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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 seaside course. 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.

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