Where Your Dreams Become Reality
2009 Falmouth Road Race Contenders
By Chris Lotsbom, for LetsRun.com
The 2009 CIGNA Falmouth Road Race will be run this Sunday, August 9, for the 37th consecutive year. The Falmouth race organizers have again brought an A-list field to the start line in Woods Hole, despite the absence of returning champions Tadese Tola and Edith Masai.
Falmouth Road Race Men's Contenders
The top returning runner also happens to be the top returning American. Meb Keflezighi, two-time runner-up on the ~7-mile Falmouth course, is coming off a US Championship win in the Quad City Bix 7 Road Race, also a 7-mile run in Davenport, Iowa. Returning from serious injury in 2007, Keflezighi looks to continue his successful 2009 campaign and break his second-place streak at Falmouth with a win on Sunday.
Kenya’s Edward Muge will also be in the front pack. Coming off a win in last week’s Beach-to Beacon Road Race in Maine, Muge seems to be peaking at the right time after recovering from an injured foot. His winning time in Maine was a stellar 28:04.5 for 10,000m.
One of the biggest names set to compete will be Tekeste Kebede, the Ethiopian sensation who finished fourth in the Boston Marathon this past April. The 27-year-old from Addis Ababa ran 2:09:49 in April, only 9 seconds behind third place (Ryan Hall). Kebede also ran Beach-to-Beacon, finishing fifth.
Muge and Kebede won’t be the only East Africans in the field, in fact they'll be part of a significant pack. Joining them will be ten Kenyans, as well as four Ethiopians.
Some of the big names lining up will be Samuel Ndereba, Boaz Cheboiywo (2nd at Beach-to-Beacon), former Falmouth champ Gilbert Okari (4th B2B), and two Limos - Felix and Richard. And how can you forget the Masters champ in the Boston Marathon James Koskei? (2:14:52, 11th)
Aside from the great runners from Ethiopia and Kenya, South Africa's great New York City Marathon Champion Hendrick Ramaala will also lace 'em up in Falmouth.
The home fans will have several Americans to cheer on. Joining Meb for the USA will be James Carney (6th last year) and USA World Cross Country team member Ed Moran. Oregon Track Club miler Will Leer will step away from the track and run on the roads, making his Falmouth debut, along with steepler Brian Olinger.
As usual, running legends Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter will also run the race.
With such a diverse and talented field, running fans should be buzzing in anticipation of this historic road race famous for its fast times and beautiful scenery.
Falmouth Road Race Women’s Contenders
With reigning champion Edith Masai unable to return to Falmouth due to Visa issues, the 2009 contest is up for grabs for a new champion.
Keep your eyes on Kimbia Athletics’ Edna Kiplagat who has won the BAA Half Marathon, Bay to Breakers, and the Lilac Bloomsday run in recent years.
From Ethiopia comes Aheza Kiros who has run 31:06 over 10K and just finished fourth in 32:30 at Beach to Beacon.
Don’t be surprised if you find an American or two near the top of the podium. Both Renee Metivier Baillie and Rebecca Donaghue are coming off good races at the US Nationals, and have both set personal bests this year in the 5K. Donaghue finished fifth - and top American - at Beach to Beacon.
Another American, former South African national and one of the world's best masters runners Colleen De Reuck, is looking to continue a successful 2009, as she has won the Masters division at the Boston Marathon and finished third at the Aramco Houston Half.
Finally, two lesser-known Americans - Sally Meyerhof and Kelly Jaske - could play a factor in the results. Jaske, coached by Brad Hudson, was second in the Houston Half and is a relative newcomer who could definitely open up some eyes. Meyerhoff, sixth last week at B2B, looks to follow it up with a second solid race in two weeks.
Sunday should be an exciting competition as the race could come down to the final stretch heading into Falmouth Heights.