Charlie Marquardt, a six-time National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III All- American from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, will return to Falmouth on June 16 to race in the ninth annual Falmouth Flag Day 5K.
Marquardt won the first Flag Day race in 2011 when he was a high school student while visiting Cape Cod from his family’s home in Pasadena, California.
Marquardt went on to a stellar career in college, including 13 Centennial Conference championships in events ranging from 800- to 5000- meters and earning All-American honors six times in various events over his college career.
One of Marquardt’s primary goals as a runner was to break the elusive four-minute barrier in the mile, and he accomplished that feat with a 3:55.97 at the 2018 Sir Walter Miler race in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was one of 13 Americans to break four minutes in the same race, an American record.
He foreshadowed that effort a few weeks earlier with a 4:00.38 mile at the Adrian Martinez Classic in Concord. He was on pace to break 4 minutes when he lost his footing in the final meters and somersaulted onto the surface of the track while he broke the tape in first place.
“The clock ticked closer and closer, and I was having a hard time driving my arms and legs,” he said. “I started to lean over those last steps and one of my legs just didn’t function right.”
Marquardt’s father, Clay Marquardt, emailed race director Rich Sherman last month to announce that his son would be returning to Falmouth, saying “his college training, work schedule and summer conflicts have made it impossible to return to this memorable and hospitable event, but we are a ‘go’ this year and I have signed Charlie up.”
His personal best of 14:07 in the 5000-meters augers a new course record for the Flag Day race, which was set in 2018 by Rob DeLeo of Brookline in 16:10. DeLeo will not be racing this year, but defending champion Lucas Roy, of Upton, will be back to chase Marquardt.
“I am still getting back into racing shape,” he said, “but I think I have a good shot at breaking 15 minutes.”
In the women’s race, defending champion Julianna Coughlin, of Falmouth, will attempt to better her 2018 time of 19:53, and 2016 champ Anne Preisig, of Falmouth, will also compete. Her winning time of 19:47 in 2016 set a master’s record and was one of the fastest women’s times since the race was founded in 2011 by former Falmouth Road Race co-directors Kathy and Rich Sherman and race staffer Jo-Ann Leaf. The women’s record of 18:26.2 was set in 2013 by Ella Martin of Woods Hole.
Although the front runners will be racing at an impressive pace, walkers and joggers are welcome to sign up for the event.
Proceeds go to Falmouth Education Foundation and Falmouth Public Schools. Last year’s event raised more than $10,000. The walk/run website is www.falmouthflagday5k.org, where there is a link to the online registration site. Numerous age-group and open prizes will be awarded, in addition to a Red Sox tickets give-away, medals for 17-and under, and T-shirts for the first 250 to register. The 10 a.m. start will be preceded by children’s sprints, age 9-and-under, on the Falmouth Heights field.