Exceptionally high humidity on race day made for busy medical tents at this year’s New Balance Falmouth Road Race. From the start of the morning it was clear that the elements might be problematic. Woods Hole was blanketed in a heavy fog early in the morning and the humidity was at 100 percent at the start of the race.
There was no relief from it, either. A few raindrops fell in Woods Hole, but no storms manifested. As the morning moved closer to afternoon the temperatures rose and the clouds broke, making it even harder as heat was added to the mix.
New Balance Falmouth Road Race officials said that more than 100 runners were treated for heat-related ailments over the course of the day, most at the finish line in Falmouth Heights. Several elite runners had to make visits to the tent, including women’s champion Sharon Lokedi of Kenya.
Lokedi was treated immediately after crossing the finish in 36 minutes and 29 seconds, five seconds in front of second-place finisher Sara Hall, of Flagstaff, Arizona. She was a late arrival to the media tent following the race, but showed no ill effects. She did say that she had a hard time remembering the finish to the race and crossing the finish line.
Men’s fifth-place finisher David Bett, of Kenya, made it to the finish line and fell to the ground. He was assisted to the medical tent by a Falmouth police officer.
Eleven-year-old Silas Gartner made a request of the Road Race Committee last year through a letter. Because he’s a fan of the color hot pink, he asked that the next year’s coffee mugs be hot pink. The letter from the young man struck a chord with Jennifer Edwards, the road race’s general manager, and she set about looking into making the request a reality.
As it turns out, making the mugs that particular color was problematic. Edwards said that she queried “six or seven” vendors about using the color and was told by all that something to do with the combination of the mug style, color choice and the glazing process would have resulted in brittle mugs that were more likely to break.
Later on in the race planning process the idea of using hot pink for the volunteer T-shirts was raised as a possibility. Instead of making it the main color, it was chosen as a complementary color, with royal blue as the base. The striking combination was a hit with the volunteers. Hot pink became sort of this year’s “theme color,” according to Edwards. It was also used in the volunteer pocket guide, for the Family Fun Run’s staff T-shirts and showed up in other places as well.
“We really wanted to make it happen for Silas,” Edwards said.
Silas, who is a member of one of Falmouth’s most well-known running families, participated in his first Road Race this year. Unofficially, he was 593rd overall out of over 11,500 runners. He was fourth in the Gartner household, running a time of 51 minutes and 42 seconds.
A lot was made this year about getting to Lawrence School for bus boarding on time. The last bus was scheduled to leave at 8 AM on Sunday, August 18. Race operations manager Matt Auger said that the final bus to depart actually went out a tad later, closer to 8:15, but overall he was happy with how runners heeded the directions to be prompt in order to get to the race on time.
Auger said that the reason that the final buses departed later than scheduled was because of congestion on the roads from Falmouth to Woods Hole. “We still have too many people trying to drive down to Woods Hole themselves,” Auger said. “That clogs up the roads for us, and we all know that there’s not a lot of parking down there. We hope that in the future those people will plan ahead to take the bus down.”
It is better to have too much than not enough. Each year there are massive amounts of leftovers that the Road Race donates. The Falmouth Service Center received more than 4,000 bottles of cranberry juice and hundreds of bags of hot dogs buns in addition to other donations from the Road Race.