2011 Falmouth Road Race

Wow, what a race! Who knew the Falmouth Road Race was such a party?!?

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Sunday morning, I met the New Balance folks bright and early at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel (where the media retreat was held) to board a special trolley that would take us to the start line of the race at Woods Hole. (The race provides buses from Falmouth to the start.)

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The trolley took back roads to Woods Hole, so we avoided traffic/road blocks and arrived with plenty of time to spare.

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Falmouth uses a wave-start system, so the first two waves kicked off at 10:00 AM. I was in the forth wave, so I didn’t start until about 10:10 AM.

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The Falmouth Road Race is 7 miles. The first three are narrow, hilly, and wind along tree-shaded roads.

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Just before you reach Mile 1, you run up a gradual incline along the coast by the Nodska Lighthouse.

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The first three miles of the race pretty much kicked my butt. The hills just never stopped!


Just before Mile 3, I randomly saw Elizabeth on the course and ran with her for a little while. The race had nearly 12,000 runners, but somehow I spotted her!

The last four miles of the race are open and flat and go right along the Martha’s Vineyard Sound. (After dying on the hills, I tried to make up some time here.)

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The spectators at the race were unbelievable. In fact, I think they were THE BEST I’ve ever seen at a race. At some places, the crowds were three or four people deep and they were having the time of their lives! Pretty much every house along the route had people outside cheering, and many of them were in total party mode with music, big banners, and plenty of day drinking going on. There were also a ton of people with hoses spraying down hot runners. I also loved seeing all of the excited kids– many of them were giving high fives and handing out orange slices and even plastic leis to the runners. (I took advantage of the high fives and leis.)

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At the last half mile of the race, there’s a small, but steep hill. Once you’re over the crest, it’s all downhill to the finish. In 2004, when I first ran Falmouth, I walked this hill, but this year, I was ready for it. I powered up it and finished the race strong.

  • Mile 1: 8:55
  • Mile 2: 8:49
  • Mile 3: 8:59
  • Mile 4: 8:26
  • Mile 5: 8:17
  • Mile 6: 8:39
  • Mile 7: 8:25

Total: 01:01:09 (8:36)

I wanted to run the race in under an hour, but it just didn’t happen for me. But, for once, I really don’t care that I missed my goal. Honestly. Usually, I feel a little bit disappointed when I don’t achieve my goal, but this race was so fun, I’m happy to have simply participated in it. My face was plastered with the biggest smile for the entire thing. It actually felt tired from smiling so much when I finished.

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If you want to run a fun summertime race, I highly recommend the Falmouth Road Race. They have a lottery system, so you’ll need to register sometime next May, but just sign up for their mailing list to stay in the loop.

Do you set time goals for yourself at races? Are you disappointed when you don’t achieve it?


  1. I’ve heard so many good things about the Falmouth Road Race. Looks like a great race!! I can’t wait for the Cape Cod half marathon which takes place in Falmouth. Hopefully there will be the same kind of crowd support!

    The only time’s I’ve set a goal was when I ran my first marathon and the R2R half marathon. Unfortunately both goals were not met but that just means I need to try harder next time! 🙂

  2. I have never run a 7 mile race, but it sure looks fun! I’m doing a 10 mile race at the end of the month that is similar because all the spectators spray the runners with super soakers. 🙂

  3. While I am usually a little disappointed if I don’t meet the goals I set at races. However, I try not to let it ruin my whole day because in the end I’m grateful I was able to compete at all. Besides it makes those times you do meet your goals THAT much sweeter 🙂

  4. You still had an unbelievable finish, Tina! 🙂 I am still new to the racing scene – so I am really like a fish out of water when I try to set myself a goal time… I usually end up over estimating.. which feels good because I kill my time. But now that I am getting a better idea with regards to realistic finish times – I will probably start to NOT meet some goal times. And I know I will be disappointed when that happens.

  5. I ran a race in Green Bay, WI in June where the spectators were just like the ones you were describing. There were so many and they just kept cheering you on for the entire thing! There were people with hoses as well but I had to dodge to avoid them because it was just too cold that morning!

  6. That does look like a really fun race. I haven’t run a ton but have done a handful of 5Ks and when I don’t hit my goal time for those, depending on the race I do get frustrated. I’m super competitive with myself, but working on it!

  7. Most of the time my goal for races is just to FINISH. I haven’t done any huge races (half marathon, marathon) but my Mom really wants to do the Disney Princess Half-Marathon in Orlando. Apparently it is supposed to be a ton of fun! I am thinking about it, but am super nervous!

  8. What a beautiful race! 🙂 The hills sound killer! Great time Tina! The only race that I have set a goal for was my first half marathon. I really wanted to finish in under 2 hours and I ran it in 2:01. I was livid but realized you know what I was close and I finished! Next time I will hope to achieve that goal!

  9. What a fun race!! If only I lived closer… Perhaps I need to plan a little vacation around it, its in driving distance!

    I only get bummed about missing a time goal for a race if I am *way* off of my goal. If its just a minute or two, I don’t care! I give myself a goal so that I train toward it. Getting really close to it is just as much of a success to me!

  10. I tend to be very hard on myself, so I definitely get disappointed when I don’t reach a goal that I’ve set for myself. I actually wrote about it on my blog last week! However I’ve only been back into running for 2 weeks since an injury, so I know I need to not worry about time so much, but it’s hard. However, I ran the Susan G Komen 5K in Kansas City this Sunday and Kicked Butt! Blasted my goal of under 25 min and got 12th in my age group! I’ve never run that fast in my life!

  11. Tina, my friend just ran that race with Tedy’s Team (tedy bruschi’s organization to raise money for stroke awareness/research). I sent him the link to your blog to check out this post..

    Did you know that the couple in blue in front of you is TEDY BRUSCHI and his wife?!

  12. Very cool pictures! Glad you had such a wonderful time in the race. Having yet to run a race the only thing I have to compare the “goal” topic with would be that I set workout goals for myself that I like to meet. I am super goal oriented, which drives people around me CRAZY! I did recently have a converstation with a friend of mine about running a relay race together. It would consist of four of us and we would each run six miles each. This would be my first race EVER so I am pretty stoked about it. 🙂

  13. What gorgeous scenery for a race! Those hills would have killed me. I grew up on the Cape and I cannot wait to run my first race there! There are so many races that look great.

    Since I am training for my first race, a half marathon, my goal is to just finish! After this race I’ll start focusing on specific times 🙂

  14. I always have time goals for my self, and if I don’t achieve them then I re-examine my training and strive to do better next time…I like to put a lot of effort into getting faster, so it’s good for me to have specific goals.

    By the way, 1:01:09 is closer to a 8:45 pace? 8:36 pace would have been about an 1 hour…

  15. Congrats on a great race girl!!! Looks like so much fun too 🙂

    I try to set non-time goals (don’t walk, finish strong, etc) as well as time goals so I have something else to base success on if it’s not my day time wise.

  16. Wow, that race looks like so much fun! I definitely always set time goals for myself, one that I want to make, and one back-up time, that way if I am not totally speedy I have a decent time to fall back on and still be happy about 🙂

  17. I have goals, sure, but usually I just go with what ends up happening and not stress.

    I’d rather run slightly slower and really enjoy the race than worry about my pace to the point of stressing out and not enjoying the process, i.e. the journey, the race itself.

    The older I get the more I realize life is about the journey, not just how fast you do it in 🙂

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