Falmouth Visitor’s Guide to the New Balance Falmouth Road Race

The 47th Annual New Balance Falmouth Road Race kicks off on Sunday, August 18 at 9 am, with traffic restrictions beginning at 5 am. What started out as a bar-to-bar fun run from Woods Hole to Falmouth Heights in 1973, boasting fewer than 100, has become a world-renowned event, attracting about 13,000 runners from all over the globe. The Falmouth Road Race also brings with it about 100,000 spectators to town, so don’t get lost in the shuffle trying to enjoy your race weekend. Let Falmouth Visitor lead the way…

Race History: Tommy's Dream

The Falmouth Road Race was the brain child of the late, great Tommy Leonard, who was glued to the TV while tending bar at the Brothers Four in Falmouth Heights when Frank Shorter made history in the 1972 Olympics. He was determined to create an event that would attract Shorter to compete in Falmouth, and the late Bill Crowley of the Captain Kidd helped him achieve that goal, hence the 7-mile course from Woods Hole to the Heights. Sadly, Tommy passed away last winter, and although the Brothers Four is now just a memory, in 2012, the Captain Kidd starting line was dedicated in his honor to commemorate Tommy’s vision and passion. You can raise a glass to this beloved Falmouth icon at the Kidd, or a few miles up the road in Falmouth Village at The Quarterdeck, where he worked after the Brothers Four, before becoming a beloved patron. You can also celebrate Tommy’s inimitable legacy by participating in the Falmouth Walk on Saturday morning, which he co-founded with his dear friend, Eddie Doyle. The longtime summer tradition benefits local Famouth charities, a nod to Tommy’s signature benevolence.

Race Weekend: Local Traditions

Before the gun goes off on Water Street in Woods Hole on Sunday, make sure you take in all the festive events that coincide with race weekend, which unofficially begins with the Road Race Expo on Thursday, August 15 from 4 to 8 pm at Falmouth High School. Whether you’re running or cheering, visit Falmouth Road Race  and Falmouth Police Department for updated information. Still need a place to stay? Get a front row seat at Woods Hole Inn on Water Street. Seeking something family-friendly? Check out Sands of Time or Treehouse Lodge on Woods Hole Road. Looking to carb up before the race? Portugal-meets-Italy with a Friday night Pasta Supper at the Navigator of Falmouth, 55 Ashumet Rd in East Falmouth, beginning at 5:30 pm on August 16. Get your starch on and enjoy DJ music and a cash bar, all while benefiting the club scholarship fund. For tickets, call Eva at 508-548-3806 or Maria at 978-902-0343. For a true dose of Portuguese culture, be sure to check out Souzapalooza, a charity music festival hosted by On the Rocks and other local musicians in support of Peter Jacobsen of Mashpee. The all-day event is at Fresh Pond Holy Ghost Society, 408 Carriage Shop Rd. in East Falmouth, on Saturday from 4 to 11 pm. This family-friendly event features spectacular music, authentic Portuguese fare, beer and wine, raffles and more! 

At the Finish: The Heights

Falmouth Heights is the place to be before, during, and after the Falmouth Road Race. New to the neighborhood this year is the Black Dog Heights Cafe, hosting a Barkin BBQ Party during the race on Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm. And right at the finish line, overlooking Falmouth Heights Beach, the British Beer Company & Seaside Inn are throwing a Post-Race Backyard Bash from 11 to 6 that is sure to be the perfect way to cool down and kick back. 

Back at the Start: Woods Hole

Contrary to popular belief, Woods Hole isn’t too crowded on Road Race Sunday. In fact, it’s just the opposite. While some businesses are closed during the start, by mid-morning, the volunteer clean-up crew has come and gone, and it’s business as usual. You can usually score a prime parking spot, and there’s plenty of free live music in the afternoon and evening. John Beninghof closes out Road Race Weekend at 3 pm at Quicks Hole Taqueria (Brother’s Rye kicks things off on Thursday night), and Pie in the Sky Bakery & Cafe also features outdoor music. Check their Facebook page for this weekend’s line-up. To all you runners looking for some musical motivation, on Friday night there’s Puffy Elvis and Paradise Rock Band up the street from Woods Hole Road at Grumpy’s Pub on Locust Street, and Crooked Coast at the Landfall right in Woods Hole Village. We promise you won’t be disappointed, no matter where you go. And on Sunday morning, good luck and stay hydrated. We’ll be cheering for you!

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