A new solo ultramarathon and team relay is coming to Massachusetts this fall. The Fall 50 will make its Bay State debut on Saturday, September 30, on Cape Cod.
Runners have the option of running 50 miles solo or forming teams of between two and five runners to cover the distance from Wellfleet to Barnstable.
While the scenic run will take place on the Cape, its roots are in the heartland – Door County, Wisc., to be exact. Director Sean Ryan founded the Fall 50 in Door County 12 years ago. He has been involved as a director or staff member on a variety of events, including the Boston Marathon, but the Fall 50 is the one event that he owns.
The Door County event has grown significantly since its first running in 2006. Ryan noted that the event has sold out during each of the past two years with 500 teams. That steady interest is what sparked the idea of expanding to other locations with picturesque fall settings. With that in mind, Cape Cod was an obvious choice.
“One of the things that makes the existing Fall 50 appealing is that it takes place against the scenic backdrop of autumn colors in a tourism-rich destination area with lots of awesome vistas and ample lodging capacity,” Ryan said. “Some people say Door County is the ‘Cape Cod of the Midwest.’ I joke that Cape Cod is the ‘Door County of the Northeast.’ The two areas have a lot in common.
“I work on several events with Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises, the company that assists in the operational planning of the BAA Boston Marathon, the Falmouth Road Race, Beach to Beacon, and many others. A couple of my coworkers on that team are Cape Cod residents. After I explained the character of the Fall 50, they felt Cape Cod would be a perfect venue for expansion. After visiting and researching course options, I had to agree!”
Although the founder of the Fall 50 is based in Wisconsin, the Cape Cod event will have a local race director. Matt Auger, an operational planner for the Falmouth Road Race and resident of Cape Cod, signed on to provide local leadership for the event.
The race will begin at The Beachcomber, an oceanfront bar in Wellfleet, and make its way to Craigville Beach in Barnstable. Runners will pass through Eastham, Orleans, Brewster, West Dennis, Yarmouth, and Hyannis along the way, giving them a two-footed tour of many of the Cape’s charming towns.
“The entire course is paved, but much of it follows the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the Old Colony Rail Trail,” Ryan said.
Solo runners have an 11-hour time limit to complete the course. The solo race will begin at 7 a.m., and relay waves will follow with staggered start times in 15-minute increments. Ryan said relay teams typically require between seven and nine hours to complete the 50-mile distance.
Upon completion of the race, runners and their support crews are invited to a post-race party that Ryan described as “unparalleled.”
“The post-race party takes place beneath a giant tent with beer hall-style seating, dance floor, stage, DJ and disco ball. We serve unlimited beer, pizza, wine and soda beneath the tent,” Ryan noted. “Admission to the party is included on each runner’s bib while spectators pay a cover charge.”
Runners will receive long-sleeved Henley shirts, and finishers will receive oversized medals with the race logo and date. Ryan said runners will be able to upload photos to an Instagram account and have their pictures projected onto the ceiling of the tent at the post-race party. Additional festivities will include 1.5-liter champagne bottles as awards for the three most creative relay team names and three best-costumed teams.
“In short, it’s a ‘runner party with a 50-mile primer to get everybody fired up,’” Ryan said.
Registration for the Cape Cod Fall 50 opened on May 1. The race has a capacity of 100 solo runners and 200 relay teams. Early solo registration was $100, and is $110 from July 1 to Aug. 30. It will increase to $120 on Sept. 1. Relay team entry fees vary depending on the number of team members.
Race registration and additional information can be found online at the Fall 50 website.