Frank Shorter reminisces about NB Falmouth


RunBlogRun comments: Way back in 1977, the late John Jerome wrote a feature on Frank Shorter in Mariah magazine, which later became Outside magazine. In the story on Frank, Jerome noted that "by putting 26 miles at five minute per mile pace together, Frank Shorter invented running". It is the single most quoted line, by me, from any writer, but it gives the reader a sense of the importance of Frank Shorter in the sport.

Rodgers-Samuelson-Shorter-Falmouth16.jpgBill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Frank Shorter, NB Falmouth, photo by

Here's is Frank Shorters thoughts on his many years racing New Balance Falmouth. This is the third of a series of articles that Jeff Benjamin is writing about the iconic race, coming up this Sunday, August 20!

The runner who ignited the "boom" also ignited Tommy Leonard dreams. Frank Shorter's 1972 Olympic Gold medal marathon performance in Munich would go on to encourage many to take up running. Shorter's win in Munich would also spur Tommy Leonard, the garrulous local Boston/Cape Cod bartender and running fanatic, to create the Falmouth Road Race.
Leonard also tried his darnedest to get the running icon to run the race in the first 2 years. Finally, in 1975, Shorter agreed to come down, and the result was an instant explosion in race entrants along with a Beatlemania atmosphere which is still present in the race to this day.
Shorter would go on to win the 1975 & 1976 races, taking on Bill Rodgers and many of America's top runners.
Here are Shorter's reminisces, in which he recounts his 2 victories as well as the effect his 1976 Olympic Marathon Silver would have upon him, as he lost to East German Waldemar Cierpinski, who would later be exposed as one of the many East German athletes supported by his country's doping program--
"In August of 1975, I was on my way back to Europe from Colorado to run 3k, 5k and 10 k's on the European track circuit. Earlier that Spring Tommy Leonard had invited me to stop over in Falmouth to run in the third edition of a road race against Bill Rodgers and Marty Liquori. Though I had run 7 marathons at that point, I had never run a road race at a shorter distance. Bill had both finished 3d in the World X-Country championships and won the Boston Marathon earlier that year so I wanted to see how well I could do running against him.
I liked the fact that the race course was an odd distance, of around 7 mile,s because it started in front of one bar, The Captain Kidd, in Woods Hole, and finished near another bar, The Brothers Four, in Falmouth Heights. Right from the gun, going up a gradual 600 yd hill it was just me and Bill running together. We ran side by side through the three mile mark and I decided to surge down a short slope right before we emerged from some woods onto the beachfront road. I got a short lead that I held all the way to the end. I only won by a few seconds. It turns out I was very fit because I set my PR for 10,000m on the track (27:45.9) a few days later in London!
The '76 race was only a few days after the July 31 finish of the Olympic Marathon in Montreal. I was still in shock from all that had happened there, having finishing behind a virtual unknown. I had actually run the entire race thinking he was someone else. I knew I would be recovered and also wondered if the leg problems that had severely affected Bill's Montreal race might still factor into his ability to go all out. I don't remember much about the race except that I won pretty easily and concluded Bill had not fully healed.
I love going back every year to run and stay with Jack and Wendy Carroll, members of the Falmouth Track Club. I think it's now been over 25 years in a row."
And 2017 will be year 26!!

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