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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > dunkin’ donuts cape cod marathon, and sovereign bank marathon relay—beautiful course, terrific race

Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon, and Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay—Beautiful Course, Terrific Race
Twenty-nine years! The Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon and Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay are classic—26.2 with an unmatched view and USATF-NE Championship, the final event of seven Grand Prix races.

Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon, and Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay—Beautiful Course, Terrific Race

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Sunday, 15 October, 2006

The Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon has an advantage unmatched by any other—it takes place on beautiful Cape Cod, and starts and ends in the quintessential New England town of Falmouth. October 29, 2006, beginning at 8:30 a.m., the 29th annual marathon will start on the now famous single loop course from Falmouth Village Green. It will traverse harborside roads, miles of coastline on Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds; pass through forests and villages, past cranberry bogs, famous Woods Hole, and Buzzards Bay. The field will zip around Nobska Point and the picturesque Nobska Lighthouse, and travel several miles of the Falmouth Road Race back into Falmouth and the finish at the green.

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

The Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon and Sovereign Bank 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 for the 29th Annual Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon? I can tell you for sure—they are ready for you!

The Dunkin’ Donuts slogan in recent months has been, “America Runs on Dunkin’.” This is obviously more than just a slogan, as they are proving a meaningful partner with the running community at large. Many great runners (and many more not-quite-great runners) are famous for their consumption of coffee, so the partnership makes a lot of sense. My daughters, runners living in California (where there are as yet no Dunkin’ Donuts outlets), have put visits to Dunkin’ Donuts at the very top of their itinerary when they return to New England.

And there is another new partnership as well: The Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon and Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay will join with the “Running the Race Against Cancer” program to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. For information on this program and to learn how you can help support cancer research and make your miles really count, please contact Diana Church at Diana_Church@dfci.harvard,edu.

The Championship and the Grand Prix
The Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon is the USATF New England Marathon Championship. And it is the seventh and final race in the USATF-NE Grand Prix. The USATF-New England Grand Prix is a unique series, and 2006 will be the 20th consecutive year this event was selected as a New England Championship—19 times the marathon championship, and once the relay championship. Organized and staged by the Falmouth Track Club, this will be the 29th year for the marathon and the 14th year for the relay.

The Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon and Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay both run the same certified counter-clockwise loop, starting and finishing near the historic Falmouth Village Green.

The first six years the event was held entirely on Otis Air Force Base on the north side of the Cape on 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.

The Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon was originally designed as a Boston qualifier, and thousands (an unusually high percentage) have qualified for Bean Town since 1978. Additionally this marathon is simply one of the best for first- time marathoners, thanks to really supportive volunteers and a limit on the size of the field. The Falmouth Track Club stages the event, and the club’s mission from the start has been to treat every runner as a guest. They want this to be a very intimate personal experience—a fantastic marathon experience, but without the overwhelming crowds of a New York, for example. The organizers have many years of valuable experience, critical for any race. Courtney Bird has directed this one since 1983. This is truly a community event with meticulous management.

Five Member Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay
This is the fourteenth year for the Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay, first run in 1993. It has become exceptionally popular with schools, corporations, and running clubs. There are five legs, a terrific combination that gives runners of various abilities a chance to participate: Legs vary from 3.05 to 6.2 (3.05, 5.65, 6.2, 6.0, 5.3). The standard team event and the Corporate Challenge will run simultaneously with the individual marathon. All runners, individual and relay, will use the ChampionChip timing system.

In the relay there will be trophies awarded for the regular teams and for corporate teams separately in women’s, men’s, and mixed divisions—overall winners and age group winners. Winners? We have to say that everyone is a winner following this one.

Can you Believe This Course?
What a beautiful course! It is a challenging but rewarding combination of small rolling hills (maximum 100 feet) and awe-inspiring landscapes. The course is half flat, and half rolling—it is fast, and has an advantage over flat courses because a little change for the muscles is a very good thing and relieves fatigue. And planning helps: The wind is predominantly from the west; so all the exposed areas along the shore run west. The portions of the loop that head north and east are much more protected. Temperatures are typically in the low 50’s with low humidity—on average, ideal for running long.

Between 23% and 35% of experienced marathoners typically PR on the course. The first 10 miles are flat with some rolling mounds beginning in the 11th mile. The rolls continue through mile 23. Some of the later miles incorporate part of the famous Falmouth Road Race course, and the course goes past the picturesque and historic Nobska Light at mile 22. The last three miles are flat, heading from the shore back into Falmouth center.

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.

The early miles of the Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon and Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay head east from the 350 year-old village green along the harbor and Nantucket 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 of the course, 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? Well, indeed they do.

Runners will experience every section of Falmouth, coastal and inland. The entire route will be at peak foliage, which will be gorgeous with the ponds and the sea in contrast. The course will pass, in no particular order, 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. There is lots of open space in Falmouth for this terrific marathon course, and the 750 volunteers who make it all possible and offer such tremendous support.

Other features along the course 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.

Glaciers deposited the material that now makes up Cape Cod 15,000 to 25,000 years ago. The hills, including those along the marathon course in Sippewissett and Woods Hole, are the result of deposits of rocks, gravel, sand, and silt trapped in ice then left in piles when the ice melted. The ponds were mostly from the opposite action—huge blocks of ice that left indentations (kettle holes) in the earth when they melted (including Ice House Pond at mile 18.5). 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 (if not sold out) will be at the Lawrence School on Lakeview Avenue in Falmouth from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 28. Packet pick up only will be available at the school on race day morning from 6:00 to 7:30 a.m.

There will be cash awards of nearly $10,000, including $2,400 for USATF-NE teams. There will also be trophies and merchandise awards, including unique awards to random finishers. Everyone has a chance (everyone completing this event is already a winner). 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. There will be separate awards for Filly and Clydesdale divisions. Scoring will be quick and accurate using the Championchip system.

For the relay there will be trophies awarded for the club and school teams, and for corporate teams separately. Overall winners and age group winners will be rewarded in women’s, men’s, and mixed divisions.

photo courtesy of Merrimack Valley Striders

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 Falmouth Inn, and then the New England Runner Post-Race Party will get underway, also at the Inn. It will feature live entertainment by the well-known BaHa Brothers band and replenishing beverages provided by the Offshore Ale Company of Martha’s Vineyard. There is a lot to like about the Dunkin’ Donuts Cape Cod Marathon and Sovereign Bank Marathon Relay.

Enter Early, Limited Fields for Both the Marathon and Relay
Race organizers have had to limit the field to 1,200 in the marathon and 180 teams in the relay to maintain the quality of the event. What good is terrific scenery if you can’t see or enjoy it? The relay has filled out by mid to late September every year for the past seven years. The marathon reached its limit for the last four. 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, home of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 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. Within the town’s borders, as with the Cape generally, lie areas of unspoiled natural beauty.

Once known for shipbuilding, fishing and whaling, it is now an attractive tourist destination and commercial center. Falmouth is located on the southwestern end of Cape Cod, 72 miles southeast of Boston and 239 miles east of New York. It is a large town in area, with 54.44 square miles in total, with 34,374 permanent residents.

They are Ready for You
Are you ready to run this race? Are you ready to train for a PR on a fabulously beautiful course? The challenge is the charm. This event is unique because of its location. You do the miles, and the miles give back natural beauty and inspiration. Full marathon or relay with friends, this is an event you will remember, and one you will likely want to repeat. Old Cape Cod is awfully inviting. See you there!



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