Race Details



Race day for the Falmouth Triathlon — July 9, 2023 — is just around the corner!

We want to thank those who have raced at Falmouth for some — or all (yes, there are a few!) of the past 26 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.

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 the Zoom meeting app. We’ll talk through the swim, bike and run — as well as provide tips to make your race day experience a wonderful one. We start with new information for all racers, then we switch to info for those who are racing Falmouth for the first time, and then finally tips for our newcomers to triathlon. This way people can log off as needed. And we’ll answer every question.  LINK TO MEETING


Evening:  Swim course is expected to be marked with small yellow buoys.


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 the race start at Surf Drive Beach.
Remember: you will not be able to visit the parking lot at Surf Drive Beach the evening before, nor the day of the race! (see below). On Saturday evening you can park in the town parking lot at the corner of Surf Dr. and Mill Rd. to scout the swim course or participate in the 6pm swim clinic.
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 — about swimming, about this race, about life. Get in the water if you’d like (at your own risk)!


5:30 – 6:30 am:  Remember, there is no parking at (or near) the race venue! Read detailed instructions below.
5:30 – 6:30 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 am:  Pre-race announcements in transition area
6:45 am:  Transition area closes, all athletes on beach
7:00 am:  First wave start. Waves will start with 2-minute intervals between waves.  (8 athletes will depart every 10 seconds within a wave)
8:00 am:  Food service begins, and continues until the very last finisher.
9:00 am:  Optional post-race recovery yoga on the beach with Terry Walsh 
9:30 am (approximate):  Awards ceremony, with awards 3-deep in each 5-year age group. Also: aquabikes and relays

Athlete’s Meeting

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 remains that way 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!

Bike course:  Same route as the past three years. If unfamiliar, consider driving it beforehand. (Yes: you may enter the Woods Hole campus with your car at 15mph.) See the “Layout” section below for turn-by-turn directions. Here’s an online map. Here’s another, printable 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, even 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.

Finally: this event has reached full capacity eight times in the last 10 years. Based on current registration rates, the race will sell out this year. Please advise any friends or teammates who wish to register that they likely will not be able to wait until the last minute!

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 specific 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. The future of this event hinges directly on your following our parking and noise abatement procedures.

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 empty spaces! 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.

The map below shows 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.

Volunteer and handicapped parking: you must have email correspondence with us prior to race week to arrange your parking. Contact info@neeevents.com.

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

  • Saturday packet-pick up will be held at the Mullen-Hall School, 130 Katharine Lee Bates Rd, Falmouth. 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. (USA Triathlon regulation)
  • 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
 USA Triathlon License:
  • If you are not a current USA Triathlon member, will buy a one-day license. Read and follow the instructions in the “USA Triathlon Regulations section of this guide.

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 a smartphone and your credit card to purchase the $15 waiver (cash sales no allowed).
  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 may be directed to the Help Desk. (You could also go to the Help Desk first to take care of this matter.)
  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!


If 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 will not be available at check-in/athlete package pick-up. You must sign the waiver and purchase your 1-day license prior to picking up your race packet.

Link to purchase one-day license: https://accounts.usatriathlon.org/AccountCreation2.aspx?EventId=307936

  • You must purchase (or renew) your membership PRIOR to registration closing on Wednesday, July 5
  • No cash or checks accepted at race site for USAT memberships
  • Waiver forms will NOT be available at packet pick-up—no paper forms allowed
  • For race day registrations, if not sold out, we will have a QR code to access the USAT site to purchase a one-day license which requires a credit card. But please note: the race is expected to sell out in advance this year.

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 (found in your race packet and available at registration tables), 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: You will pick up your timing chip at the same time you pick up your numbers and swim cap. It is a heavy band which you strap around your (preferably) left ankle prior to the swim, and leave it on for the entirety of the event. You will pull off the chip and hand to an official soon after finishing your race. Should you abandon the race before finishing, be sure to return the chip at the finish line area.  Note for placement of the chip: 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: 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 by all athletes 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:

After you enter the transition area race morning, please visit the ladies and gentlemen near the entrance who are applying race numbers to the arms and legs of athletes. They will mark you so that you meet with USAT regulations. It is essential your race number be marked onto your body; there are time penalties for non-compliance.

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 can fit on each side of a rack, but we have enough space so that most racks will need to only contain six bikes.  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 and blue fencing? 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 2-minute intervals, with 8 athletes will departing every 10 seconds within a wave. 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. 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; in 2021 it was 72 degrees.
  • Fins and paddles are not allowed. “Safer swimmer” devices are allowed to be used in the Newbie (the last) wave.

Bike:  Review the bike course here and/or here.  Seriously consider driving it beforehand. Yes: you may drive through 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 has been a feature of the race since 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 descent 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
  • 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. See “Body marking” section above
  • 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).

Hydration & Nutrition:

Aid Stations:  Water and CeraSport fluid replacement drink will be available after your swim as you run into transition from the swim. This hydration will also be available at the start of your run leg, as well as at Mile 1 and at Mile 2.

Post-Race Food:  Available for all athletes, staff and volunteers.

Note: our on-course fluid replacement drink will be CeraSport, which our athletes are finding to be a better choice than some other sugar-y drinks. If you wish to try it beforehand — or order some after your race, here is a link for a generous discount:

Time Limits:

The town of Falmouth is a very busy place in the summer, and we are most grateful for the patience and support of its residents for our annual triathlon. Vehicle traffic is sharply limited during the event, but at some point this part of the community needs to reopen for all.

So, this year we have implemented generous time limits. Even if you start in the last swim wave, a moderately trained participant should be able to stay ahead of these cut-off times. If you are told by a staffer that unfortunately your race is over, please understand this is because the police must re-open the roads, parts of which are not safe without their protection.

Swim Finish Line:  Must cross by 9am.

Bike Course at Woods Hole Institute: (Mile 2.5) Must pass by 9:20

Bike Finish Line:  Must cross by 10am

Run Finish Line:  Must cross by 11am

Prior to 10am, those who missed one of the earlier cutoffs may still be able to run the run course — without your timing chip (Please give to a staffer). Enjoy the atmosphere and the cheers at the finish line!

We love our aquabike competitors!

The Falmouth Triathlon offers an Aquabike division (swim-bike-and-done). 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, showing your bib, 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!

Human-Powered Bicycles Only:

No e-bikes will be allowed to enter the transition area. Even if the battery compartment on the bike is empty, they cannot be allowed at this event. This includes “typical-looking” bicycles which show indications of having been modified for auxiliary battery use.

Friends and Family

Spectators are welcome, but they must stay off of all paved road surfaces during the event.  They are not allowed within the transition area (exception: parents and families of younger (18 and under) school athletes).   

Have a friend or loved one who wants to be “part of the action”?  Ask them to consider being one of the over 100 volunteers who help make each year’s event a success. They receive a t-shirt, swag and post-race food.  Register to be a volunteer.

Yoga? Yes!

After the race, join certified yoga instructor Terry Walsh on the beach for some post-race recovery yoga and light stretching. It’s the perfect way to warm down those hard-worked muscles, clear away lactic acid — and clear away your mind as well! Terry is an instructor at both the Boston Athletic Club  and Nova Yoga in Dennis here on Cape Cod — and a top triathlete as well. She’ll be conducting these sessions immediately after September’s Hyannis Triathlon as well!


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

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.

Important! USA Triathlon has changed several rules for 2023, including an increase in the allowed drafting zone on the bike. 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 four bike lengths of clear space between you and the cyclist in front. If you move into that four-bike-length zone, you must pass within 20 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 RulesL