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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the 33rd annual cape cod marathon and staples marathon relay—one of the most scenic in america

The 33rd Annual Cape Cod Marathon and Staples Marathon Relay—One of the Most Scenic in America
This classic marathon will be run on October 31, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the historic Village Green in Falmouth, Massachusetts. There will be 1,200 lucky runners and 200 relay teams participating on this beautifully scenic loop course at one of the most storied locations in America—Old Cape Cod.

The 33rd Annual Cape Cod Marathon and Staples Marathon Relay—One of the Most Scenic in America

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Active Running

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Wednesday, 27 October, 2010

Are you ready to run a great fall marathon? Are you ready to train for a PR on a fabulously beautiful course? The challenge is also the charm. This event is unique because of its location, and the course is a pleasant pay back for all those training miles. Full marathon or relay with friends, this is an event you will remember, and one you will likely want to repeat. The scenery is fantastic – classic-post-card-perfect Cape Cod, and the community embraces this race and all participants.

This race has it all --location, organization, competition, and knowledgeable volunteers with motivation. It is a great first-time marathon. The Cape Cod Marathon and Staples Marathon Relay are quintessential New England, and road racing at its best. It is not just the beautiful course, but the quality and friendliness of both participants and volunteers that makes this so special. And the event has raised tens of thousand of dollars for deserving charities.

The Cape Cod Marathon has an advantage unmatched by any other—it takes place on beautiful Cape Cod. This is an ideal marathon at every level. The Cod Marathon delivers--guaranteed to be a terrific experience. You get exactly what you want, need and expect from your hard-earned marathon. You cannot ask for more.

The now-famous marathon single loop course begins and ends at Falmouth Village Green. It will traverse harbor side roads, miles of coastline on Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds; pass through forests and villages, past ripening cranberry bogs, and run through famous Woods Hole and Buzzards Bay. It runs around Nobska Point and the picturesque Nobska Lighthouse, and travels several miles of the Falmouth Road Race back into Falmouth. This is a tremendously scenic course, and the strict limits of 1,200 marathoners and 200 relay teams are enforced to maintain the quality experience for every “guest”. You have to see this beautiful scenery on foot to really enjoy it.

Races come and go, but the great ones last. And this one has a lasting legacy. Picture perfect foliage and spectator-friendly loop (never more than seven miles from the start and finish points) add to the fun and the charm. This is a favorite fall marathon and marathon relay for many. It is one of those races and one of those memorable places where everything just feels right.

The Cape Cod Marathon and Staples Marathon Relay have a lot more going for them than a terrific course, however. Every detail is covered for all runners/guests, from packet pick up to course support, to post-race fare and post-race party at the Falmouth Inn. Are you ready? They are ready for you!

Fourth Decade—Now Classic
The first six years the event was held on Otis Air Force Base with a series of loops. It was moved to the scenic villages of Falmouth in 1984. Runners have enjoyed the beauty of this fast but challenging course ever since.

Typically around 30% of the field qualifies for Boston. This marathon is simply one of the best for first-time marathoners, thanks to tremendously supportive volunteers and a limit on the size of the field. The Falmouth Track Club’s mission has been to treat every runner as a guest; delivering a very intimate personal marathon experience, but without the overwhelming crowds of an urban extravaganza. The 30-member race committee has many years of valuable experience, critical for any race. This is truly a community event with meticulous management.

Last Year Mary Lynn Currier of Canton, Connecticut, won for the third time ( 1996 and 1997) with an outstanding time of 2:56:14, just a little off her master’s course record of 2:55:10. Joseph Ekuan, who resides in High Falls, New York, won the men’s race in 2:33:13.
Olympian Cathy Schiro O’Brien set the women’s record at 2:37:06 in 1987, and Randy Thomas set the men’s record one year earlier at 2:17:35. Masters records are held by Currier and Craig Fram (2:27:58, 2000). Reno Stirrat set a new senior record in 2006 (2:45:47); the women’s senior mark is held by Susan Gustafson (3:08:31, 1998).

Five Member Staples Marathon Relay
This is the eighteenth year for the Staples Marathon Relay, first run in 1993. It has become exceptionally popular with schools, corporations, and running clubs. Five legs give runners of various abilities a chance to participate, varying from 3.05 to 6.15 miles with teams consisting of two to five members. All runners, individual and relay, will use the Chronotrack D-chip timing system.

A Course Like No Other
What a beautiful course! It is a challenging but rewarding combination of flat stretches and small rolling hills (maximum 100 feet) with awe-inspiring landscapes. The course is half flat and half rolling—it is fast. The wind is predominantly from the west; so all the exposed areas along the shore run west with the prevailing wind. The portions of the loop that head north and east are protected. Temperatures are typically in the low 50’s with low humidity—ideal for distance running. But it is New England and any kind of weather is possible in late October.

Many runners, including experienced marathoners, have gotten PR’s on this course. The key is not to go out fast during the flat early portions, and save energy for the rolling hills in the second half.
The early miles of the Cape Cod Marathon and Relay head east from the 350 year-old village green along the harbor and Nantucket Sound. The first 5 miles follow the shoreline with nice ocean views. Then the course turns back into the countryside with scenic protected and very quiet sections. It runs rural roads with forests and fields. It will be fall foliage and glorious.

Early miles are mostly flat. Then a few small hills challenge runners from 10.5 to 12. Miles 12 to 15 are flat to downhill; and then comes an eight-mile series of rolling hills. Runners enjoy part of the famous Falmouth Road Race course, including Nobska Point and the picturesque Nobska Light at mile 22. The final 3.2 miles offer a flat and gorgeous run along Vineyard Sound.

Runners will roll through Falmouth Heights, Menauhant, Davisville, Hatchville, and west to Buzzards Bay. The course then turns south and meanders through West Falmouth, Sippewissett, and Woods Hole before returning along Vineyard Sound to Falmouth’s Village Green and the finish.

In addition to the visual beauty, the Falmouth Track Club will have bands and DJs along the course. Who would have thought that a major marathon would require a Music Director on the race organizing committee?

Runners will experience every section of Falmouth, coastal and inland. The entire route will be near peak foliage, gorgeous with the ponds and the sea in contrast. It will pass Waquiot Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Beebe Woods, and Woods Hole Golf Club course. The beaches include Surf Drive, Nobska, Trunk River, Chapaquiot, Wood Neck, and Menauhant. Beautiful ponds along the course will include Oyster, Salt, Bristol, Siders, Great Pond, Coonamessett, Miles (a.k.a. Ice House), Eel and Nobska. The 800 volunteers who make it all possible offer tremendous support along the way.

Other features include cranberry bogs, marshes, historic buildings, and the Shining Sea Bike Path. Falmouth Harbor and West Falmouth Harbor are memorable, as is the Woods Hole Harbor, famous as the homeport for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s ships, the Knorr, the Oceanus, and Atlantis. Only 10 miles wide at its maximum, Cape Cod has 550 miles of shoreline, totals 396 square miles, and has 360 lakes and ponds.

Pre Race, Post Race
Packet pick up and late registration (although it will likely be sold out) will be at the Lawrence School at 113 Lakeview Avenue, Falmouth, MA 02540 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 30th. (The Expo will run only on Saturday.) Packet pick up will also be available (no registration) at the school on race day morning from 6:15 to 7:30 a.m.

There will be cash awards of $12,600. There will also be trophies and merchandise awards, including unique awards to random finishers. Trophies and merchandise will be awarded for women and men in the open, masters, seniors (50-59), veterans (60-69), and grand veterans (70+) divisions.

For the relay there will be trophies awarded for the club and school teams; and for corporate teams separately.

The post-race meal, also in the Lawrence School cafeteria, is one of the best: Clam chowder, hot pasta, fresh baked bread, salad, fruit, and juices are traditional. The food is plentiful and really good.

The awards ceremonies will be held at the Lawrence School auditorium, followed by the increasingly popular and not-to-be-missed New England Runner Magazine Post-Race Party at the Falmouth Inn. The party will feature live entertainment and replenishing beverages provided by the Offshore Ale Company of Martha’s Vineyard. There is a lot to like about the Cod Marathon and Staples Marathon Relay—before, during, and after the race.

Enter Early, Limited Fields for Both the Marathon and Relay
The relay has filled out by mid September every year for the past nine years. Race Director Courtney Bird advises runners to plan ahead and enter as early as possible. Check the event website for details regarding entry, directions, information on Falmouth and the Cape, lodging, race history, a tremendous list of sponsors, and much more:

Falmouth is Beautiful—You will Want to Stay
Falmouth is an historic, active and attractive resort town with a long maritime tradition. It is quintessential New England, with harbors and beaches, bogs and marshes, and a picture-postcard town center. There are also eight other villages within the town limits, including famous Woods Hole. Falmouth was incorporated in 1686. The Falmouth Historical Society is located on the village green, and the Aquarium of the National Marine Fisheries Service is located in Woods Hole.

From Woods Hole you can catch the ferries out to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The Outer-Cape and Provincetown at the very tip offer a wonderful scenic tour. There is a newly paved rail trail bike path from the Mid-Cape to Provincetown.

October is a great time to visit the Cape--great running weather. Foliage season creates a unique beauty along the shore. The weather will be fairly warm during the day with crisp nights. The summer tourists will be gone, but everything will still be open and hotel and rentals will be available at off-season rates.

With Great Pride and a Warm Welcome, They Will be Ready for You.
This is one outstanding event—chosen 22 times as the USATF-New England Championship; it the gem of the Falmouth Track Club and Race Director Courtney Bird. This race enlists the support of the entire community, and has a very professional approach (although all are dedicated volunteers engaged in a labor of love). They produce a marathon and marathon relay that truly rank with the best by any measure. This will be the 33rd year for the marathon and the 18th year for the relay. You owe it to yourself to visit Cape Cod the weekend of October 31st and run this race. See you there!



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