Few races boast such spectacular views and electric energy as the Falmouth Road Race. The course, while challenging at times due to hilly and winding terrain, offers stunning panoramic views of the Atlantic, Martha’s Vineyard peeking out beyond the waves about 20 miles away. The incredible landscape and challenge of the Falmouth Road Race work together to draw thousands of runners from across the globe every year. In fact, Falmouth saw over 10,000 participants in 2022, from lifelong professional runners to running novices hoping to meet their personal fitness goals!
Ordinarily a sleepy and quaint village, Woods Hole becomes a bustling center of excitement as early as 6 am on race day. Hundreds of Cape Cod locals and volunteers surround the main street with posters and their cameras ready. Runners make their way to the starting line by Captain Kidd’s restaurant in hordes, forming a dense line that wraps around all of Woods Hole.
The anticipation is palpable as the countdown begins, runners reciting words of affirmation and getting in their last-minute stretches. Strangers give each other pep talks and high fives, building comradery and friendly competition as they near take-off.
The wheelchair edition starts first, followed by a small group of elite women and then elite men. The town falls quiet as the final seconds before the amateur runners tick by, adrenaline surging through the masses. The jolting beep of a horn shakes the jitters and sends them flying down Water Street, encouraged by the cheers of onlookers.
Talk about scenic views from start to finish! The runners have spectacular views from the beginning, passing Cape Cod landmarks like Nobska Lighthouse and Little Harbor. Looming oak trees and pastel hydrangeas are in full bloom, forming a natural border between the gravel course and the viewers. As runners conquer the first major hill, the Atlantic Ocean comes into view, sparkling under the beating summer sun.
While certainly a breathtaking course, the true beauty of the race is reflected in each runner’s motivation to run. It’s a unifying event, bringing together thousands of strangers committed to raising money and awareness for the charities they select. In 2022, 10 of these strangers came together in support of May Institute, raising well over $10,000 in the weeks leading up to the race. Some of these individuals had a personal connection to May, while others were moved to run out of a deep desire to help those with special needs.
Regardless of their personal ties to May, and without ever having met before, these runners had two things in common from the beginning. Firstly, they all enjoy running and appreciate any opportunity to conquer a scenic course like Falmouth. Secondly, they are all committed to making a positive impact in the lives of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. If May’s mission also resonates with you, consider joining our roster in 2023! To see all the photos visit our Flickr album.