Sambu Captures Back-to-Back Falmouth Race Titles, Nukuri Takes Women’s Title (VIDEO)

FALMOUTH HEIGHTS – It wasn’t quite a course record, but Stephen Sambu’s time of 32:06 was lightning fast as he won his second straight title in the 43rd Annual New Balance Falmouth Road Race Sunday morning, coming just two seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan Micah Kogo who came in at 32:08 right on Sambu’s heels.

A_Falmouth Road Race The winner Stephen SambuBurundi’s Diane Nukuri captured the women’s title as she came in at 36:36 and American Sara Hall finished close behind in second place. (see related story with top 100 men/women finishes/photo slideshow; see below for video)

The top-seeded runner in this year’s race, Kenya’s Sambu lived up to the hype and was at the front of the elite pack from the very start in Woods Hole. Some 12,800 runners participated in the race in what some race officials said was the largest crowd they’d seen “in years” cheering on the runners, ringing cow bells and even playing live music.

“I haven’t seen this many people at the race in a long, long time,” said lead truck driver Bob Myett of Old Silver Beach, who added that after 30 years of working the Falmouth Road Race, among countless others, this year’s New Balance Falmouth Road Race was his last. “Yep, next year I’ll be eating hot dogs watching the race,” Myett said.

The elite men’s runners averaged just around 4:30 miles during the first few miles of the race and for the first few miles Portland, Oregon’s Chris Derrick was neck-and-neck with Sambu, but it was Kenya’s elite men — Sambu, Kogo, Daniel Salel, Leonard Korir, Sam Chelanga and Moses Kipsiro — who broke off at the five-mile mark and kicked things into high gear along Falmouth’s Surf Drive coastline.

Relative heat and humidity didn’t seem to face Sambu and the pack leaders who reached for water just twice along the route.

In addition to an $8,000 first-place prize, the top men and women contended for a $5,000 bonus in “The Countdown.” New this year, the countdown clock started when the female winner (Nukuri) crossed the finish line.

There were 10,777 people who finished the 7-mile race in an average time of 1:13.28, more than double the time it took for Sambu and the race’s elite runners to finish. According to race officials, there were 4,875 men and 5,902 women who finished the race.

Here were the top 10 men and women who competed and their times (unofficial):

Michigan's Cally Macumber crosses the finish line

Michigan’s Cally Macumber crosses the finish line.

2015 New Balance Falmouth Road Race: Top 10 Men
1. Stephen Sambu #1 (age 27)  32:06 (Kenya)
2. Micah Kogo #2 (age 29) 32:08 +0:02 (Kenya)
3. Leonard Korir #8 (age 28) 32:08 +0:03 (Kenya)
4. Sam Chelanga #13 (age 30) 32:09 +0:03 (USA*)
5. Moses Kipsiro #17 (age 28) 32:18 +0:13 (Uganda)
6. Daniel Salel #3 (age 24) 32:38 +0:32 (Kenya)
7. Aaron Braun #11 (age 28) 33:02 +0:57 (USA)
8. Chris Derrick #6 (age 24) 33:28 +1:23 (USA)
9. Andrew Colley #35 (age 24) 33:40 +1:35 (USA)
10. Meb Keflezighi #40 (age 40) 33:48 +1:43 (USA)

The start of the 2015 New Balance Falmouth Road Race

The start of the 2015 New Balance Falmouth Road Race

2015 New Balance Falmouth Road Race: Top 10 Women
1. Diane Nukuri #3 (age 30) 36:47 +0:00 (Bunduri)
2. Sara Hall #20 (age 32) 36:57 +0:11 (USA)
3. Sentayehu Ejigu #24 (age 30) 37:11 +0:25 (Ethiopia)
4. Neely Gracey #5 (age 25) 37:18 +0:32 (USA)
5. Amy Cragg #2 (age 31) 37:38 +0:51 (USA)
6. Monicah Ngige #23 (age 21) 37:59 +1:13 (Kenya)
7. Alexi Pappas #16 (age 25) 38:01 +1:14 (USA)
8. Laura Nagel #18 (age 23) 38:05 +1:18 (New Zealand)
9. Katie Matthews #8 (age 24) 38:23 +1:37 (USA)
10. Liz Costello #15 (age 27) 38:30 +1:44 (USA)

— Story and photos by Sean Walsh, sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is seanwalsh@ccb-media.com. Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm

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