All Ben Flanagan does in Falmouth is win. The Canadian grabbed his third victory in the 50th ASICS Falmouth Road Race on Sunday — his second consecutive — in a win he called his toughest here yet. Meanwhile, in her Falmouth debut, American marathon record holder Keira D’Amato held off defending champion Edna Kiplagat to win the women’s race. World-record holder Susannah Scaroni won in her first Falmouth attempt in the women’s wheelchair division while Daniel Romanchuk pushed to Falmouth victory number four in the men’s wheelchair division.
Flanagan, 27, started the race watching the back of Kenya’s David Bett. Bett, the 2022 Cooper River Bridge Run champion, set a quick opening pace — with a 4:45 first mile — on a blisteringly hot day. He crossed the 5K in 14:28 with 2019 Falmouth Champion Leonard Korir and Flanagan giving chase two seconds back.
Despite a nine-second gap, Flanagan kept Bett in his sights and at five and a half miles, took the lead thinking Bett was out of gas. But, Bett did not back off and the two were side-by-side at 10K with last year’s runner-up Biya Simbasa ten seconds back. As the duo crested the hill with a half mile to go, Flanagan opened a gap that Bett could not cover. As Flanagan celebrated his inevitable victory before an adoring crowd, Simbasa was coming on quickly, passing Bett and securing second — a repeat of 2021. Flangan, now a fan favorite, did his familiar jump across the finish line, winning in 32:25, his slowest, but hardest earned Falmouth victory yet.
“This was a big mental game today,” said Flanagan, the Canadian 10K record holder. “It came down to trust that in the last two miles, I was going to have enough to break the guys behind me, catch David and have something left and I was proud to pull it off.”
Flanagan earned $10,000 for his victory. Simbasa stormed to second in 32:32 while Bett hung on to third in 32:39.
Fresh off an eighth-place finish as a pinch-hitter at the World Athletics Championship Marathon, Keira D’Amato left no doubt that she has recovered from last month’s race. Facing a field that featured defending Falmouth champion and running legend Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, D’Amato blended into a lead pack that was seven women deep through the third mile. Last month’s Wharf to Wharf 6 Mile winner Ednah Kurgat led the field through 5K in 16:01, but as they made the turn onto Surf Drive just a half mile later, D’Amato and Kiplagat made an early, but decisive move.
Just after mile four, the pair were able to separate from Kurgat and Ethiopia’s Burktayit Eshetu and open up a ten-second gap over the chase pack. They stayed together through mile six, but just before 10K, D’Amato switched gears and left Kiplagat behind. D’Amato broke the tape in 32:13 to become the first American woman to win in Falmouth since 2011. Kiplagat took the runner-up spot three seconds back.
“I just wanted to go out and race today,” said D’Amato, 38 of Midlothian, VA. “At three-and-a-half miles in where the water stop was, I surged through and realized I was in the lead. So, I thought ‘I’m going to roll with this.’ It’s terrifying to have Edna right behind you so that kept me motivated to keep the pedal to the metal.”
It was an $18,000 payday for D’Amato who won $10,000 for first place, $3,000 for top American and $5,000 for the Countdown Challenge – a time-based challenge between the men’s and the women’s fields.
Providence-based Marielle Hall battled her way up to third in 36:44 while Kurgat, the early leader, finished in fourth in 36:49.
Daniel Romanchuk delivered another dominating performance to win his fourth ASICS Falmouth Road Race, his first since 2019. Romanchuk went to the front from the gun and won handily in 22:02, nearly three-and-a-half minutes over second place.
“It’s great to be back in Falmouth,” said Romanchuk, who was not in the field in 2021. “You never know what is going to happen in a race, so I never know what to expect. I am happy to be back and racing.”
2021 Falmouth champion Hermin Garic was the runner-up with Canada’s Alexandre Dupont third.
Susannah Scaroni continued her summer winning streak that includes record-setting victories at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race and the BAA 10K. Scaroni was never contested, opening up a lead from the start and winning her Falmouth debut by more than five minutes.
“I loved the course,” said Scaroni, who has made an incredible recovery after being hit by a car while training last fall. “After my injury last year, I decided I needed to do any race I could get to. It motivated me and reminded me why I love this sport.”
Four-time Falmouth champion Tatyana McFadden placed second in 30:05 with her training partner Yen Hoang by her side in third.
About Falmouth Road Race, Inc. The 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 nonprofit Falmouth Road Race organization is committed to promoting health and fitness through community programs and philanthropic giving.