“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
So said legendary singer and songwriter Roger Miller. This renowned performer of “King of The Road” was right. When stormy weather hits, in the form of real raindrops or in the form of adversity in our lives, some simply stand in the dreary circumstances, while others move through the storm and come out of the tempest to more pleasant surroundings. Last Sunday, nearly 13,000 people decided to live the words of Roger Miller and walk – and run – through the rain to become kings and queens of a 7.1 mile stretch of Falmouth roads known as the Falmouth Road Race.
For the 40th time, our community was at the epicenter of human achievement, human endurance, and athletic performance. As I walked with my daughter Jenna and one of the two lovely ladies in my life named Donna from my place on Nye Road toward our designated location at the finish line to assist the Falmouth Field Hockey Team in their volunteer efforts, the raindrops increased in intensity. With Roger Miller’s motivating words in mind, though, we trudged on, that is, until Falmouth Police Patrolman Jimmy Rogers kindly offered to take us to our appointed position in the comfort of the back of his cruiser. Now that’s community policing! Thanks to Jim for a brief respite from the soaking journey to the Heights and for a bit of kindness that brightened the morning.
Shortly after our arrival at the finish line, where we were greeted and given our assignments by stalwart volunteer and legendary Field Hockey Coach and newly minted pentagenarian Janey Norton, we began to arrange the commemorative 40th anniversary medals on a series of tables to hand out to the runners. With the tireless leadership and support of Janey and her ever-supportive wife Leslie, and with the same motivation and precision that has characterized their perennial success at game time, the Field Hockey Team flawlessly executed the not-so-easy task of getting medals in the hands and around the necks of 13,000 runners as they crossed the finish line. We were fortunate to see and interact with many familiar Falmouthites and other friends. One of the standout members of Sheriff Jim Cummings’ professional team supporting the event, Barney Murphy, offered a pre-race hello, while his charming wife Lorraine was warming up in Woods Hole. As she crossed the finish line, still smiling from a great finish, we shared in her personal victory as I handed her a medal. That story was repeated hundreds, indeed thousands of times as Jenna, Leslie and I, along with a team of FHS Field Hockey enthusiasts, showed our gratitude and enthusiasm for thousands of individual successes. Candy Dimond and her team displayed boundless energy in this effort as well.
FHS Field Hockey Captain Julia Dalton breezed across the finish line like a gazelle and was beaming as her teammates congratulated her with a well-deserved medal. As local political legend Tom Cahir strode across the finish line for the 32nd time, his omnipresent smile lit up a still cloudy day. By the time runners began to finish, so had the storm, but the humidity still made for a difficult trek for some. Kudos to the medical volunteers who leapt into action many times across from our perch to come to the aid of many.
FHS history teacher John Long taught a lesson in fitness, making great time in his Falmouth trek, while fellow educator Mark Doucette finished not-too-far behind with his trademark wide smile. Proudly representing The Department of Corrections, native Falmouthite Ray Gonsalves gave a wave and a salutation as he received his medal. Work on the Vineyard and happy new circumstances were evident on the face of an elated Bob Whritenour as he grabbed his post-race bauble, and new Hanover friend Chris Katilus crossed the finish line with nary a bead of sweat but a huge smile. Bridgewater pal and fellow BC alum Patrick Carney, Jr. flew by after his individual triumph, and sustained applause and yelps of approval could be heard all around when long-time runner Carolyn Bird completed her run.
The day was complete when later in the day, while grabbing the week’s provisions at Stop & Shop, Donna and I ran into Hanoverian Jolie O’Mara shared stories of her husband Steve and son Dan, who earlier in the day completed the race and donned their medals. Having taken part in spreading thousands of smiles, it was another great Falmouth race, on another great Falmouth day. We walked, ran, and gave out medals in the rain and loved it.