Wild Weather Greets Cape Cod Marathoners

The lead group 3.5-miles into the race: Whirlaway’s Shane Whalen, the BAA’s Eric Ashe, and Ethiopians Gishu Dida and Birhanu Dare Kemal. All photos by FitzFoto/NERunner


Remember the scene with the vacationers ducking in out of the rain and wind on a tropical island and they’re greeted with “You should have been here last week.” Well, ‘You should have been here yesterday’ was apropos for the Cape Cod Marathon as the previous day’s half marathon saw beautiful weather.


Not so for the 42nd edition of the marathon and first for the new coastal route that hugged Nantucket Sound. It was tough sailing heading out into gale force winds with rain that picked up in intensity as the day went on.

Still, marathoners are a hardy group and there was no complaining, people loved the scenery and the quote of the day came from women’s winner Hannah Rowe of the B.A.A. who missed her quest for a Trails qualifier in a winning time of 2:46:42. “I’m originally from Vermont and we’re in New England and you can get New England weather; sometimes you fight it and win, sometimes the weather wins.”

Men’s winner Birhanu Dare Kemal, 33, broke into a wide grin when asked about the weather. “The weather was tough, very stormy, I didn’t make my goal of beating 2:20 but it was a good experience, I am happy with the win.”


An Ethiopian living in NYC, Kemal left something in the tank for the NYC Marathon a week later after finishing in 2:21:31. Last year he ran 2:12:21 at Grandma’s. Like Rowe, he collected $1K for the top spot and an additional $500 for setting the new course record.

Race Director Jack Afarian with women’s winner Hannah Rowe.


Whirlaway’s Shane Whalen, 31, of Hooksett, NH, took a 10-year break from running after high school, then ran a 3:05 marathon, a 2:48, a 2:29 and on this day was runner-up in a PR 2:24:10.


“I led for a short bit but thought better of that pretty quickly,” said Whalen, who had another decision to make when Kemal broke free from himself, two-time Cape champion Eric Ashe and Ethiopian Gishu Dida, 31, after 16 miles. “I thought about going with him but I’m glad I didn’t. In the later miles I was exhausted and just trying to focus.” Dida claimed third in 2:25:30.

The Chase Pack: Central Mass Strider Scott Mindel, Millennium Running’s Jaidiby Zapata and CT’s Will Sanders at 16.5 miles.


Millennium Running’s Jaidiby Zapata, 35 of Milford, NH, emerged from the chase pack to place fourth in 2:25:54. Former UConn ace Will Sanders, 32, of Wethersfield, CT, broke free of Central Mass Strider Scott Mindel at 19 miles and passed pre-race favorite Eric Ashe of the BAA at 22 to post up 5th in a PR 2:26:21. Whirlaway’s Brandon Newbould, 38, placed 6th in 2:27:41 followed by Ashe in 2:30:17.


An Eclectic Group: With the green shoes grabbing water is 2015 champion Jon Chesto while to the far right in the bib color designation of a Chowda Challenge participant; in fact, the Chowda Challenge King. Esteban Vanegas, 49, was the top Master in the previous day’s half marathon at 1:14:40 and in the marathon at 2:39:29.


Ashe had run the BAA Half in 1:06:57 and then won the tough MDI Half in 1:07:10 a week prior to the Cape. “I got overaggressive with my racing and it cost me today. I didn’t have the legs to carry me in the second half,” lamented Ashe. “MDI is a tough course and I didn’t plan on really having to race it. Then this guy from Minnesota showed up and I had to give 100%.”

Women’s runner-up Caili Colquitt with SISU’s Matt Germain at 16.5.


South Carolina native Caili Colquitt, 25-like women’s winner Rowe-was also chasing the 2:45:00 OTQ and crossed the line second in 2:47:40.

Top Master Christin Doneski (in black) of Whirlaway headed to her first sub-3-hour marathon.


Whirlaway’s Kassandra Marin, 30, took the bronze in 2:54:29 while teammate Christin Doneski, 48, ran her first sub-3:00:00 marathon (evuh) to post up 5th in 2:59:17.


Much more in the mag but perhaps most appreciated on the day-Stephen Bird’s 160 gallon offering of piping hot soups past the finish line-turkey & rice, vegetarian minestrone and, of course, clam chowdah!


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