The Cape Cod Marathon and Half Marathon will be run this weekend, with a new course for the marathon that will be less disruptive to traffic.
The weekend events begin with the Cape Cod Marathon Expo at the Gus Canty Community Center Friday, October 25. The half marathon begins Saturday, October 26, at 7:30 AM. The full marathon starts at 8:30 AM on Sunday, October 27.
The 26.2-mile marathon course, which starts and ends at the Falmouth Village Green, is very different from previous years. It will take runners along a more scenic route that includes Surf Drive and Menauhant Road. The new route is entirely south of Route 28.
“The old marathon course was stale,” Cape Cod Marathon director Jack Afarian said. “I’m very connected to the marathon community, and a lot of runners didn’t want to run the Cape Cod Marathon because it was on busy roads. It went though five busy intersections and was very hilly. We eliminated all those busy intersections, which makes it a lot safer for runners and cars.”
In prior years runners faced challenges when running along Route 28, Thomas B. Lander Road and near the Chapoquoit Grill in West Falmouth.
“We eliminated most of the old course,” Mr. Afarian said. “It is a lot better for traffic in Falmouth and a lot safer for runners.”
The new route also eliminates the need for shuttle buses. While relay teams will still utilize team cars, Mr. Afarian said, they can do so without driving on the marathon route.
“The relay team cars do not have to be on the race course at all,” he said. “We have given them driving instructions to get from one exchange station to another without being on the course.”
The drivers are reminded not to use their GPS, as they might be directed to drive along the race route.
“At our runners expo, we will have a relay team 101 course to explain how they can get from one relay exchange to another,” Mr. Afarian said.
While there are still four relay exchanges along the course, the new layout allows runners to use one of the stations twice. They were also able to reduce the number of water stations from 12 to eight. However, the looping design of the course means several of these stops can be used twice, meaning runners will have access to 14 water stations.
A portion of the race utilizes the Shining Sea Bikeway, though two portions of the bike path were rendered unusable by last week’s storm. Mr. Afarian said the Falmouth Department of Public Works installed a new path that runs alongside the bikeway that will be used during the race.
“The path that the DPW created abuts right up against the original bike path,” he said, thanking the DPW and the conservation commission for their efforts.
Because it is a new marathon route, first-place winners will receive a $500 bonus for setting a course record. They will have a lot of competition: more than 1,200 runners have signed up for the Cape Cod Marathon. Approximately 1,800 have signed up for Saturday’s half marathon.
“It is the most we’ve ever had for the half marathon,” Mr. Afarian said. “For the marathon, we are up 80 percent for our registrations. A lot of marathons our size are struggling to maintain their numbers, but there has been a lot of buzz about the Cape Cod Marathon.”
In addition to the runners, Mr. Afarian said, there will be thousands of spectators. In past years, more than 10,000 have shown up to watch the race. For this year’s route, he recommends the top of Falmouth Harbor, Acapesket Road near Green Pond Bridge and the relay exchange zone by Kenyon’s Market for watching the race.
Similar to the relay team cars, spectators are asked not to drive on the race course.
Marathon staff will work to manage parking over the weekend.
“We have volunteers to handle all the parking,” Mr. Afarian said. “There are a lot of places. A lot of the parking will be at the Lawrence School.”
Parking will also be available in other municipal lots and on the street. Falmouth Police warn that illegally parked vehicles will be towed. An additional parking regulation will be in place Sunday; motorists will not be allowed to park on Main Street between the Village Green and Walker Street between 4 AM and 4 PM on Sunday, October 27.
Marathon staff have also met with the Falmouth Police Department regarding police details and where officers will be located along the race route. Falmouth Police Lieutenant Douglas M. DeCosta said more than 15 officers have been assigned to the half marathon. More than 20 officers will be on hand Sunday for the full marathon.
“Unlike the Falmouth Road Race, the majority of the race route is not closed, therefore we ask motorists traveling the route during either the half marathon or the marathon to use caution as they approach runners along the route,” Lt. DeCosta said.
The area by the Falmouth Village Green, including Main Street and Hewins Street, will be closed Sunday. Lt. DeCosta estimated it will be closed between 7 AM and 2:30 PM.
“The Village Green is the start and finish of the race, therefore the area will experience traffic delays and a road closure,” he said.
If the need arises, Central Avenue near Kenyon’s Market may be closed Sunday between 9 and 11 AM.
“Kenyon’s Market is a turnaround location for runners, therefore Central Avenue, closest to East Falmouth Highway, may experience traffic delays or a temporary road closure,” Lt. DeCosta said.
Falmouth Police advise that Menauhant Road will be closed during the half marathon. Menauhant Road, between Davisville Road and Central Avenue, will be closed from 7:30 to 10 AM. Lt. DeCosta said access for residents will be permitted, whenever possible. Town Hall Square and Chancery Lane, which serve as the start and finish line for the half marathon, will also be closed during the race.
Falmouth Police remind the public that the entire Cape Cod Marathon route is a “No Drone Zone.”
“The public is being advised not to operate any type of drone, unmanned aerial vehicles, including remotely controlled model aircraft, over or near the course, or anywhere within sight of runners or spectators,” Lt. DeCosta said.
The Cape Cod Marathon is also working to reduce its environmental impact.
“We’ve turned into one of the greenest races around with the environmental initiatives we’ve initiated,” Mr. Afarian said.
These initiatives include using compostable cups at the water stations, using compostable soup bowls and spoons at the finish line, including compost, recycling and trash bins at the start and finish line, providing guests with eco-friendly bags at the expo and presenting runners with a Cape Cod Marathon-branded reusable water bottle at the finish line.
“We’ve eliminated all single-use plastic water bottles,” he said.
Compostable materials will be collected by Compost With Me of North Falmouth after the race. Mr. Afarian said marathon staff will work hard on its cleanup efforts following the race.
“For both races, once the race is over, we will clean up, and you’ll never knew we were there,” he said.
The marathon also includes the second annual Cape Cod Marathon Kids Fun Run on Sunday at 9 AM. Approximately 200 children ages 2 to 12 will race around a one-third-mile course at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.
“They are not on the roads at all,” Mr. Afarian said. “It’s totally on grass, so it is safe for the kids to run on.”
Children who finish the race will receive a Cape Cod Marathon t-shirt and medal.
“I think it is going to go well,” Mr. Afarian said. “It is going to be our best one yet.”