Cape Cod Marathon Expo Features Inspirational Speakers

October 25, 26 and 27th in Falmouth
(Photo by Stacey Hedman)

FALMOUTH – The Cape Cod Marathon, a long-running tradition on the New England road racing calendar, steps off at the end of October with more than 4,000 runners and upward of 10,000 spectators expected for the 42nd annual event.

The Falmouth-based races, with a theme of “Run Where You Love and Love Where You Run,” include a half-marathon on Saturday morning, Oct. 26; and on Sunday, Oct. 27, a full marathon run simultaneously with a five-person marathon relay. Also on Sunday is a Kids’ Fun Run.

The Runners’ Expo kicks off the weekend on Friday, Oct. 25 from 3-7 p.m. at the Gus Canty Recreation Center on East Main Street. The expo will also be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Among the highlights of the expo on Saturday will be a presentation by Boston Marathon survivor and para-athlete Adrianne Haslet, who will speak at 1 p.m. on surviving trauma and overcoming challenges. Since the 2013 terrorist attack at the marathon finish line, during which Haslet lost her left leg, she has become a renowned global keynote speaker with an inspiring and powerful message. 

“I refuse to be called a victim,” says Haslet, an internationally ranked ballroom dancer. “A victim is defined by what happened in their life. I am a survivor, defined by how I live my life.” 

Also speaking on Saturday’s schedule is Caroline Tocci at noon on empowerment for women runners. Tocci helped create the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation in honor of her 27-year-old cousin who was killed in an act of violence while jogging near her family home in central Massachusetts. A man was charged with Marcotte’s murder.

“Adrianne Haslet and Caroline Tocci have compelling stories to share and I’m sure they’ll engage the runners and the community,” said Runners’ Expo director Jill Polvinen. “We’ve worked hard to expand the program and we’re looking forward to an interesting and fun weekend.”

The Haslet and Tocci presentations are open to the public, along with the expo and Saturday’s other speakers, who included:

David Jenness at 10:15 a.m. on his motivation for running. He overcame physical and emotional challenges to run the unique Chowdah Challenge at the 2018 Cape Cod Marathon, completing both the 13.1-mile-marathon on Saturday and the full 26.2-mile marathon on Sunday. He also finished the epic 2018 Boston Marathon in horrendous weather conditions. Jenness is planning to enter the Chowdah Challenge again this year and is scheduled to speaking at the expo soon after running the opening half-marathon leg on Saturday.

Danielle Nardi, yoga instructor and doctor of physical therapy, at 11 a.m. on the benefits of yoga for preventing injury.

• Also, an informational presentation on navigating the new and improved marathon route will be held at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.

The expo will also have a DJ and entertainment and will include numerous health and wellness and apparel vendors. The Falmouth Service Center will be accepting non-perishable food items at their booth to distribute to families in need and Sneakers4Funds will be accepting gently worn, used and new athletic shoes to be sent to developing countries as work shoes.

Sunday’s marathon and relay will feature a new flatter, faster and much more scenic course, showcasing Falmouth’s scenic shoreline while maintaining the iconic start/ finish line at the downtown Village Green. The new layout has been sanctioned and certified by USA Track & Field and is an official qualifier for the Boston Marathon. The marathon will also serve as the 2019 USATF-New England Grand Prix Series Marathon Championship.

The new course includes the Vineyard Sound coastline, portions of the famous Falmouth Road Race course, Falmouth Harbor and the loop around historic Nobska Lighthouse. There is also a unique three- mile stretch in the latter stages of the race away from vehicular traffic on the beautiful, paved Shining Sea Bikeway. 

The challenging hills over the second half of the old marathon course in the Sippewissett section of town have been eliminated, likely affording marathoners a more realistic opportunity to run faster times and achieve personal-best finishes. Just as importantly, the new re-routed course will be safer for runners. Busy roads and potentially dangerous intersections have been eliminated.

Along with the new course, several environmental initiatives will be implemented for race weekend. The plan is to recycle or compost 90 percent of all solid waste, with an ultimate goal of becoming a zero-waste event. Other socially conscious “earth friendly” plans include replacing plastic goodie bags for runners (and eliminating wasteful inserts) with eco-friendly reusable bags; using compostable water cups at water stations; and replacing single-use plastic water bottles with reusable bottles at the finish line.

The Cape Cod Marathon has been voted “Best Marathon in Massachusetts” by RaceRaves, based on reviews by marathon runners. The race is a past winner of New England Runner Magazine’s Road Race of the Year award and Runner’s World magazine also called Cape Cod one of the 10 most scenic marathons in America.

“The goal of the 2019 Cape Cod Marathon Weekend is to provide a fantastic race experience for our runners while continuing to contribute to the pride of Falmouth and celebrate the vibrant atmosphere around town,” said race director Jack Afarian. “We want to make a positive impact on the community and all of us on the race committee are dedicated to making race weekend the best that it can be.”

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