We asked Jeff Benjamin to provide a daily diary of his goings on during the weekend of the 2017 New Balance Falmouth Road Race. Here is day one!
Without a doubt, Main Street in Falmouth has changed with the times. Like many Main Streets in the USA, shops, stores, restaurants and bars have been part of the local landscape, with modernity mixing in with the character of the past. So far, as the years have gone on, The Quarterdeck Bar & Restaurant has still thrived, no doubt due to the presence and legacy of Falmouth Race founder, Tommy Leonard. When this writer arrived there Thursday night, Tommy was not around, as he’s no doubt saving up his energies for the festivities which will move into full blast by the weekend!
The indefatigable bartender, who brought his love of road running to Falmouth and arguably to the country, just celebrated his 84th birthday, living his life as the larger than life bartender whose passion led to the “Boom”. With Leonard leading the way, the Quarterdeck is the Central Command Center of sorts and, a state of mind. Olympic Legend Frank Shorter visited yesterday, and running legends Bill Rodgers, Steve Jones and others will come by during the next few days, and it is all to pay respects and homage to Leonard. The Quarterdeck is also replete with race mementoes (including little flags flown, acknowledging the nationalities of Falmouth race participants) as well as a portrait of the Leonard himself. And while he has not financially benefitted from his creation, Leonard, in an interview 10 years ago, summed up how he has accumulated “wealth” in his life–
“This whole thing — the race, the town of Falmouth, the runners, the volunteers, everyone — it all has a seductive hold on me….I feel like Peter Pan. I’m not a rich man, but you can’t buy the friends I have and the relationships I’ve gained from this. I live to make people smile, that’s my thing. If I can give you that, then it makes life worth living.”
Perhaps that’s why he’s been around this long!