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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the 34th annual cape cod marathon expands with half marathon and “clam chowdah challenge” – a fall weekend of classic road racing in new england

The 34th Annual Cape Cod Marathon Expands with Half Marathon and “Clam Chowdah Challenge” – A Fall Weekend of Classic Road Racing in New England
Welcome to the Cape Cod Marathon and Staples Marathon Relay, set for Sunday, October 30, 2011. But get this—a new Half Marathon on Saturday, October 29 will be part of the “Clam Chowdah Challenge”. Run both the Half and Full and get a commemorative shirt and beautiful ceramic Chowder bowl—unique, and only on Cape Cod.

The 34th Annual Cape Cod Marathon Expands with Half Marathon and “Clam Chowdah Challenge” – A Fall Weekend of Classic Road Racing in New England

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Active Running

By Noreen Cohen
Posted Monday, 11 July, 2011

Join the excitement this Fall for a signature Cape Cod running tradition that is sure to please. And now you have a great choice: full marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, or “Clam Chowdah Challenge” by running the half and full back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday. This is a one of a kind opportunity—and challenge to be sure—and only here; only on Cape Cod. What a wonderful addition to this venerable event in its 34th year. In addition, top regional runners and a host of New England running clubs will converge on Falmouth because the USATF New England Marathon Championship and final event in the 7-race Grand Prix Series will return to Cape Cod for the 21st time in the past 25 years. So the town of Falmouth is gearing up for a full weekend of running and running-related festivities.

But the marathon is again limited to only 1,200. The relay is limited to 200 teams and sells out. The half will be even more restricted, as they can allow only 800 in the entire race—with the “Clam Chowdah Challenge” entrants limited to only 200. Do not delay.

Begun in 1978, hosted and meticulously organized by the Falmouth Track Club, the Cape Cod Marathon caters to runners who expect quality—and stunning scenery. For over thirty years, runners of all ages and abilities from all over the world have been competing in this race, including many first time marathoners. Last year Mary Lynn Currier of Canton, Connecticut won for the fourth time. She had back to back marathon wins in 1996 and 1997, and accomplished the same with 2009 and 2010. Sammy Nyamongo of Greeley, Colorado won on the men’s side in 2:28:56.

Just what makes it so special? How about a gem of a course for starters. This picturesque course loops around the historic town of Falmouth and offers some of the most stunning sights that Cape Cod has to offer. This certified and challenging marathon course is brimming with an abundance of quintessential New England autumn beauty. The half marathon goes off with the boom of the cannon on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. on Main Street in Falmouth. The Marathon does the same on Sunday at 8:30.

Cape Cod has always conjured up images of sandy beaches, lighthouses, sea captains’ homes, scenic fishing villages, tidal flats and tales of mooncussers from days gone by. Falmouth is just the place to soak up the charm of a New England paradise, given that it offers more miles of coastline than any other Cape Cod town. Fine harbors and wonderful beaches dot the landscape. The southern shoreline borders Vineyard Sound and the western side overlooks Buzzards Bay.

And if have you ever wished that you could enjoy Cape Cod without the crowds, the Cape Cod Marathon is the perfect time to do just that. As autumn falls over New England, you’ll find that the summer crowds have left and traffic is flowing easily. An autumn visit also means enjoyment of a whole new set of seasonal pleasures. New England’s famed autumn color reaches the Cape in mid October just in time for the race. In addition to the leaves and sea grasses with changing hues, you will delight in the spectacle of acres of cranberry bogs ripening from deep green to crimson red. And this year the weekend is expanded.

Autumn on the Cape also means terrific marathon weather! On the whole the temperature on Cape Cod is moderate. Isolation from the land mass of New England and enclosure by ocean waters create both warming effects during winter and cooling effects in summer. The average temperature for October is 44 to 59 degrees. This great running weather is also ideal for a host of recreational activities the whole family will enjoy. Plan to stay the weekend or longer to take advantage of this gorgeous time of the year on Cape Cod.

Course Highlights—Marathon

The first ten miles are relatively flat with an exception of one short hill at 3 miles; it climbs for 1.5 miles about 70 feet to the highest elevation (about 100 feet above sea level). As it winds through Woods Hole, it picks up the first part of the Falmouth Road Race course. Save some energy for the hills! This eight mile stretch consists of a combination of non-stop rolling hills. The course flattens out again for the last 3 miles along Vineyard Sound toward the finish line at Falmouth Center.

Runners will appreciate a unique view of every section of Falmouth. It starts at the historic Falmouth Village Green, passes the Falmouth Inner Harbor, and runs along magnificent Nantucket Sound with vistas of Falmouth Heights and Menauhant. It passes Green Pond and goes through the rustic wooded areas of Davisville and past Falmouth’s famed cranberry bogs in Hatchville. The race then turns west towards the Buzzards Bay villages of West Falmouth and Sippewissett, and south through the famous scientific community of Woods Hole.

Winding through Woods Hole, the race returns to the beaches of the Sound with a spectacular turnaround, past the beautiful Nobska Lighthouse and along the beaches of Surf Drive, and back through the streets of downtown Falmouth to finish at the Village Green. Now in its fourth decade, the Cape Cod Marathon was rated by Runner’s World Magazine as one of the ten “Most Scenic” marathons in America.

It comes as no surprise that a race with this kind of longevity has excellent organization behind it. This is certainly evident by the scores of volunteers who are on the scene and behind the scenes to ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience for all. You can count on them to have all the important race details covered including water and sports drink stops about every 2.5 miles; all miles and 5K intervals are marked, and there is excellent course signage. Medical aid is available along the course and the finish.

Runners can also look forward to music provided by bands and DJ’s along the way-and a possible Elvis sighting! With all that terrific scenery, there is no shortage of pleasant diversions and replenishment that will keep you going strong until the finish line. The Chronotrack system will be used for timing and scoring. Massage therapists and medics will be on hand following the race to take the edge off post race kinks.

The 19th Annual StaplesMarathon Relay

There are so many great ways to enjoy this race. If you are looking to compete and also enjoy the camaraderie a team offers, the New Balance Relay is for you! Relay teams are comprised of a variety of participants: competitive running clubs, local organizations and corporate running teams. Five-leg relay teams of 2 to 5 members run simultaneously with the marathon. Legs range from 3.05 to 6.15 miles. Trophies are awarded to single sex and mixed teams overall and by age groups. There is also a corporate challenge for single sex and mixed teams. Remember, it is limited to 200 teams and sells out!

Community Support

It is no secret that the success of this race is due in part to the widespread outpouring of community support. Kudos go to Cape Cod Marathon Race Director Courtney Bird and the 30-person marathon organizing committee for all their tireless efforts over the years to establish the kind of community support and level of organization that makes it all possible. The result is an amazing volunteer effort. Nearly 800 volunteers, including medical teams, radio amateurs, Civil Air Patrol, police, students, and scores of other businesses and local organizations, rally around this popular event making it the highlight of the year for runners, as well as a highlight for the town of Falmouth.

Since inception some of the proceeds have been donated to the Falmouth and Cape Cod non-profits totaling hundreds of thousands over the years—a true community event.

For additional information about volunteering, visit the Volunteer Sign-up Page on the race website.

Post Race Celebration and Awards

Get ready for a fantastic time basking in the glory of your marathon, relay, or half marathon accomplishment. A great New England race deserves a great post-race celebration. Take advantage of a soothing massage. Then share your race story with friends old and new as you enjoy an award winning free post race meal with pasta, traditional clam chowder, salad, fruit juices and soft drinks. Family and friends are welcome to get in on the fun and enjoy a delicious meal for a nominal charge. The proceeds benefit the Mashpee Track Club.

An awards ceremony will begin at 2:30 at the Lawrence School auditorium. Don’t miss the famous New England Runner post-race party at the Falmouth Inn beginning at 3:30, and featuring the highly danceable music of the BaHa Brothers, and delicious libation provided by Offshore Ale Company of Martha’s Vineyard.

As of this writing, the race organizers are working on plans for a post-race party for the half marathoners to be held on Saturday afternoon. Watch the Cape Cod Marathon website for more details

A prize purse of $12,600.00 will be distributed to the top marathon finishers, supplemented by trophies and merchandize prizes in the following categories: Overall winners, Open 14-39, Master 40-49, Senior 50-59, Veterans 60-69 and Grand Veterans 70 and older. Additionally, merchandize prizes will be awarded randomly at the finish to other participants. See the website for more information about prize money and awards.

The men’s course record was set in 1986 by Randy Thomas at 2:17:35. Cathy Schiro O’Brien set the female record in 1987 with 2:37:06. John Lyon set the wheelchair division mark in 1996 at 2:15:36.

What Makes Cape Cod so Special?

For generations people have flocked to the Cape and have fallen in love with it. This split of land thrust into the Atlantic like a sandy arm lies just south of Boston, and it is the premiere vacation resort area of New England. It is easy to get to, and is within a day’s travel from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and even Canada.

Yes, it is accessible, and there is much that makes it so special and captivating. Maybe it’s the quality of light, clear and bright as it falls on the dunes. Or perhaps it is because the area appeals to nature lovers; a paradise of dunes, salt marshes and ocean beach with the sound of laughing gulls and the cackling call of the kingfisher. Whatever the reason, you owe it to yourself to spend some time here. The Cape Cod Marathon is the perfect fall weekend getaway race.

While the post-race party is being held at Landucci’s at the Falmouth Inn, the Inn itself is no longer the “Official Inn” of the marathon. Rather all the inns listed on our accommodations page are recommebnded since they all support us to one extent or another. For a list of other places to stay in Falmouth, visit the race website at

Save the date! Register early! The field will be limited to the first 1,200 marathoners, 800 half marathoners, 200 relay teams, and 200 in that new and innovative “Clam Chowdah Challenge.” Both the marathon and the relay fill up quickly, and given the popularity of the 31.1 mile distance, the new half marathon will likely fill also. Please check the website for details, but get registered early. If slots are still available the price increases on July 1.



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