Falmouth Road Race 2011

 Hot Dog Security Has its Perks

I've ridden the press truck, I've watched from the curb and handed out water, I've even run the Falmouth Road Race myself (more than a few years ago).  Last Sunday, for the 39th version of this local athletic and community tradition, I had the opportunity to engage in an entirely new race activity - hot dog security.  Yes, indeed,  I was part of an elite group of Falmouthites chosen to usher runners and volunteers into the real chutes, the ones with hot dogs, chips, and yogurt pops, after they finished the race and emerged from the finish line chutes.  When I got the call from Falmouth High School Field Hockey coach and good friend Janey Norton with the request to help our kids and the rest of the perennial contenders of the field hockey team and volunteer at the finish line, I welcomed the opportunity to hone my hot dog security skills.

Before assuming my post I had the chance to stop by the VIP tent and thank Police Chief Anthony Riello for acting as a gracious host for a first-time race observer and my new friend, House Speaker Bob DeLeo.  Congrats to Mr. Speaker's son Robert, who finished an amazing 179th overall.  Finishing on top is clearly a family tradition. 

After my brief sojourn into the VIP tent, I assumed my perch on the ball field with team leader Leslie Sullivan, who was a far better thwarter of hot dog interlopers than I.  At my post,   I got the chance to interact with many Falmouthites as they savored their road race completion and personal victory, and many others whose volunteerism spans decades.  Local athletic icons Greg Gilbert and Billy Andrade donned their volunteer shirts, along with a smiling Kevin Thompson, FHS Band Parent stalwart Jan Souweine, and 55 student volunteers from the FHS Band.  As always, the road race brings out the best in this community.

As the first wave of runners came through, I got the chance to share a hello and a smile with the winner of the McGill family sweepstakes, Falmouth High hoopster Andrew, with brother Danny not far behind.  Local transportation guru Tom Cahir was in that first group, along with a radiant Abby Brenc and brothers Gary and Glen Pokraka.  Speaking of families, I had to check the official results to see who snagged bragging rights in the Parkinson household, as Dr. Greg chased the prize over the gazelle-like Sandee.  Mrs. P continues to distinguish herself as a world-class runner within our borders, finishing in the top 100 women and an amazing 11th in her division.  Keep training, Doc.

Local real estate expert Paul Hartel offered a satisfied grin and cheerful appraisal of his race, as did FHS social studies standout John Long.  Former Mashpee man-in-blue and current Duxbury top cop Matt Clancy had a great race, as did appliance magnate Bob CraneTom Pappas was beaming after finishing his 15th Falmouth, while Green Ponder John Turner had a respectable finish and stopped by to say hello.  Budding septuagenarian Peter Tancredi engineered a fine finish and the news on scribe Jeff Burt was all good. 

Being in hot dog security has its perks.  I got to offer congrats and a fist-tap to former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, who was leading a team of runners raising money for stroke research, part of an amazing bevy of runners from nearly 100 non-profits who raised nearly two million dollars for charity.  That's more amazing than hot dog security will ever be.

Peter Cook trumpeted a sigh of relief as he crossed the finish line, and it was a score for another field hockey instructor, Courtney Lima, whose mom took the time to aid our security crew.  The pride of Smitty's Ice Cream, Dennis Doherty, finished in the top 1,000, making Smitty and his scooping colleagues proud. 

Tradition is as important to the Falmouth Road Race as the runners themselves.  As I visited with another local racing standout Courtney Bird, who shared with me that wife Carolyn finished her 35th trip across the finish line, continuing a fine tradition.

And speaking of traditions, no recap of this year's race would be complete without offering thanks and gratitude for the Carroll and Sherman dynamic duos, who handled details large and small for nearly four decades, and put this race on the map - around town and around the globe.  Not hearing Kathy Sherman's voice at the finish line and seeing Rich in the pace car gave me a pang of melancholy in an otherwise stellar day.  Thanks guys, for your unselfish and tireless efforts.  You enriched our lives and our community.

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