Race Details



Race day for the Falmouth Triathlon — July 11, 2021 — is just around the corner!

We want to thank you for racing with us this year — especially after what all of us have been through the past 16 months. We’re pleased to say the residents of the town of Falmouth are looking forward to our event too — as it has been a local tradition for 25 years.

This athlete’s guide contains all of the information you will need to be prepared to compete in the event. Please take the time to read carefully.

What about the text shown in this purple color? These are the changed procedures for this year’s event due to public health concerns of the permitting authorities. Please pay close attention to these purple sections!

Safe training, Good luck at the race and we’ll see you at the finish line!


Kathleen Walker & Andy Scherding



7 pm:  A “first look” at the race, provided by your race directors and held via zoom. All athletes will receive an email with access instructions. (If you do not receive, email info@neeevent.com). We’ll talk through the swim, bike and run — as well as provide tips to make your race day experience a wonderful one. And we answer every question. Ideal for those who will be racing Falmouth for the first time, but especially important in this post-Covid year!


5-7 pm:  Registration and packet pick-up will be held at the Mullen-Hall School, 130 Katharine Lee Bates Rd, Falmouth. NOT AT THE RACE SITE! Don’t forget your ID and USAT card (if you have a card). Packet pick-up will also be the morning of the event at Surf Drive Beach.
Remember: you cannot park at the beach! (see below). Don’t forget to bring a legal ID and — if you’re a member — your USAT ID card!
6 pm:  Open-water swim clinic with Trish Cundiff of AquaSafe Swim Programs. Held on the beach, Trish will answer your questions and provide some great tips. Get in the water if you’d like (at your own risk)!


5:00 – 6:00 am:  As you arrive, remember there is no parking at (or near) the race venue! Read detailed instructions below.
5:30 – 6:45 am:  On-site registration or packet pick-up. Don’t forget to bring a legal ID and — if you’re a member — your USAT ID card!
5:30 am:  Transition area opens
5:45-6:30:  Swim warm-up/scouting along the course allowed
6:30 amPre-race announcements in transition area
6:45 amTransition area closes, all athletes on beach
7:00 am:  First wave start. Following waves will start with 1-minute intervals between waves.  (Three athletes will depart every 10 seconds, with 1 minute interval between swim waves)
8:00 am:  Food service begins, and continues until the very last finisher.  Pre-packaged items to take-and-go this year.
9:00 am:  Optional post-race recovery yoga on the beach with Terry Walsh  Sorry, not this year
9:30 am (approximate):  Awards ceremony (Even if you’re not getting an award stick around for drawings for prizes!)  Sorry, not this year…awards will be mailed to winners.
Thank you for understanding.

Critical info — please read!

Start time: if you haven’t raced Falmouth in a few years, the race start time was moved from 7:30am to 7am in 2019, and will again be at 7am this year.

Parking:  There is no parking of any kind less than seven-tenths of a mile from the race site. And there is no quicker way to get your car towed — or endanger the future of this race by angering local residents — than by parking anywhere but in the designated lots. Read the next section after this one carefully! And, please, remain fairly quiet as you bike down to the race site at such an early hour in the morning!

Masks:  Okay, here we go. The Town of Falmouth asks that we follow the Massachusetts guidelines regarding mask-wearing. As of June 21, the stated guideline was that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask outdoors. Non-vaccinated people need to wear a mask outdoors when they cannot socially distance. Keep in mind that such a occurence might be shortly before the race begins — although we will try to space everyone out along the beach.

Whether vaccinated or not, we understand many individuals may wish to wear a mask at times during this event. For those who would like a disposable mask to wear right up to the swim start, we will be passing them out upon your request at the registration area early morning before the event. Additionally, all athletes will receive a buff (pull-up gator) in their swag bags. Many people may wish to place it around their neck for the bike and run segments, to pull up as needed. For all athletes: we would like to point out that after doused with cold water and when worn around the neck the buff makes for a great body temperature cooler!

The bike course is is the same as 2019 — which was a new course in that year.  Seriously consider driving it beforehand. Yes: you may enter the Woods Hole campus. See the “Layout” section below for turn-by-turn directions. Review this map, and read the signs on race day.

There is two-way bike traffic along much of this race course. You must stay in the right lane at all times. A violation of this rule for a brief period will result in a 4-minute time penalty. A second violation — or a first violation of longer than a few seconds — will result in disqualification!

Had a good race? Great! Now you can leave:  As many triathletes know, rules of our governing body, USA Triathlon, generally stipulate that athletes cannot leave the transition area until all cyclists have returned from the bike leg and only runners remain on the course. However, given the unusual circumstances of this post-Covid period, that rule has been relaxed for sanctioned triathlons such as ours. So, upon finishing your race you are encouraged to grab some hydration and nutrition, go back to your bike in the transition area, pack up your belongings and head for the exit. Yes, we’re kicking you out…but only for the health and welfare of all. We hope to have more time to chat with you next year!

Friends and Family

Our agreement with the permitting authorities is that we will limit the number of spectators at the event, in the interest of public health. Parents and families of younger (18 and under) school athletes are certainly welcome. And you can have friends and family members cheer you on from the roadside or the beach start (not the finish). But we must limit spectators at the beach house area and near the transition area.  

Here’s an idea!  Ask your loved one to become a volunteer! They’ll receive a t-shirt and swag and be right in the middle of the action. Register to be a volunteer.

If your friends or family volunteer, they will be helping us replace the organizations that usually help at our events but can’t do so this year because of public health concerns — most of our supporting groups are comprised of youngsters (such as Boy Scouts or gymnastics teams) or seniors (Rotary Clubs, neighborhood associations).

The super-important parking warning:

Why such a big deal about the parking? Prior to 2008, athletes had been permitted to park near the race venue along side streets. After the 2007 race, responding to feedback from neighbors (noise) and Main Street merchants (no parking spots left for their morning customers), race organizers worked with town officials to implement a plan where all vehicles must park in Falmouth town lots located 0.7 to 1 mile away from the Surf Drive Beach venue. You will need to give yourself an extra 15 to 30 minutes riding or walking time to get to the beach.

NOTE: the future of this event hinges directly on your following our parking and noise abatement procedures. Thanks for your help!

So, where to park?  First, do not park on any side street in the town unless it is in a marked parking space with a sign allowing visitors to park there.

Second, do not park on Main Street (Route 28), even in marked spots! The restauranteurs and merchants are supportive of our event, but understandably they could be hurt by a drop in their day’s revenue if Main Street’s parking spots were filled by athletes. Their support is crucial when the town considers our race application each year.

Here’s where to park: in one of the many municipal parking lots within a mile of Surf Drive Beach. Below is a map and list, with details and directions:

Swim Waves & Water Temperature

Water temperature on Wednesday, July 7 was 72 degrees F!


6:55 swim start – Para-triathletes – orange cap


  1. Aquabike – silver cap
  2. Elite, Relays, Clydesdale, Athena – neon green cap
  3. Youth 19 & under – yellow cap
  4. Men 20 -29 – dark lt blue cap
  5. Women 20 -29 – pink cap
  6. Men 30-39 – silver cap
  7. Women 30-49 – dk green cap
  8. Men 40-49 – purple cap
  9. Women 50+ – lt blue cap
  10. Men 50 – 59 – white cap
  11. Men 60+ – neon green cap
  12. Men First-Timers (all) – orange cap
  13. Women First-Timers (all)  – pink cap
  14. Friends & Family- yellow cap

Wish for extra attention from the lifeguards? Ask for a red cap when you pick up your race materials!

Course notes: the swim course follows the shoreline from west to east. We use only round, orange buoys for this race, and you will leave EACH of them on your left side as you swim toward the finish.

Before you get in your car to head to the venue!

  • You may park at the event site if you are picking up your packet the evening before the race (5-7pm). Not this year. Saturday packet-pick up will be held at the Mullen-Hall School, 130 Katharine Lee Bates Rd, Falmouth. Drive-through, 5-7pm.
  • You will not be allowed to approach the event site by car the morning of the race. Please, don’t even try! Walk or ride your bike in.
  • Each participant MUST have both a photo ID and an annual USAT License (or purchase a one day license at packet pickup (See USAT section below for details)
  • If you do not have an ID you WILL NOT be given your race packet
  • Each participant must be present to pick up their race number/packet. You will not be allowed to pick up another participant’s packet. This includes relay teams — all members of the team must be present  2021 only: participants will be allowed to pick up race packets for other particpants.


 Important Details for Registration & Packet Pickup
1.  You must pick up your packet on either Saturday, the evening before the event, between 5pm-7pm, at the Mullen-Hall School, or on the morning of the race at the venue between 5:30-6:45am.
2. You must have a photo ID and a valid USAT Triathlon Card (or one day license). We cannot release your packet to you without a valid Photo ID, no exceptions!
3. USAT License: If you are an annual USAT Member you must bring your valid USAT card with you at packet pickup. If this is expired you will be required to purchase a one day license for $15 (Cash & Check only accepted)

4. One-Day USAT License: If you are not an annual USA Triathlon member you must purchase the one day license at the time of packet pickup (cash or check only).

If you registered using our online registration system and you are not an annual member of USA Triathlon, then you must purchase a one-day license in order to participate at this event. If even one athlete does not have a license, the insurance coverage for the entire event and its participants is in jeopardy. Insurance waiver forms are available at check-in/athlete package pick-up.

Obtaining your race materials:

  1. Ensure you have a Photo ID & Valid USAT Card (if applicable) with you prior to your arrival. If you’re not an annual USAT Member bring an extra $15 just to be safe.
  2. Upon arrival there will be a large registration tent with signs showing specific letter sequences. For Example: A-C, D-F, G-I, etc…. Get into the line which represents the 1st letter of your last name. Example: If your last name is “Bagadonuts” you would get into the line with the sign showing the letter “B”.
  3. Present your Photo ID and valid USAT Card (If applicable) to the registration volunteer. If you need to sign a waiver or still owe $15 for the annual one-day license, you will handle it right there.
  4. Once you have your race number packet, which contains numbers, timing chip and a swim cap (with your corresponding swim wave assignment), then proceed to the T-shirt/Goodie Bag pickup.
  5. Present your race # packet to the T-shirt volunteer as it will show what size T- shirt you ordered. Collect your T-shirt & Goodie Bag and you’re all done.  Note: you will not be able to switch T-shirt sizes until AFTER the race. What you ordered is what you will get. Swaps can be made after the race on race day only, as this is to ensure everyone receives the T-shirt that was ordered, and that any extras will then be used to swap out sizes.

Nervous about the swim? Ask at the swim cap table for a RED swim cap. This will signal to our lifeguards that you are not a strong swimmer, and they will keep a closer eye on you!

What to do with your race numbers and timing chip:

Your race packet will contain two race numbers and one swim cap.

  1. Bike frame number: This looks like a decal. It’s a bike frame number. Remove the backing and place this decal on the top bar or seat post of your bike frame.
  2. Running bib number: This looks like those numbers you see at any running race.  Using safety pins (available at registration table), affix this to the front of your shirt or shorts. (Tip: many triathletes use “race belts” to which they affix their bib number and place it with their belongings in the transition area until they start their run. These belts are available online from triathlon merchants). While you can display your number for the swim and bike if you wish, it must be worn on the run and displayed on the front of your person as you cross the finish line.
  3. Timing Chip: The timing chip will be located in the same packet which you picked up at registration containing your numbers and swim cap. It is a “hospital style” band which you strap around your (preferably) left ankle prior to the swim, and leave it on for the entirety of the event. It’s yours to keep as a souvenier if you so desire!  If you’re wearing a wetsuit, affix the ankle strap so it is underneath your wetsuit so it will not tear off — or tear your wetsuit — when you prepare for the bike ride.  Relay teams only: Your chip is different, with a black velcro band and an orange sensor unit. At each stage of the race, the teammate who has just finished a leg hands off the chip to the teammate who will compete in the next leg, who must affix it to his or her ankle. A volunteer will collect the chip at the finish line. These chips are expensive: unreturned timing chips will require a charge to your team of $75.
  4. Swim cap: This cap MUST BE WORN during the swim portion of the event. If you are a newer swimmer who would like the lifeguards to keep an extra eye out for you, special swim caps are available. Simply ask one of the volunteers at the registration tent!

Where it all goes:

Body marking in 2021


Find the start list, including bib # and swim wave HERE.

Need a reminder about how to body mark (we know, it’s been a long time)?

Watch the video from our photographers at Capstone Photography here.

Layout: transition area and courses:

Transition Area:  For our newer athletes, this is the “hub” of the race. While the swim start and run finish happens beachside, all other legs of the race start and end here in the Surf Drive Beach parking lot. This is where your bicycle and gear are kept while you’re swimming and running.

  • Athletes only: no spectators or coaches. Regulations of the sport’s governing body, USA Triathlon, and our insurance provider have required us to enforce this rule. Please understand.
  • Your bike MUST be placed on a rack. Four bicycles fit on each side of a rack. This year, we ask that athletes position no more than 3 bicycles on each side of a rack. If the bike cannot fit, see a Transition Captain wearing a bright “New England Endurance” T-shirt.

Swim:  A popular feature of the Falmouth Triathlon is that the swim course follows closely to the shoreline, providing added comfort to our less experienced swimmers. From the transition area, walk down the beach to the right (west). Walk past the jetty. See the yellow banners? This is the swim start. Back near the transition area, see the red arch in the middle of the beach? This is the swim finish. For safety, we don’t all start swimming at once. Smaller groups of athletes will swim in “waves” at 3-minute intervals. Don’t worry, your correct time will be recorded! The swim waves will be announced the day before the event and on race morning.

  • Age Group athletes: your swim wave corresponds to your age on December 31. If you’re 29 years old with a birthday later this year and you hear the announcer say “30-to-34-year olds, get ready to swim,” that means you!
  • Warm-ups are allowed, but stay close to shore and inside of the harbormaster, Coast Guard and police boats. Exit the water IMMEDIATELY when the race director asks.
  • Water temperature will be taken one week before the event, then again one day prior, and posted on our Facebook page and at the race site during day-before registration. The reading on race day in 2019 was 73 degrees F.
  • Fins and paddles are not allowed. “Safer swimmer” devices are allowed to be used in the Newbie (last) wave.

Bike:  Review the bike course here.  Seriously consider driving it beforehand. Yes: you may enter the Woods Hole campus.

The course measures 8.5 miles. You do not mount your bike until you reach the designated area OUTSIDE of the transition area. There are several tight turns — both right and left — on the course so exercise caution!

  • There is two-way bike traffic along much of this race course. You must stay in the right lane at all times. A violation of this rule for a brief period will result in a 4-minute time penalty. A second violation — or a first violation of longer than a few seconds — will result in disqualification!
  • Your helmet chin strap must be securely fastened BEFORE you remove your bike from the rack, until AFTER you return your bike to the rack.
  • Stay to the right except when passing. Repeat: stay to the right!
  • We enforce the USA Triathlon “no drafting” rule. Marshals are positioned at fixed locations throughout the course, as well as aboard motor vehicles. See detailed rules below.
  • If you hear, “On your left,” you are about to be passed. Stay right. Likewise, verbally communicate when passing others.
  • LITTERING is grounds for penalty sanctioning!

Bike course turn-by-turn: You will exit transition on the far side (near the sharp turn in Surf Drive Road) and immediately place yourself on the right hand side of the road. You will mount your bike and ride on the right side of the road all the way to the main campus of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, into which you will enter with a right turn. This was a new feature in 2019, and we are very grateful for the Institute’s assistance to keep our athletes safe. You will follow the outer perimter road of the campus to a sharp right-turn exit onto Oyster Pond Road. Note: this is a steep downhill and a sharp turn here! After a mile, turn right onto Nobska Road and then left into a heavily barricaded and police-protected section of Woods Hole Road. After 150 yards you will make a left turn onto Church Street, heading out for a climb to the Nobska Lighthouse, after which you will begin a gradual decent back to the starting point.

Run:  The course measures 3.1 miles (5k). It’s scenic and pancake-flat!

  • Use of headphones or earbuds for any reason is not allowed and will result in a 2-minute time penalty.
  • When directed by signs, volunteers or police to a specific side of the road, stay on that side until directed otherwise.
  • If you see a row of orange road cones on the side of the road, stay within the coned area.
  • Water stations at 1 and 2-mile marks. FOR 2021 ONLY: water stations will be self-serve. Instead of using cups we will be placing mini-bottles on tables for runners to pick up. Please crunch up the bottle in your hand and discard in one of the trash barrels along the course or carry with you to the finish!
  • LITTERING is grounds for penalty sanctioning!

Relay teams procedure:

Packet Pickup

  • All Team Members MUST be present to pick up their Race # Packets, T- shirts, and Goodie Bags. (Sorry it’s not our rule & an inconvenience but it’s one that we will not make exceptions due to this event being USAT Sanctioned)
  • Your Team will receive one Race # Packet, as it contains your Swimmers Cap, Bikers Frame #, and Runners Bib number
  • Everyone in your team will get their own T-shirt & Goodie Bag

Race Day

  • Body Marking: Everyone in your team must be body marked
  • TIMING CHIP: The timing chip will be worn by all the relay team athletes. Timing Chip Location: Swimmer = Ankle, Biker = Ankle, Runner = Ankle
  • Look for the Relay Team section in the transition area. Here is where your bicycle is placed and where your teammates wait while the race is ongoing.
  • The timing chip will be passed between your Relay Teammates inside the transition area, at your designated spot. The biker will be waiting at the bike (Keep on the rack until the chip is transferred) for the swimmer to enter transition and switch the timing chip. The runner will also be waiting inside transition (again at your teams bike rack location), for the biker to enter and make the switch (Please rack your bike prior to transferring the timing chip to the runner).

We love our aquabike competitors!

The Falmouth Triathlon offers an Aquabike division (swim-bike only). Athletes handle themselves in the same way as the triathletes, rack their bikes in the same racks, and are eligible for overall awards.  

Aquabikers: When is my race over?  As soon as you finish your bike ride (when you dismount the bike at the designated spot and cross the timing mat) your finish time has been recorded and is secure. Now you can take your time returning your bike to the rack. (Please remember that our triathlete racers are in a bit of a rush to start their run so stay clear!)

Next, either barefoot or with sandals or shoes, head on over to the end of the run course. Here you have two options: You can simply present yourself at the exit from the finisher’s corral and tell the volunteer you are an aquabiker who is finished, or you can go out to Surf Drive Road and enter into the final chute leading to the finish line and cross the line with your arms held high to the cheers of the massive crowd. Either way you will receive your finisher’s award and some much-needed hydration. Congratulations!


Awards presented to top three competitors in each age group (both male and female) as well as top Elites, Clydesdale/Athena, First-Timers, Male, Female and Mixed Relay Teams, and Aquabike.

This year only: there will be no in-person award ceremony. Winners will be mailed/emailed their awards.

Some great bike mechanics on hand!

Thanks to Sea Sports Cyclery (Route 132, Hyannis)) for providing on-site mechanical support for our racers. Something up with your bike? They can help! Labor is free but bring cash for parts, tubes, tires etc.

While we’re on the topic of your bike, check your brakes before the race. There are a few downhill sections on the course. And, make sure the ends of your handlebars have plugs inserted. This is a national rule which we must follow.

Dogs and smoking:

This is important to the Town of Falmouth, which means it’s important to all of us:

Under no circumstances are dogs allowed at the venue. This includes the packet pick-up/registration time period the evening before the race! It is allowable to walk your dog alongside the road outside of the parking lot (bring a pet disposal bag).

Likewise, absolutely no smoking is allowed by the Town of Falmouth anywhere on the beach or near the parking lot. Have a family member with the habit? Ask him or her to take a walk down the road a bit. (Hopefully downwind of the competitors!)

A penalty! What, me?

We all want a safe, fair race. No one likes to receive a time penalty, and the race officials understand that…but again, we all want a safe, fair competition. So please note:

Motorcycle Officials will be monitoring the bike course.

Stationary Officials will be placed at strategic positions on both courses including transition area, bike mount and dismount.

Please read the rules below to keep your finishing result clean!

Race rules:

1.  Helmets:  Only helmets approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may be used in USAT sanctioned events. Helmets must be worn at all times while on your bike before, during, and after the event.  Penalty: Disqualification

2.  Chin Straps:  Chin straps must be buckled at all times when on a bicycle — including when the bike is off the rack and in your hands while standing, walking or running with it. DO NOT unbuckle your chin strap unless you are off your bicycle and it is placed back on the rack.  Penalty: Disqualification if on the course; Variable time penalty if in transition area.

3.  Outside Assistance:  No assistance other than that offered by race and medical officials may be used. Triathlons are individual tests of fitness. Penalty: Variable time penalty

4.  Transition Area:  All equipment must be placed in the properly designated bike rack. All participants must return their bicycles to an upright position in their designated bicycle rack. No person shall interfere with another participant’s equipment or impede the progress of another participant. All bar ends must be solidly plugged. No participant shall bring ANY glass containers into the transition area.  Penalty: Variable time penalty

5.  Cycling Regulations:

Drafting: keep at least three bike lengths of clear space between you and the cyclist in front. If you move into the zone, you must pass within 15 seconds.

Position:  keep to the right hand side of the lane of travel unless passing.

Blocking: riding on the left side of the lane without passing anyone and interfering with other cyclists attempting to pass.

Overtaken: once passed, you must immediately exit the draft zone from the rear before attempting to pass again.

Penalties: Variable time penalties

6.  Course:  All competitors are required to follow the prescribed course and to stay within all coned lanes. Cutting the course is an obvious violation and going outside the course is a safety issue. Cyclists shall not cross a solid yellow center line for ANY reason. Cyclists must obey all applicable traffic laws at all times. (It is for your safety that you do not cross the Yellow Line, especially on corners!)  Penalty: Referee’s discretion

7.  Unsportsmanlike Conduct:  Foul, harsh, argumentative or abusive language or other unsportsmanlike conduct directed at race officials, USA Triathlon officials, volunteers, spectators or fellow athletes is forbidden.  Penalty:  Disqualification (This is a family environment and any language of this nature will NOT be tolerated.)

8.  Headphones:  Headphones, headsets, walkmans, ipods, mp3 players, or personal audio devices, etc. are not to be carried or worn at any time during the race.  Penalty: Variable time penalty (Please do not break this rule as it is considered a major safety violation and is subject to police stoppage and a traffic citation on the bike course)

9.  Race numbers:  All athletes are required to wear race numbers at all times during the run. Numbers must face the front and be clearly visible at all times. Numbers may not be cut or folded or altered in any way. DO NOT transfer your number to any other athlete or take a number from an athlete that is not competing. Penalty: Variable time penalty for missing or altered number, Disqualification and one year suspension from membership in USAT for transferring a number without race director permission.

10.  Wetsuits:  Each participant shall be permitted to wear a wetsuit without penalty in any event sanctioned by USA Triathlon up to and including a water temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water temperature is greater than 78 degrees but less than 84 degrees Fahrenheit, participants may wear a wetsuit at their own discretion, provided, however that participants who wear a wetsuit within such temperature range shall not be eligible for prizes or awards. Above 84 degrees, wetsuits are prohibited.

11.  Abandonment:  All personal equipment and belongings taken out onto the course must stay on the athlete the entire time. No garbage, clothing, etc. shall be thrown on the course. Please do not litter the course with water bottles, gel packets, or wrappers. The community has supported this event for years and your responsibility in keeping the course clean will help to ensure that this event continues.  Penalty: Variable time penalties

For a complete list of rules, please refer to the most up to date USA Triathlon Competitive Rules at: http://www.usatriathlon.org/resources/about-events/rules