This past Sunday, I completed the 39th running of The Falmouth Road. And I am also proud to report that my time was a very respectable time for my age group - I finished ahead of almost 9,000 runners (there was almost 11,000 total) and ahead of about 1,000 in my division. Not bad for a middle-aged dad to triplets!
I have run the scenic, yet challenging 7.1 mile race every year since 1996 and as such I know the course and race logistics very well.
Saturday (the day before the race):
I didn’t run, but spent the mid-summer day with Sarah and the girls. We did some errands in the morning and then took Allie, Anna and Emily swimming in my brother’s above-ground pool in the afternoon. After putting the girls to bed, I was exhausted as I had not yet recovered from the effects of our drive to Michigan two weeks earlier. After phoning in our order for dinner from a local pub-restaurant, I plopped myself down on the back deck for a 5-10minute cat nap. I was zonked! I think I was in bed @10:15 Saturday night.
Sunday morning (race day):
Before I left the house, I had my regular bowl of cereal and then I gave Anna a kiss, said goodbye to Sarah and Grammy, and then I was out the door.
Experience has taught me that arriving for the buses which take the runners from Falmouth to Woods Hole at 8:45 works best for me. So I knew I had time to stop and get a small coffee for the drive to Falmouth. That is what I did. Unfortunately I only took three sips of the coffee because they decided to make a milk with coffee instead of a coffee with milk. This was not a good start to my day, but I decided I could survive without the java.
The drive to Falmouth was uneventful. The traffic I hit where Route 28 turns into one lane was a little more than I would have expected, but I was still on schedule. I parked the car at the designated spot where I was to meet Sarah, Sheila, and the girls after the race. I had put my bib on my singlet the night before and had my shorts and singlet on so I just changed from my flip-flops to my Saucony treads, locked the car, and slipped the car key into the tiny pocket in my shorts. I was ready for the 5-7 minute walk to the buses, fully expecting to get on a bus shortly after arriving at the school where the runners board.
Surprise! The line for the buses was ¼ mile long – no lie!
I got in line, watched it move (albeit very slowly) and then watched the line continue to grow. It was not moving fast. It started to become apparent something was wrong. In the fifteen years having run this extremely well organized race, there had never been a problem with the buses. The organizers have historically stressed to runners the importance of arriving before the LAST bus leaves at 8:45. It was obvious they would be lucky to get all the runners boarded on buses by 9:15.
Knowing the port-a-potty situation, I ducked out of line at the school where the buses were being loaded. It was then that I heard one of the volunteers announce that the runners could thank the new sponsor New Balance for the delay. New Balance had cut the number of buses shuttling runners from Falmouth to Woods hole from 70 to 40! What!?
At least the time waiting in line and the ride to Woods Hole passed somewhat quickly with a nice conversation with a mother from Florida with three young children. She was running Falmouth for the first time. We talked of race logistics, running, and what sports is like for kids today….
I think it was close to 9:40 by the time I stepped off the bus in Woods Hole. I would not have been surprised if there were 1,000+ runners yet to arrive to the start.
To be continued....Next post: more logistical nightmares, pre-race anticipation and a Tedy Bruschi sighting!