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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the 35th annual cape cod marathon and marathon half, with second “clam chowdah challenge” – a fall weekend of classic road racing in new england

The 35th Annual Cape Cod Marathon and Marathon Half, with Second “Clam Chowdah Challenge” – A Fall Weekend of Classic Road Racing in New England
Welcome to the 35th Annual Cape Cod Marathon, Relay and Half Marathon Weekend, set for Saturday and Sunday, October 27-28, 2012. The Half Marathon on Saturday, October 27 will be the first event of the “Clam Chowdah Challenge”. Run both the half and full and get a commemorative shirt and beautiful ceramic chowder bowl. Whether you run one or both, these are wicked outstanding races.

The 35th Annual Cape Cod Marathon and Marathon Half, with Second “Clam Chowdah Challenge” – A Fall Weekend of Classic Road Racing in New England

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By Noreen Cohen
Posted Saturday, 6 October, 2012

The 35th Cape Cod Marathon all by itself is an outstanding event in one of the most beautiful places in the country, Cape Cod. Add the Saturday Novo Nordisk Marathon Half, and the second annual--and wildly successful--“Clam Chowdah Challenge” by running the half and full back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday, add the 20th annual Staples Marathon Relay and a wonderful post-race party, and you've got yourself an outstanding racing weekend. It is unique, and only on Cape Cod!

Yes, 35 years, and for 30 of them under the careful direction of Courtney Bird and his terrific committee. After the 2012 race, Bird will be stepping down. A year-long search by the Falmouth Track Club, which stages the CCM, resulted in Matt Auger, the Assistant Director of the New Balance Falmouth Road Race, being selected to take over the helm of the event, beginning with the 2013 edition. When Bird became involved in directing the CCM in 1982, there were only about 80 participants, but in 2011, there were nearly 3,400 between the marathon, relay and half marathon. But after a 30-year run, Bird felt it was time for some fresh blood. Auger, who has 20 years of experience in the management end of the Falmouth Race and now also works with Dave McGillivray's DMSE team on both Falmouth and other events that McGillivray manages, was considered by the Falmouth Track Club to be the ideal choice to carry on and build upon the tradition of excellence developed by Bird during the past 30 years.

Don't delay your registration: All events will sell out. The marathon only accepts 1,200 this year and has sold out the past two years; the inaugural half marathon filled early last year and has only 1,100 openings; the relay sold out the last 10 years, and will do so again at 200 teams. And the "Clam Chowdah Challenge" will be limited to 250 entrants--or less if either marathon or marathon half sells out. In addition, the registration fee goes up after June 15, so set those goals and sign up. The marathon is a Boston qualifier, and a lot of people will be looking to re-qualify after the scorcher at Boston this year. The bottom line here is do not delay.

Join the excitement this fall for a signature Cape Cod running tradition that is sure to please. There is something for everyone: full marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, and the "Clam Chowdah Challenge". This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity—and challenge to be sure. What a wonderful combination for this venerable event in its 35th year. Top regional runners and a host of New England running clubs will converge on Falmouth because for the 22nd time in 26 years Cape Cod is hosting the USATF New England Marathon Championship, which is the final event in the 7-race Grand Prix Series. There is nothing like the beauty of Cape Cod and Falmouth, and racing there has deep roots. The town of Falmouth will host a full weekend of running and running-related festivities.

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 thirty five 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 Hilary Dionne of Charlestown, Massachusetts won the women's marathon in 2:48:21. Patrick Rich of South Hamilton, MA won on the men’s side in 2:28:54. Rebecca Ford of Manchester, New Hampshire won the inaugural half marathon (1:29:19) as did Joseph Ekuom of High Falls, New York (1:18:31). Paula Healey of Pocasset, Massachusetts was the women's Clam Chowdah Challenge winner with a combined time of 5:02:01, while Todd Archambault of Essex Junction, Vermont took home the top chowder bowl on the men's side at 4:28:00.

In the marathon, 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. There is a $500 bonus for a new record. Both courses are USATF-certified and sanctioned.

For the marathon championship an individual prize purse of $12,600.00 will be distributed to the top marathon finishers who are USATF members, 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. There will be $3,700 in USATF team prize money in the marathon. Additionally, merchandize prizes will be awarded randomly at the finish to other participants. See the website for more information about prize money and awards.
Cash awards in the marathon half will total $4,000 for individuals. That's over $21,000 in prize money available for marathon weekend on Cape Cod.

Just what makes Cape Cod so special? How about a gem of a course for starters. This picturesque marathon course loops around the historic town of Falmouth and offers some of the most stunning sights that Cape Cod has to offer. This challenging marathon course is brimming with an abundance of quintessential New England autumn beauty. The marathon half goes off with the boom of the cannon on Saturday, October 27 at 7:30 a.m. on Main Street in Falmouth, not far from the Village Green. The marathon does the same on Sunday at 8:30 a.m.

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.

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 late 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, and then it climbs about 70 feet for 1.5 miles to the highest elevation (about 100 feet above sea level). After a 2½-mile stretch of downhill and flat running coming into West Falmouth at mile 15, save some energy for the upcoming "Sippewissett Hills," an 8-mile endurance challenge of non-stop rolling terrain. The hills continue as the course winds through Woods Hole and picks up the first part of the Falmouth Road Race course. At mile 23½, the course flattens out again for the last 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 hundreds 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 B-tag 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 2nd Annual Novo Nordisk Marathon Half
The half marathon course is just as beautiful as the full. It is a basic loop with some out and back, starting on Main Street and ending in Town Hall Square, on secondary roads with light traffic and on the Shining Sea Bikeway. 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.

The 20th Annual Staples Marathon 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 Staples Marathon 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 about three to six 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 of dollars over the years—a true community event.

For additional information about volunteering, visit the Volunteer Sign-up Page on the race website after September 1st.

Post Race Celebration and Awards
Get ready for a fantastic time basking in the glory of your marathon, relay, "Chowdah Challenge" 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.
And to cap off the weekend is the traditional New England Runner Post-Race Party, co-sponsored by the Offshore Ale Company, and featuring the very danceable music of the BaHa Brothers.

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 Canadian cities.

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.

Please visit their outstanding race website at for more information on directions, registration, packet pickup, accommodations, course maps, stories, photos, results, history, the challenge, volunteer opportunities, contacts, and much more.

Save the date! Register early! The field will be limited to the first 1,200 marathoners, 1,100 half marathoners, 200 relay teams, and 250 in that innovative “Clam Chowdah Challenge.” Both the marathon, marathon half and the relay fill up quickly. Please check the website for details, but get registered early. You will not regret your decision.



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