Falmouth Varsity Girls Soccer Team Mentors Young Runners in Main Street Mile
By: Enterprise Staff
A record number of runners participated in this year’s Main Street Mile, a family-oriented race sponsored by the Falmouth Track Club that starts on the Falmouth Village Green and ends at the Ellen T. Mitchell Bath House on Surf Drive, a distance of exactly one mile. A total of 299 people ran in last Sunday’s race, the largest number ever.
The record turnout was due in large part to the Falmouth girls’ varsity and JV soccer teams, who ran the race as a fundraiser. Each athlete paired themselves with a younger child between the ages of 6 and 12 ages and mentored them to the finish line. The group totaled 56 runners.
Kelly E. Ferreira, 16, the goalie for the girls’ varsity team, ran with her two younger cousins, Bethany M. Sawyer, 8, and Lincoln N. Sawyer, 6, also of Falmouth. Kelly held her cousins’ hands as the runners migrated toward the starting line. “I’ve got you, bud,” she said to Lincoln as the crowd jostled together. When asked if he thought he could finish the one-mile race, Lincoln responded indignantly: “I’ve ran six [miles before]!” Kelly added, “We’re gonna try to beat their parents.”
A cannon blast began the race at 1 PM. Runners turned right onto Walker Street and ended at the Surf Drive beach parking lot. Lincoln completed the race in 10 minutes, besting his parents, Dan G. Sawyer and Nancy B. Sawyer, by about three minutes. “He sprinted way ahead,” Kelly said. She thought the fundraiser was a great idea, “It’s good to reach out to younger kids and get them into exercise. I hope we do it again next year.”
Rory Jenkins, 28, of Sagamore Beach came in first overall, running the mile in four minutes and 52 seconds. Others took their time. Maiyah O. McCarthy, 7, who ran the race with varsity soccer player Nicole C. Gonsalves, 16, was among the last to the finish line. “We’re a little tired,” Nicole explained as the pair walked hand-in-hand toward the junction of Walker Street and Surf Drive. Maiyah spotted her father up ahead, “There’s my dad. I guess he’s taking a picture of me.”
Amy Thrasher, who organized the team fundraiser, said, “Instead of doing the typical thing like a car wash, we wanted a fundraiser that involved mentoring .... [because] I know how much these little kids look up to the older ones.”
“All right,” Nicole encouraged Maiyah, “Think you can run to the finish? It’s wicked close.” The two picked up speed and finished the race at a fast jog to the cheers of onlookers. A race attendant hung a 31st Main Street Mile commemorative medal around Maiyah’s neck. The girl inspected it and smiled.
Nicole and Maiyah know each other through their fathers, who are friends and play hockey together. The two families spend time together, and Nicole said she and Maiyah will often kick a soccer ball around in the back yard. “Dad?” Maiyah asked her father, still sticking close to Nicole after the race, “Can we go to Nicole’s house for a while?”
Amy Thrasher, who organized the team fundraiser, said, “Instead of doing the typical thing like a car wash, we wanted a fundraiser that involved mentoring .... [because] I know how much these little kids look up to the older ones.” Ms. Thrasher said the race was an opportunity for the older girls to act as leaders. She laughed as she related how, during the race, she overheard one of the girls coaching her mentoree: “She was saying, ‘Come on, you’re better than the boys, you can pass them. You can do it’.” Ms. Thrasher has a niece on the girls’ varsity team and coaches soccer at the Falmouth Rec Center. The girls raised $2,509 from pledges.
Jack Carroll, vice president of the Falmouth Track Club and race director for the Main Street Mile, said it was great to have the team and their young friends in the race. “Our mission is to encourage people to run and be physically fit. So we really appreciate their efforts,” he said. Of all the different races that the track club organizes, Mr. Carroll said the family-oriented Main Street Mile is the most fun, and that giving medals to everyone contributes to the race’s friendly, inclusive nature. “We want to provide a nice experience for all the young people,” he said.
Special prizes from supporting businesses were raffled off after the race. Ainsley Ramsey, 11, won a new bicycle courtesy of Dr. Donald E. O’Malley of Cape Cod Sports Medicine. Ainsley placed second among female runners, at six minutes and 19 seconds, just one second behind first-place finisher Sandee Parkinson, 46, of Falmouth. Sara Fisichella, 11, of Falmouth placed third.
Second- and third-place male runners were Bob Swarthent, 32, and Brian Bourque, 42, respectively, both of Falmouth.