Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Ben Flanagan, Caroline Chepkoech Make History At Falmouth

Ben Flanagan became the first North American male to clinch the top spot at the 2018 New Balance Falmouth Road Race in 30 years.

The 46th annual New Balance Falmouth Road Race on the banks of Cape Cod, Massachusetts on Sunday saw historic wins from champions Ben Flanagan of Canada, who became the first North American male to clinch the title in 30 years, and Caroline Chepkoech of Kenya, who became the first woman since Lornah Kiplagat to win three consecutive titles.

Flanagan’s finish line antics were almost as thrilling as the closely contested race itself, as he quite literally leapt and punched his way through the tape to stop the clock at 32:21. The victory marks the 23-year-old’s first major win on the professional circuit—he won the 2018 NCAA 10K title and said he will use his $15,000 winner’s check to pay for his final semester of college at the University of Michigan.

“It’s unbelievable, honestly,” Flanagan said in a release after his victory in the 7.1-mile race. “I’ve found myself at these events that I could only really have dreamed of competing at. The attitude has been [that] there’s no specific expectation. I know what I’m capable of doing, but there’s nothing to lose coming into these races.”

He is coached by Michigan head track coach Kevin Sullivan, himself a three-time Olympian and the 2002 Falmouth Mile champion. The last North American male to win at Falmouth was Mark Curp of Missouri in 1988.

Americans Scott Fauble and Leonard Korir placed second and third in 32:23 and 32:28, respectively. Stephen Sambu of Kenya placed fourth in 32:32 after winning the past four consecutive titles at Falmouth. Sambu led the race early, splitting before succumbing to Flanagan’s kick in the final mile.

The women’s race saw 24-year-old Chepkoech dominate the field by nearly a full minute with a winning time of 35:48 over fellow Kenyans Margaret Wangari (36:43) and Mary Wacera (37:17). Wangari was the Falmouth champion in 2012.

“I’m happy so much for winning this race,” Chepkoech said to race management. I’m focusing for Falmouth. I love Falmouth. I love the people of Falmouth.” Though she had hoped to challenge Kiplagat’s 18-year-old course record of 35:02, Chepkoech still added her name to the Falmouth history books with her third straight victory.

She joins Kiplagat (2000, 2001, 2002) and Joan Benoit (1981, 1982, 1983) in the three-in-a-row club.

The top U.S.-based female finisher was 37-year-old Melissa Dock of Boulder, Co., who placed fifth overall in 38:04. The mother of six-year-old twins was in shock after earning her $7,000 payday as the top American.

“I thought maybe on a good day I could be top 10, but I never imagined this,” she said.

Race weekend started on Saturday night with the Aetna Falmouth Elite Mile races. An almost too-close-to-call women’s race saw Rachel Schneider eke out the victory over Helen Schlachtenhaufen when the 24-year-old Dartmouth graduate tumbled to the ground just before the finish line tape.

Schneider’s winning time of 4:27.23 was two seconds off Suzy Favor Hamilton’s meet record. Schlachtenhaufen stood up and walked across the finish in 4:31.44 to earn runner-up honors ahead of Cory McGee, who ran 4:31.56.

“I think we just kind of bumped arms and legs with 10 to 15 meters to go,” Schneider said in a release. “I feel really bad she went down. Unfortunately, that’s totally the way the 1500 meters goes sometimes. She did an awesome job fighting to the very end.”

In the men’s mile race, American Craig Engels defended his title in 3:58.8 with a strong kick to outpace early leader Josh Kerr (4th, 3:59.67) and Ben Blankenship (3rd, 3:59.23). Cristian Soratos boasted a strong kick himself to sneak into second place with a final time of 3:59.19.

“Let’s make it three next year!” Engels said after the race.