The race started at one bar and ran to another bar seven miles away. It’s started in 1972 with less than 100 runners and has grown massively popular, with a lottery to get in. The bars have changed, but they’re still there. I used to visit the Captain Kidd before it changed, but never got to the Brothers Four before it became British Beer Works; a place I’ve been known to frequent when down here.
For the fifth year in a row I drove runners to the Lawrence School in Falmouth to catch the bus to Woods Hole for the start. I’ve experimented with staying in Falmouth and going to a local diner, but three hours is a lot of time to kill and this time I end up coming back instead. Today I came back to Pocasset for breakfast with my son before returning to watch the race. Each year I stand near the Falmouth Heights Motor Lodge, which offers both an excellent view of the runners and a quick walk to the finish line where you can see your favorites again as they cross the finish line.
This year was hazy, hot and humid. The crowd supporting the runners ebbed and flowed in enthusiasm (try clapping for an hour straight), spiking for larger clusters of runners, wheelchair competitors, children, and cheerleader runners (the runners who raise their arms and prompt the crowd, igniting roars). I tracked my favorite runners on the app, and helped others to my left and right find their favorites on the course. What did we do before apps? We waited and wondered, that’s what we did.
Runners train all year for a race like Falmouth. Spectators don’t, but maybe we should. Spectaculars shuttle those runners to the buses, fight the crowds for a glimpse of their favorites, then try to find them in the sea of humanity at the finish to shuttle them home. There’s no glamour in being a spectator, but it has its rewards. For me it was the swim after we returned. Hours of madness to earn a ten minute swim in Buzzards Bay. But it works for me.
So another Falmouth is in the books. It’s become quite a family tradition, as it is for so many others. I’m not a runner, but if I were going to be this would be the race. Seven scenic miles, throngs of cheering spectators, elite runners mixed with the couple next door. Yeah, this is the race I’d run, if I ran. Maybe next year.