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25th Annual Falmouth in the Fall 7.1 Mile Road Race

Woods Hole, MA, November 2, 2003

LeBlanc and Baker Are Top Finishers in 25th Annual Falmouth in the Fall Road Race

It's the same scenic course that draws the elite runners of the world and 10,000 people to the starting line every August. But this race is different. It is a low-key, no-hype opportunity for runners to take the same journey along the Vineyard sound shoreline in the company of only 500 to 600 other runners and in the less pressured atmosphere of Falmouth and Cape Cod in the fall.

Instead of multiple starts, big crowds of spectators and runners, bands, and a party on the heights ball field, DJ's entertained runners and curious bystanders before the start in Woods Hole and at the finish in Falmouth Heights. Instead big prize purses for the top finishers and age group winners, only the top five men and women got official recognition and merchsandise gifts at the awards ceremony at the Falmouth Yacht Club. But Race director Don Facey had over 100 merchandize prizes that he awarded randomly while runners feasted on clam chowder. So it was that a runner who placed far back in the pack walked home with a $100 pair of Running Shoes for her efforts.

And so on Sunday, November 2nd, a day that was partly sunny, partly cloudy and mild, the 25th edition of Falmouth in the Fall got underway at 1:00 pm as nearly 500 runners broke from the Woods Hole starting line with the firing of a cannon.

As the runners wound along the seaside course, the men's race quckly evolved into a contest between Mark LeBlanc of Natick, Gary Thomson of Westport, and Bill Solimine and Ken Gartner, both of West Falmouth. For much of the race they ran in a pack, but with less than a mile to go, they all broke for the finish. First to cross the line with a time of 38:46 was Mark LeBlanc, followed by Solimine (38:56), Thomson (39:01) and Gartner (39:18). In fifth place was Don Fredrickson of Lincoln, RI (41:32).

The women's race was not as close. Jessica Baker of Falmouth took an early lead and ran evenly over the 7-mile course to finish in 47:17. Second place went to Elizabeth Pendleton of Woods Hole who finished more than a minute behind Baker in 48:41. The remaining top five women finishers were Lee Kaukas of Medford (49:35), Mary Mulgrew of Sandwich (50:16), Mary Peabody of Brewster (50:38).

402 runners finished this year's Falmouth in the Fall, which was first run in 1979. Some of the proceeds from this year's race will go to the Lupus Foundation of America and the Tom Leonard Award Fund, which annually makes a cash award to a graduating and college-bound student at Westfield (MA) High and Falmouth High.

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