New Balance Falmouth Revisited--Rod Dixon Reminisces About his 1980 Falmouth Win

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RunBlogRun opines: Rod Dixon, along with John Walker, Dick Quax, and Lorraine Moller, were among the second generation of athletes showing the promise the Lydiard system. Each athlete found a way to personalize their training regimens and they were all successful, taking Olympic medals home, the highest medals available in the sport (remember World Champs did not begin until 1983).

image1.JPGBobby Hodge, Rod Dixon battling at NB Falmouth (circa 1980), photo by Charlie Rodgers (yes, that Charlie Rodgers)

In this fine piece, Jeff Benjamin, one of our stalwarts, relates the story of Rod Dixon, one of my favorite athletes, and one of the most charming and patient with fans and road race stalkers. I was always fascinated with Rod's training programs, and also by the work of Dick Quax.

Jeff Benjamin is covering the New Balance Falmouth Road Race this weekend, and will be providing us coverage of the NB Falmouth Mile, pressers, his running of the race and a race story, so he will be busy.

This is one of three pieces by elite athletes on reminisces of the fabled NB Falmouth Road Race. We hope that you enjoy this coverage of this iconic New England Road Race.

NB Falmouth Revisited--Rod Dixon Reminisces About his 1980 Falmouth Win
In 1980, Rod Dixon was on a mission. Spurred on by the Moscow Olympic boycott, the 1972 1,500m Bronze Medalist was starting to experiment with the longer distances and would also developed into a world ranked 5000 runner as well.
Dixon would start to make his mark in American Road Racing that year, culminating with his race over the 7.01 mile Falmouth Road Race in Cape Cod.
Dixon's victory (32:20.4) at the 1980 Falmouth Road Race, against the likes of Herb Lindsay, Bob Hodge, Greg Meyer and others brought him to within tenths of a second of Craig Virgin's course record (32:19) set the year before.
It was the beginning of a massively successful Road Racing career, which culminated in Dixon's dramatic, come-from-behind victory at the 1983 NYC Marathon.
With this year's New Balance Falmouth Edition taking place in the next week, Dixon, whose KIDS Marathon Program has encouraged children throughout the world to adapt the running lifestyle, reminisced about his victory 37 years ago, along the Cape Cod coast.

"1980 was the year of the Boycott Olympics and New Zealand joined in.
The disappointment for athletes was enormous, for some, this was their only Olympic Games.

From that disappointment, I started my "Road Racing Life"and soon figured it all out and adapted my training and everything I knew from Cross Country and Track.

I had met Bill Rodgers on the European Circuit in 1978 and was fascinated with USA Road Racing and especially Boston Marathon participation. So, as I decided the Road Races for 1980 that I would compete in, it was suggested to me The Falmouth Road Race is # 1 - If You win this you get a reputation.

I arrived for the Race Weekend, joined in with the Press Conference, Q and A, met runners, race officials, sponsors, had a beer at the quarter deck and was introduced to Tommy Leonard, it was suggested I call him King Tommy.

It was Fantastic!

I stayed at a holiday cabin and slept on the floor but I was ready. Nothing was going to stop me running my best race. This was going to be my Olympic Race !!

It was an unbelievable start area, with all the greats of road racing and marathons. The energy and anticipation was amazing.

I raced as I would any Cross Country or Track Race - go with the leaders, stay in touch and watch and wait, get into a rhythm, feel the pace, stay out of trouble, watch the road surface and watch the lead runners. It was all very instinctive, based on years of learning on the European Track circuit.

The first mile was comfortable, so was the second, third, fourth, and fifth. At that point, we are down to 5 runners, and I thought "I feel great"! I was watching and ready for anything and then I knew it was time to GO!

When I did, it was beautiful. I was flowing and bringing everything I knew to the "table". I just got faster and my surge up and over the last hill was powerful and the crowds were going wild! Then it was "show time" for the Finish Line was in sight, unbelievable!!

"Oh What a Feeling"!!

My win at Falmouth in 1980 put the disappointment of the Olympic Games Boycott behind me. I had arrived and I knew this Road Racing was perfect for Rod Dixon.

I was on another life journey"


-Rod Dixon

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