A Big Weekend For Runners And Walkers

This weekend, a desire to compete across a seven-mile course will cause Falmouth’s population to skyrocket due to the thousands of runners and spectators arriving for the 40th anniversary of the New Balance Falmouth Road Race.

This year’s new race director, David McGillivray, longtime Boston Marathon director and organizer, was brought in from a national search to direct the race.

“It’s difficult to come into such a complicated system,” said Matt G. Auger, last year’s race director and this year’s assistant race director. “Dave was able to master it and not just continue, but exceed the level of excellence from previous years.”

The race drew the highest numbers of applicants this year in honor of the race’s 40th anniversary, forcing them to reject about 4,500 people through their lottery system. “Anniversary years are always more popular,” said Mr. Auger. “We’ve registered 12,800 runners to compete in the race this year.”

The weekend’s events have already begun, kicking off with the runners’ expo, which opened yesterday at the Robert Antonucci Field House at Falmouth High School. The expo will continue today from 10 AM to 9 PM and tomorrow from 9 AM to 6 PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Runners can pick up their numbers at the expo while other Falmouth residents and visitors can enjoy the exhibitions. Runners may not pick up their numbers on race day.

“This year’s expo is going to be our biggest one yet,” said Mr. Auger. “We have over 56 exhibitors, ranging from local sponsors, such as the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, to international ones, such as New Balance.”

Tomorrow’s events begin with the 22nd annual independently sponsored 3.2-mile walk, beginning in Town Hall Square, traveling down Walker street, Shore Street, Clinton Avenue, and Scranton Avenue before returning to Main Street once again for the finish. Registration costs $20 and will be held tonight from 4:30 to 7:30 PM at the Quarterdeck Restaurant as well as tomorrow morning between 9 AM and the race’s start at 10 AM.

There will be a raffle and an auction following the walk. All proceeds benefit local charities, some of which include Around the Table meals program, the Falmouth Military Support Group, Haven for Healing, Ellen T. Mitchell Scholarship Fund, and the Falmouth Service Center.

Tomorrow at 3:30 PM, Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts and Falmouth Recreation Department will be holding their annual SBLI Falmouth Recreation Family Fun Run for children ages 2 to 14 at the James Kalperis track at Falmouth High School. Registration for the event begins an hour before the races start. The registration is free but required for all participants.

The event is comprised of multiple races of varied distances; children ages 5 and younger will compete in a 100-yard dash, 6- and 7-year-olds will race 200 meters, 8- and 9-year-olds will race 400 meters, 10- and 11-year-olds will race 800 meters, and the 12-,13-, and 14-year-olds will finish the races with a one-mile long competition.

On the same track at 6 PM tomorrow will be the 17th annual mile race. Twenty elite men and women runners, including a few who had competed in the Olympic trials, will contest for a $2,000 prize.

Proceeding the elite mile will be two other mile races, one for all of the wheelchair competitors registered for Sunday’s race. “We decided to bring this event back because of such a positive response to last year’s miles,” said Mr. Auger.

“It’s another opportunity for the public to see some amazing athletes.”

The third race will be a high school mile, sponsored for the first time by the family of Tommy Cochary. The competitors for this event were chosen from around the country, based on individual performance in state competitions, and will feature Ella Martin and Lauren O’Neil of Falmouth. The prize for these young athletes is a grant in the memory of Tommy Cochary for them to bring back to their school to encourage wellness among students and encourage them to make good choices.

The John Wesley United Methodist Church of Gifford Street will hold its 13th annual spaghetti dinner between 5 and 7 PM tomorrow, serving spaghetti with various sauces, beverages, salad, bread, and desserts. The proceeds from the suggested $7 donation will benefit Mashpee’s “Heroes in Transition.”

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