners and 200 relay teams set off to the boom of the Falmouth Track Club cannon.

Once again disaster was avoided and the 32 Annual Cape Cod Marathon and 17th New Balance Marathon Relay were blessed with partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the 50’s and light winds at start time. A few large puddles were the biggest impediments to an otherwise beautiful running day.

Leading the pack the entire race was Joseph Ekuom from High Falls, NY, formerly of Kenya, who finished first with a PR in 2:33:13 in what was only his second marathon appearance. Ekuom, 33, found the course to be “tough and the second half was very hilly” but he managed to beat the second place finisher by 6 minutes 8 seconds. Ekuom was pleased with his time but felt he would have done better if he had someone to push him during the second half of the race. He ran from mile 15 on alone with no challengers to contend with. Ekuom said “I liked the course but it was not easy.”

Second place male finisher, Nicolas Karr, 22 also ran a PR in 2:39:05. Karr, who hales from Portland, OR but now lives in Allston, MA won his only other marathon, Crater Lake Marathon in Orgeon. Karr “didn’t realize there would be so many hills.”Using the Cape Cod Marathon as his qualifier, Karr plans on running Boston next spring.

Benjamin Ndaya, 33 from Chelmsford, MA was the third male finisher in 2:41:36.

The women’s race was a lot tighter than the men’s. Mary-Lynn Currier, from Canton, CT crossed the finish line 39 seconds ahead of Megan Malgeri, 28 from Burlington, VT to take first place with a time of 2:56:14. Currier, 45, won the Cape Cod Marathon on 1996 and again in 1997. She finished second in last years marathon. Currier ran a “nice steady pace the whole way”. She ran neck and neck with third place finisher Laurie Cass until about mile 10 when Cass cramped up and had to slow her pace. Currier also experienced cramps in her calf muscle at Nobska Lighthouse, about 23 miles into the race. “I thought it was over,” said Currier, “but I felt I had to keep going”. Currier was not aware that second place finisher, Malgeri 28 from Burlington, VT was following close on her heals to finish in 2:25:53. This was Malgeri’s first official marathon. She was pleased with her second place finish. Cass, 35 from Plymouth, MA came in third 3:05:19.

In the simultaneous New Balance Relay, the New Balance 1- Habitat Team running for CCAC , won the men’s race in a time of 2:29:16. The women’s winning relay team was Eliot Loungers Mimi’s Masters who finished in 2:55:00, while the mixed relay champion was Team Chill from North Andover., which clocked a time of 2:48:14.

In the men’s Master’s race John Piggott, 44 from Williamsburg, VA took first (9th overall male) in 2:54:27, followed by Sadik Tokgoz, 41 from Boston, MA in 2:56:06 for second,(12 overall male) and Jamie Kreider, 41 from Newton, MA with 2:29:37 for third place (13th overall male).

The women’s Master’s race was won by Mary-Lynn Currier, 45, from Canton, CT, in a time of 2:56:14.(1st overall female). Second place was Julie Musselman, 43 from Shorewood, MN in 3:17:40, (6th overall female)and in third place Bridget Riordan, 43 from Madison, CT in 3:26:12 (11th overall female).

Top three in the men’s senior division were John Shepherd, 53 from Essex, CT in 3:10:46, Stephen Grilli 52, from Narragansett, RI in 3:14:15 and Adrian Forde, 51 from Sudbury, MA in 3:19:24.

First women’s senior was Mary Baldwin, 50, from Chelsea, MA who finished in 3:35:03. Second was Brigid Rodin, 50 from Andover, MA in 4:15:14. Third women’s senior was Luanne Roy, 54, from Seymour, CT in 4:18:17.

In the men’s veteran’s division Neil LeBlanc, 61 from Athol, MA finished first in 3:30:01. Second male veteran was John Levreault, 60, from Oxford, MA in 3:43:54 . Third was Dave Kemp, 65, from Marlborough, MA in 3:46:48.

The first place women’s veteran was Rosemary Rusin, 66 from Florence, VT in 4:37:35. Rosemary holds the record for the most Cape Cod Marathons runs, having completed 23. Second women’s veteran was Holly J. Vogel 62, from Rochester, MA in 4:42:49. In third place was Barbara Wnek, 60, from Brentwood, MO in 5:38:21.

Top Cape and Island finisher for the men was Ian Clark , 21, from Eastham, MA in 2:51:16 who finished 6th overall. Top Cape and Island finisher for women was Reiko Sagioka from W. Falmouth, MA who ran in 3:39:28.

The Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon is hosted by the Falmouth Track Club and supported by over 800 volunteers from the community. Dunkin’ Donuts has been the major sponsor for the past 11 years. New Balance has sponsored the Marathon Relay for 3 years.

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2010: Nyamongo Takes First Overall, Currier Wins 4th CCM for the Women at the 33rd Annual Cape Cod Marathon

CCAC Team 1 Captures the Staples Marathon Relay

AT 8:30 a.m. Tommy Leonard, founder of the Falmouth Road Race shot off the Falmouth Track Club brass cannon to signal the start of the 33rd annual Cape Cod Marathon and 18th Staples Marathon Relay, sending 1,132 marathoners and 200 relay teams on a secenic tour of Falmouth.

Sammy Nyamongo, 34 of Greely, CO broke away from the lead pack at about mile 6 and remained in front for the next 20 miles, finishing first with a time of 2:28:56. He ran a 5:41 pace. At 8 miles Nyamongo was about 10 seconds ahead of his next competitor. At 10 miles he took off and tried to build on his lead. He felt challenged throughout the race but did run alone for most of it. He found the hills from miles 13 -23 to be difficult. He said the course was “pretty tough, and the winds coming off the water slowed him down.” He thought that the weather was awesome and the course fantastic. He plans on coming back next year to defend his title.

Finishing second in the men’s race was Tom Davis, 23 from Newton, MA with a time of 2:31:05.This was Davis’ first marathon. He ran cross country at Newton North High School and at the University of Richmond, VA. He has been injured for the past 3 years and his training has been intermittent. Davis said that the marathon was 12 miles longer than the longest run he has done in the past 6 months. Despite his limited training Davis felt compelled to run the race that he had signed up for months before. Once out on the course Davis felt good. He was pleasantly surprised that the race was not more difficult He enjoyed the fantastic course, and the good people along the way. His next goal is to run the Boston Marathon, if he can stay healthy.

The third place male finisher was Paul Reilly, 31, from Northbridge, MA, who finished with a time of 2:33:07

In the women’s race, Mary- Lynn Currier, 46, from Canton, CT came in first for her 4th Cape Cod Marathon win. Currier won in 2009, 1996 and 1997. She came in second in 2008. Currier’s time of 2:59:14 was almost 3 minutes slower than last year. According to Currier, “it’s getting tougher as I get older”. Currier was in the lead the entire race. She said that she had a great race on a great course. She always looks forward to seeing Nobska Lighthouse, which she calls a ‘beacon of hope’, because she knows that she only has a few more miles to run. Currier is coming off of a 4th place finish in the Hartford marathon 3 weeks ago. This is her 103rd marathon.

Helen Dinan, 30, from Bellingham, MA was the second woman to cross the finish line with a time of 3:02:39. Seventeen seconds later, at 3:02:56, Amanda Daws, 23 from Milford, CT placed third.

In the simultaneous Staples Marathon Relay, CCAC Team 1 won the men’s race in a time of 2:27:39. The women’s winning relay team was Eliot Loungers Mimi’s Masters finishing in 2:51:32, while the mixed relay champion was GBTC Margaret’s Mixed Up Fish which clocked a time of 2:46:26.

In the men’s Master’s race Michael Slinskey, 41 from Hopewell Junction, NY took first (4th overall male) in 2:33:10, followed by Keven O’Neil, 40 from North Kingston, RI in 2:35:27 for second,(5th overall male) and Sadik Tokgoz, 42 form Waltham, MA with 2:53:24 for third place (18th overall male).

The women’s Master’s race was won by Mary-Lynn Currier, 46, from Canton, CT, in a time of 2:59:14.(1st overall female). Second place was Jennifer C. Davis, 40 from Princeton, NJ in 3:16:35, (10th overall female) and in third place Yukiko Oba, 44 from Weymouth, MA in 3:24:02 (16th overall female).

Top three in the men’s senior division were Steven B. Andrews, 51 from Etna, NH in 2:51:48, Bill Knott, 52 from Brookline, MA in 2:56:20 and Guy Gadomski, 54 from Kirtland, Ohio in 3:06:24.

First women’s senior was Theresa Burst, 52 from Birmingham, AL who finished in 3:36:53. Second place was Elizabeth K. Nelson 56, from E. Harwich, MA in 3:52:38. Nelson was the Women Champion in 1984 and ’85. Third women’s senior was Shauna Heisler, 59 from Salt Lake City, Utah in 3:53:12.

In the men’s veteran’s division Hassan Haydar, 60 from Quincy, MA finished first in 3:16:02. Second male veteran was Dale Heisler, 60 from Salt Lake City, Utah in 3:29:06. Third was Joe McCarthy 60, from Dorchester, MA in 3:42:20.

The first place women’s veteran was Holly Vogel, 63 from Rochester, MA in 4:25:26. Rosemary Rusin 67, from Florence, VT was the second veteran with a time of 5:02:16. Rusin holds the record for the most Cape Cod Marathons runs, having completed 25. Third women’s veteran was Karen Rogers 60, from Clinton, CT in 5:25:16.

Top Cape and Island finisher for the men was Paul Wagner, 26 from Woods Hole, MA who finished31st overall with a time of 3:00:40. Top Cape and Island finisher for women was Paula Healey, 29 from Pocasset, MA who ran in 3:31:03 and finished 133rd overall.

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2011: FTC Creates a Cape Cod Marathon Running Weekend by adding a Half Marathon on Saturday. Half Sells Out at end of August, and Joseph Ekuom and Rebecca Ford are first Champions

In the Marathon, Patrick Rich Takes First for Men, Hilary Dionne wins Women’s Race in the 34th Annual Cape Cod Marathon

GBTC Margaret’s Mixed Up Fish Captures the Staples Marathon Relay

Half Marathon: After considerable discussion, the race organizers decided to add a half marathon to the event. Soon after the 2010 marathon, a special sub-committee was formed too determine a course, reach out to the Falmouth community including neighborhood groups and businesses, the chamber of commerce, and the various branches of town government to get their input and feedback. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, particularly having the half marathon on the Saturday before the full marathon.

The new certified half marathon course is a basic Loop with some out and back, starting on Main Street and ending in Town Hall Square, run on secondary roads with light traffic and on the bike path. It is generally flat except for some rolling hills between miles 6.5 and 9.5 and is very scenic with sweeping vistas of Nobska Light and Vineyard Sound.

A modest prize purse of $4,000.00 was established by the race organizers with $500 going to the top men’s and women’s finishers.

The popularity of the new half marathon became evident very soon. It sold out at 900 runners at the end of August.

The winner of the first Cape Cod Marathon Half was Joseph Ekuom, 41 of High Falls, NY, who had previously won the full marathon in 2009, setting the bar for future half marathoners with a time of 1:18:31. On the women’s side Rebecca Ford of Manchester, NH in a time of 1:29:21.

The race organizers also created the “Clam Chowdah Challenge” for runners who completed both the half marathon on Saturday and the full marazthon on Sunday. More than 100 signed up for the challenge and 89 finished. All Clam Chowdah Challenge finishers received a commorative t-shirt and Chowda In 2011 the man with the best combined time was Todd Archambault, 37, Essex Junction, VT. Todd covered the half marathon in 1:23:49 which was 5th place overall and a 3:04:11 in the full, capturing 51st place. His combined time of 4:28:00 was 13 minutes in front of the next fastest combined time by John Lesperance, 49, Franklin, MA, 4:41:27. On the women’s side, Paula Healey of Pocasset, MA, ran a 1:38:18 half, 13th woman and a 3:23:43 full for 16th woman. Her combined time of 5:02:01 was over 19 minutes faster than the next fastest combined time of 5:21:38 by Shaina Short, 25, West Hartford, CT.

Marathon and Relay: Despite driving rain and high winds Saturday night, the 34th annual Cape Cod Marathon went off as planned on Sunday, Oct. 30th. By the time the Falmouth Track Club brass cannon signaled the start of the race at 8:30 AM the rain had stopped but the strong wind persisted. The 900 runners who lined up at the start and the 175 relay team members were unfazed as they headed into the wind.

Patrick Rich, 35, from South Hamilton, MA , after thinking that he was going to have to scrap any hopes of running a good time, surprised himself by not only improving on his marathon PR of 2:31 but by winning the race with a time of 2:28:53. Rich ran alone for most of the race. Knowing that the lead runner was about 3 minutes ahead of him was a little discouraging but Rich was able to pass the leader on Surf Drive, around mile 25. Rich ran the Cape Cod marathon in 2005 (8th overall) and again in 2006 (5th overall) so was familiar with the course. He has improved his time with each marathon and ran a 5:41 pace in today’s race. Despite the high winds, Rich felt that there was good protection from the wind and he benefited from a good tailwind along Surf Drive. Rich coaches cross country at Hamilton-Wenham High school and track and field at Ipswich High School. When asked about his win Rich quipped, this win “will provide additional credibility with my kids.”

Finishing second in the men’s race was Hari Iyer, 23, from Cambridge, MA with a time of 2:31:00. Iyer found himself in a pack of runners doing a 5:25 pace, which he felt was too fast. He ran more conservatively, running with the eventual winner until Rich made his move at around mile five. Iyer caught up to what was the 3rd and 4th runners at mile 14. This was Iyers first Cape Cod Marathon. He had a fun race, enjoyed the gorgeous course and felt that it was well organized. He would like to come back for the Falmouth Road Race in August for the warmer weather. Iyer is in a graduate program at Boston University.

The third place male finisher was Kevin Alliette, 30, from Methuen, MA who finished in 2:34:20.

In the women’s race Hilary Dionne, 26, from Charlestown, MA came in first with a time of 2:48:22. This was Dionne’s first Cape Cod marathon and only her second marathon. Dionne thought the weather on the course was better than what she expected, after Saturday night, although she was surprised by some pretty bad wind gusts in the last mile or two. The hills were tough but she tried to stay relaxed through them. She led from around mile 2 and hoped to maintain her pace for as long as possible which was enough for the win. When asked what she thought about her first marathon win Dionne replied, “a little crazy, great it was a great course.”

Second in the women’s race was Laura Brustolon, 23, from Mystic, CT with at time of 2:51:18. Abbey Gosling, 25, from Meredith, NH finished in 2:58:41 for third.

In the simultaneous Staples Marathon Relay New England Runner All Stars team won the men’s race in a time of 2:47:57.. The women’s winning relay team was GBTC Margaret Bradley’s Fish finishing in 2:56:58, while the mixed relay champion and first place relay finisher was GBTC Margaret’s Mixed Up Fish which clocked a time of 2:37:50.

Over 80 runners competed in the Clam Chowdah Challenge, which is achieved by completing the Cape Cod Half and full marathon. Todd Archambault, 37, from Essex Junction, VT was the male Clam Chowdah winner with a combined time of 4:27:58 for both races. Paula Healey , 30, from Pocasset, MA was the first female winner with a combined time of 5:02:00 .

In the men’s Master’s race George Adams, 41, from Gilsum, NH took first ( 12th overall male) in 2:40:19, followed by Titus Mutinda, 46, from Lowell, MA in 2:41:28 for second,(13th overall male) and Jonathan May, 42 from Charleston, MA with 2:43:40 for third place (15th overall male).

The women’s Master’s race was won by Meredith Dutton, 45, from Attleboro, MA in a time of 3:04:21,(5th overall female). Second place was Mary-Lynn Currier, 47, from Canton, CT in 3:04:245, (6th overall female) and in third place Christin Doneski, 40, from Hopkington, NH in 3:06:31 (7th overall female).

Top three in the men’s senior division were Robert Cipriano, 51 from Belmont, MA in 2:43:42, Chris Spinney, 51, from Arlington, MA in 2:47:41 and Ephraim Ezekiel, 54, from Newton, MA in 2:52:47.

First women’s senior was Lisa Zappala, 50, from Derry, NH who finished in 3:28:04. Second place was Lisa Doucett, 56, from Andover, MA in 3:39:08. Third women’s senior was Elizabeth Nelson, 57, from E. Harwich, MA in 3:49:58.

In the men’s veteran’s division Marshall Randolph, 63, from Wellesley, MA finished first in 3:13:51. Second male veteran was Tom Amiro, 61, from Chelmsford, MA in 3:27:02. Third was Dale Heisler, 61, from Salt Lake City, UT in 3:28:09.

The first place women’s veteran was Shauna Heisler, 60, from Salt Lake City, UT in 3:58:22.Diane McLaughlin, 63, from Arlington, MA was the second veteran with a time of 4:19:41. Third female veteran was Rosemary Rusin, Florence, VT in 5:05:08. Rusin holds the record for the most Cape Cod marathons, having completed 25.

Top Cape and Island male was Tom Deeg, 30 from Eastham, MA who finished in 2:35 01. The top female was Paula Healey, 30 from Pocasset, MA with a time of 3:23:43.

Because of the addition of the half marathon, the 3 events combined brought more than 3,300 runners to Falmouth.

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2012: Joseph Eukom Is Repeat Victor in Second Annual Novo Nordisk Cape Cod Marathon Half

Brielle Chabot Is Top Woman and Second Overall

In the Marathon, Eric Ashe Takes First for Men; Kate Pallardy Wins Women’s Race

The QD Racing Team Captures the Staples Marathon Relay

Lass and Healey are Top Dogs in Grueling Clam Chowdah Challenge

Second Annual Novo Nordisk Cape Cod Marathon Half: There was a slight chill in the air when the Falmouth Track Club brass cannon boomed at 7:30 AM Saturday to signal the start of the Second Annual Novo Nordisk Cape Cod Marathon Half. Joseph Ekuom, 42, from Kingston, NY, a former Cape Cod Marathon champion (2009), jumped out to a quick lead over a sold-out field of 1,100 runners, winning his second Cape Cod Marathon Half with a time of 1:15:11. Eukom led the entire race. He found it challenging to keep up his 5:43 pace because he had no one to run with. He was pleased that he beat last year’s time by 3:19 and was happy to win the race again. He plans to defend his title next year.

Brielle Chabot, 24, from Brighton, MA, was the first female finisher with a time of 1:18:55. Chabot said that it was a great day for running. She ran most of the race just behind the second place male finisher, Christopher Smith, 46, from Woburn, MA. Chabot made her move on the hills, pulling ahead of Smith to finish second overall, beating Smith by 73 seconds. Smith was not surprised that Brielle pulled ahead of him on the hills. He said that he went out too fast because he had heard that the course was flat. His 6:04 pace was just off of Chabot’s pace of 6:02. Smith finished in 1:19:28.

The second female finisher was Kristina Gracey, 29, from Albany, NY with a time of 1:22:53. This was Gracey’s first time running in Falmouth. She found the course to be” beautiful and running along the ocean was amazing.” Gracey thought the course was” hilly but the views along the ocean made it worth it.”

Third place male finisher was Tim Curran, 32, from East Walpole, MA with a time of 1:22:20.

Madeline McKeever, 25, from Providence, RI was the third female finisher in 1:25:52.

In the men’s Master’s race Joseph Ekuom,42, from Kingston, NY took first (1st overall male) in 1:15:11 followed by Christopher Smith, 46,from Woburn, MA for second in 1:19:28 (2nd overall male) and Robert Straznitskas, 43, from Tiverton, RI in 1:25:10 for third (7th overall male) .

The woman’s Master race was won by Cheryl Bechunas, 42, from Sutton, MA , in 1:33:46 (24th overall female); followed by Valerie Wolfe, 47,from Portland, OR in 1:35:38 (39th overall female) in second place and in third place Maureen Lamie, 44, 41, from Quincy, MA in 1:35:40 (40th overall female).

First men’s senior was John Lesperance, 50, from Franklin, MA in 1:26:08; second senior was Brian Baker, 50, from Falmouth, MA in 1:27:56 and third senior was Donald Burke, 56, from Mansfield, MA in 1:28:05. .

First women’s senior was Sidney Letendre, 58, from Florence, MA in 1:37:31; Amy Snyder, 53, from Lansdale, PA was the second senior with at time of 1:45:50 and the third senior was Dina Pandya, 50, from East Falmouth, MA in 1:49:25.

The first place male veteran was Hassan Haydar, 62, from Quincy, MA in 1:31:05; followed by veteran Amos Woodward, 63, from Auburn, ME in 1:38:25 in second and Kevin Leach, 60, from Falmouth, MA was the third veteran in 1:40:12.

The first place female veteran was Janet Vacon, 60, from East Falmouth, MA in 1:59:06. Second place female veteran was Giny Pezzula, 66, from Colonie, NY in 2:02:33. In third place was Mary Hailer, 62, from Stow, Ohio in 2:08:07.

In the grand veteran category the male winner was Jan Oudemool, 70, from Harwich, MA in 1:57:33.

The Novo Nordisk Cape Cod Marathon Half is sponsored by Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company which is the world’s largest manufacturer of insulin.

Thirty-fifth Annual Cape Cod Marathon and Twentieth Staples Marathon Relay: The threat of a hurricane Sandy did not keep 1262 marathoners and 210 relay teams from lining up at the start of the 35th annual Cape Cod Marathon. The 35th edition of this fall classic also was the host of the USATF New England Marathon Championship for the 22nd time in 26 years. Skies were cloudy, temperatures were in the 50’s, and there was a stiff wind coming off the ocean when the Falmouth Track club brass cannon boomed to signal the start of the race.

Eric Ashe, 24, from Boston, MA chose Cape Cod for his first marathon. He came to the race with the idea of just trying to stay with the leaders and ended up becoming the leader himself when he looked back around mile 17 to find that he had pulled ahead of second place finisher Brandon Newbould. Ashe focused on maintaining his pace, even on the uphills. He never felt that he made a move but rather that he did not slow down. While Ashe felt confident that he could run a 2:22:00 marathon on a flat course in perfect conditions he was happy with his finishing time of 2:26:12 because of the hills and the headwind that was fierce during the last four miles. Ashe said that he “felt like I was walking that last four miles” because of the wind. He was surprised when he checked his time on Surf Drive, expecting a 7:30 mile and found that he had run a 6-minute pace even with the wind. He ran a 5:34 pace for the race. Although this was Ashe’s first time running the marathon he was familiar with part of the course since he has run several Falmouth Road Races. He did find that running the road race course at the end of the marathon was brutal.

Brandon Newbould, 31, from Nottingham, NH finished in 2:28:18 taking second place. Newbould felt good through the first half of the race and thought that he would be the one making the move against Ashe after running with him for the first 15 miles. Instead he hit the wall around mile 21 and struggled with cramps. Newbould was confident going into the race, despite dealing with an injury. He was disappointed with his race, joking that it was going to “kill my reputation. I am supposed to be a good closer.”

The third male finisher was Scott Leslie, 31, from Rutland, MA who finished in 2:31:00.

In the women’s race Kate Pallardy, 27, from New York, NY came in first with a time of 2:52:29. Pallardy led from the beginning in her first Cape Cod Marathon. Pallardy ran with a “good group of guys” through the first 14 miles. She came here for a win and at the half marathon point she thought she could get it. Her goal was a 2:49 race but with the wind and the fact that she had a good lead she decided to save something for the Sacramento marathon that she plans to run in 4 weeks. She was pleased with her performance. Although this is only her second marathon Pallardy likes long distances and has run several ultra marathons and ran triathlons professionally for three years. Pallardy decided to run Cape Cod because she heard really good things about the race, it was close to home and she likes smaller races. After experiencing the course she said that the course is “challenging but good.” She would give the race a 10, saying “You guys do a really good job. You put on a really good race. Pallardy said that she will be back next year to defend her title.

Second in the women’s race was Helen Dinan, 32, from Bellingham, MA in 2:59:14. Gosling Abbey, 26, from Meredith, NH was third with a time of 3:07:29.

In the simultaneous Staples Marathon Relay, The QD Racing Team, sponsored by the Quarterdeck Restaurant, a renowned Falmouth watering hole, won the men’s race in 2:32:24. The women’s winning relay team was GBTC Margaret Bradley’s Fish finishing in 2:56:36; while the mixed relay champion was MGH Cancer Center which clocked in at 2:44:25.

The Staples Marathon Relay celebrated its 20th year in 2012. In 1993, 27 teams ran the inaugural 5-leg relay. In the ensuing years the popular event experienced steady growth with the organizers increasing the cap incrementally to 2012’s limit of 210 teams. Since 1999 the relay has filled its quota a month or more in advance.

65 runners completed in the Clam Chowdah Challenge, which is achieved by completing the Cape Cod Half and full marathons. Barry Lass, 48, from Cedar Knolls, NJ was the male Clam Chowdah winner with a combined time of 4:28:23 for both races. Paula Healey, 31, from Pocasset, MA was the first female winner with a combined time of 5:15:54. She was also the winner of the first Clam Chowdah Challenge in 2011.

In the men’s Master’s race Rich Burke, 45 from Morristown, NJ took first ( 5th overall male) in 2:32:19, followed by Joseph Koech,43, from Chelmsford, MA in 2:40:20 for second,(11th overall male) and Brian Ruhm, 47, from Nashua, NH with 2:43:56 for third place (15th overall male).

The women’s Master’s race was won by Christin Doneski, 41, from Hopkingotn, NH in a time of 3:09:33,(5th overall female). Second place was Trish Bourne, 48, from Tewksbury, MA in 3:19:43 (10th overall female) and in third place Martha Berrouard,46, from Granby, MA in 3:25:48 (16th overall female).

Top three in the men’s senior division were Martin Tight, 54, from Providence, RI in 2:43:00; Robert Cipriano, 52 , from Belmont, MA in 2:47:31 and Jeffrey Silveira, 51, from Cambridge, MA in 2:52:29.

First female senior was Maria Servin, 50, from Middleboro, MA in 3:17:06. Second female senior was Dot Martin, 52, from Montpelier, VT in 3:26:27. Third female senior was Lisa Zappala, 51, from Derry, NH who finished in 3:29:02.

Top three in the men’s veteran division were Hassan Haydar, 62, from Quincy, MA in 3:26:34; Tom Peters, 60, from Francestown, NH in 3:29:53 and Dale Heisler, 62, from Salt Lake City, UT in 3:33:49.

Top three in the women’s veteran division were Shauna Heisler, 61, from Salt Lake City, UT in 4:15:08, Annajean McMahon, 60, from Saugus, MA in 4:17:02 and Rosemary a. Rusin, 69, from Florence, VT in 4:54:47.

Top Cape and Island male was Joseph Navas, 42, from North Eastham, MA in 2:57:44. Top Cape and Island female finisher was Elizabeth Forbes, 22, from Falmouth, MA in 3:10:01.

The Cape Cod Marathon is hosted by the Falmouth Track Club and supported by over 800 volunteers from the community. This is Staples third year as sponsor of the Marathon Relay. Altogether, the half Marathon, marathon and relay attracted a record 3,622 participants from 42 states, 3 provinces of Canada and 12 other foreign countries.

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