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Falmouth, MA, May 23, 2003
Coffee O Celebrates Ten Thousandth Runner
by by Ken Gartner
The large marching band never really showed up and the post race
extravaganza never materialized, but nevertheless the Coffee O Five
celebrated its 10,000th finisher this week. The prestigious honor of being
the 10,000th finisher went to Fred Keller, a running veteran from North
Falmouth. Mr. Keller finished in a time of 42:08, just 20 seconds behind
his wife. Both Fred and Judi Keller have over 100 Coffee O Five finishes
under their belts, which add up to over 500 miles apiece over the scenic
The event has had several name changes, but the course has remained the
same. Thirteen runners gathered on a warm Friday night in June of 1997 in
Town Hall Square. The runners of various ages and abilities had one thing
in mind and that was to race through the scenic five-mile course as fast as
they comfortably or uncomfortably could.
Tommy Leonard sauntered over from the Quarterdeck and shouted, ³go² almost
six years ago to start the historic first run. The runners have been coming
back every week since then, regardless of the weather.
Runners from over 35 states and at least 20 foreign countries have
competed in the event. One runner once drove over three hours from western
Connecticut, to compete on a cold winter night, and then promptly jumped in
her car after the run and drove straight home. Over the course of the years
the runners have weathered: extreme hot and cold days, rain, ice, snow and
wind. On several occasions they have been forced to wade through knee deep
puddles and on one occasion they had to skirt downed trees and power lines.
No entry fee has ever been charged and Coffee Obsession, a local coffee shop
on Queens Byway, graciously supplies ice-cold water to the runners in the
summer and hot cocoa in the winter.
A 2.4-mile walk was added one year ago to accommodate those who could
not run five miles. In this weekıs race, Justin Nevieackas edged Jeff List
by just 20 seconds to take the win. Penny Christo outdistanced Nancy Ash by
a comfortable margin to take the womenıs race.
The Coffee O Five is held every Friday night at 5:30 from Town Hall
Square in Falmouth. There is no entry fee for this self-timed event and all
runners and walkers are welcome to participate.