FALMOUTH, MA (August 8, 2019)—Stephen Sambu of Kenya and Leonard Korir of the U.S., who together staged an epic battle to the finish line in 2017, and Americans Sara Hall and Des Linden will return for the 47th running of the New Balance Falmouth Road Race, organizers announced today.
The fields for the Wheelchair Division presented by Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod and the Aetna Falmouth Elite Mile will be announced next week.
Sambu won the New Balance Falmouth Road Race every year from 2014-2017, becoming the first four-time winner of the men’s open division in race history. The runner-up in two of those victories was Korir, a 2016 Olympian at 10,000 meters who will represent the U.S. this fall at the IAAF World Championships. In 2017, Korir nearly denied Sambu his place in the history books in a fight to the finish that saw both athletes awarded the same time.
Sambu and Korir will be challenged by a tough international field that includes Thomas Ayeko of Uganda, who finished seventh in the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships; David Bett of Kenya, who won the B.A.A. 10K in June; and Silas Kipruto of Kenya, winner of the 2019 Cooper River Bridge Run. Massachusetts native Colin Bennie, who was the top American at the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4, and Scott Fauble, a top contender to make Team USA at the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in February and runner-up here last year to Canadian Ben Flanagan, should be in the hunt.
Flanagan’s season has been cut short by injury, but he will return to Falmouth to speak on a Past Champions panel at the Health & Fitness Expo, hand out gift bags at bib pickup and run with a group of local youth.
In the women’s open division, Hall – who finished second here in 2015 – comes in as the reigning USA 10K champion, and in her long career has won U.S. titles at distances ranging from the mile to the marathon. Fellow American Des Linden, a two-time OIympian and the 2018 Boston Marathon champion, will make her Falmouth competitive debut after running with the pack here last year in celebration of her Boston victory.
“It’s beautiful,” said Linden of the course after her 2018 run. “It helps you forget it’s really hard. Some really impressive things have been done on this course. It’s cool to cover it, and it would be really fun to race it.”
They will face a deep women’s field, highlighted by a trio of Kenyans: 2012 New Balance Falmouth Road Race Champion Margaret Wangari, 2018 NCAA 10,000-meter champion Sharon Lokedi and Iveen Chepkemoi, who recently finished second in the Boilermaker 15K in Utica, N.Y. Also challenging will be two athletes from Great Britain: Lily Partridge, the 2018 national marathon champion, and Tish Jones, who will compete in the marathon at the 2019 World Championships. Allie Kieffer, who finished fifth in the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon; Melissa Dock, the top American woman here last year who competed for Team USA at the 2019 Bolder Boulder; Molly Seidel, the 2015 NCAA 10,000-meter champion; and Nell Rojas, winner of the 2019 Grandma’s Marathon and daughter of Ric Rojas, who competed for Harvard and at one time held the 15K world record, round out a solid American lineup.
Three-time winner Caroline Chepkoech of Kenya will not return to defend her title.
First prize in the men’s and women’s open division is $10,000, part of a total $126,000 prize purse for Race Week events, which include the Aetna Falmouth Elite Mile the evening before the 7-miler. In addition, the men’s and women’s winners will seek to prevail in “The Countdown.” A beat-the-clock handicap race, “The Countdown” features a finish-line clock that starts when the first woman breaks the tape, counting down the number of minutes and seconds the winning man has to beat, according to a pre-determined formula. If the clock runs out before he crosses the line, the victorious woman wins a $5,000 bonus; if it doesn’t, the winning man takes home the money. The time to beat this year is 3 minutes and 35 seconds.
The 47th running of the New Balance Falmouth Road Race will take place Sunday, August 18, 2019. For more information, please visit our website at www.falmouthitf.wpengine.com; our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/falmouthroadrace; our Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/falmouthrr, and our Instagram at www.instagram.com/falmouthroadrace.
About Falmouth Road Race, Inc. The New Balance Falmouth Road Race was established in 1973 and has become one of the premier running events of the summer season. Each year the race draws an international field of Olympians, elite and recreational runners out to enjoy the iconic 7-mile seaside course. The non-profit Falmouth Road Race organization is committed to promoting health and fitness through community programs and philanthropic giving.