In Westfield High, I was a little cocky. I thought I was the fastest guy on the block and I jumped into a 100-yard dash at a track meet. I got my rear-end kicked—I came in next to last with a mouth full of cinders. I said to myself, I’ve got to make up for that abysmal showing. So I jumped into the next event—the mile—without my coach’s permission and I came in third. I’m not a sprinter.
I’ve been known to stop en route and have a beer. During the Boston Marathon, I would stop at the Tam O’Shanter. But I was so far out of contention—I would be way in the back of the pack or the middle of the back of the pack. My best time was three hours and 14 minutes down in Phoenix, a flat course.
I loved running as much as I love beer—as much as I love Falmouth. It has a seductive hold on me, this town.
I used to hear about Falmouth back home in Westfield, about what an attraction it was . . . I first came to Falmouth in the early 60s. I worked as a waiter at the Falmouth Playhouse in the summertime, then I went back to Boston and worked at the Eliot Lounge. That’s where Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee made his famous statement [after the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds]: “Don Gullett’s going to the Hall of Fame, and I’m going to the Eliot Lounge.”
The Eliot was a good sports bar without trying to be one. We didn’t wear referee shirts and stuff like that.
The Falmouth Road Race started right after the Vietnam War. I saw a lot of that drug culture. You want a high? Try running down to Chapoquoit Beach at sunset.