As I opened my eyes on Sunday morning, I could feel the electricity in the air. In fact, from my new place on Nye Road, I could hear it. The sound of amplified music and pre-race announcements wafted in through my open bedroom window just after sunrise and an exciting and wonderful Falmouth event began. A cool breeze and a bit of overcast would make for a great race - and a great day.
There are always many wonderful stories each Road Race Sunday. Thousands of individual feats of personal accomplishment, millions raised for dozens of charities, and a world-class athletic event all blend together for a wonderful mosaic of Falmouth's summertime. I took a perch atop a granite sidewalk curb at the corner of Scranton Ave. and Queen Street just short of the five mile mark and soaked it all in. A perky and entertaining band played upbeat music throughout the race, energizing both runners and spectators as they began the homestretch. As the talented duo sang, "you make my dreams come true," my first glimpse of a Falmouth runner, The Recreation Committee's own Ken Gartner, sped by. My old friend and classmate Chris Simpson was not far behind. Sandee Parkinson was the first Falmouth female to appear.
Many more Falmouthites crossed my line of sight, some with ease and some with looks of steely determination as they scaled their own personal mountains. A couple that were not running but deserve recognition were manning one of the medical tents right across from my vantage point. Dr. Paul Bouche was joined by Joe Farland (he'll always be Mr. Farland to me), my pal Dan DiNardo, and old Troop 42 scout-mate George Baker. They thankfully didn't have many customers, and were able to enjoy the race as much as I did.
No race would be the thrill that it is without catching a glimpse of the father /son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt. They are an inspiration - both of them. For many the race is a family affair, with a little friendly competition. The McGill family trophy goes this year to UMASS' Danny, although Falmouth High athletic standout Andrew was not far behind. I didn't see dad Jay or mom Margie this year, but will give them kudos anyway. When it comes to FHS standouts, Aoife Callinan is among them and sped by with the grace of a gazelle. Speaking of gazelles, I saw many runners, some fleet of foot, some a bit more plodding, with entertaining t-shirts that heralded their team of "gazelles and geezers." I don't' think I'd fit into either category. When it comes to teams, one of the most wonderful components of this slice of Falmouth's culture is the many groups that run together for charity. I caught a glimpse of many, including organized groups benefitting and donning shirts for their charities, from Easter Seals to Children's' Hospital to the Melanoma Foundation. What an inspiration. Running for the Falmouth Housing Trust, Trish Cullinane set a great example as well.
As I recovered from a belly laugh after witnessing a scantily-clad Captain America scoot by, I waved with pride as lifelong friend Barbara Clarkson ran her first, followed soon thereafter by another Clarkson race pioneer, Trina. Cousin Krista was also in the mix.
Appliance guru Bob Crane looked comfortably in stride, as did not-yet-aging friends Dan Sherwood and Mel Souque. Christina Wilson Bourgoin enjoyed the Sunday afternoon jaunt along the ocean, and Main Street's own candyman, Scott Ghelfi, looked content as well. I saw our local version of Tim Wakefield, barrister Paul Glynn, and had a flashback to 1986 when Mark Hayward jogged by with his son and a wide smile. A couple of Cindys, named Cook and Roderick, did their community proud, as did newly minted entrepreneur Kevin Mikolazyk, and chef turned guru Kristoph.
Harbormaster's veteran and education standout Bob Griffin said hello as things wound down and the crowds began to dissipate, and with them, another phenomenal race with albums full of pictures, and hearts and minds full of memories.
This column is reprinted from the Falmouth Enteprise.