Both men were given the same time, 32:14.
“It feels really good,” said Sambu, of the historic victory in what became a two-man race from around Mile 4.
A field of 12,800 was entered for the 45th running of the race, which was founded in 1973 by Tommy Leonard.
Also defending her title was Kenya’s Caroline Chepkoech, who had an easier time of it than Sambu: Her winning time of 35:53 put her a full minute ahead of runner-up Mary Wacera of Kenya (36:53), the widest margin of victory on the women’s side since 1982. Jess Tonn, sixth in 37:49, was first American.
“I was giving everything,” said Chepkoech, whose lead was eight seconds before Mile 3 and 30 seconds by Mile 5. “I was racing to go in front. When I see back I saw nobody can follow me and I tried to push, push. I feel lucky, I am happy, and I feel strong!”
Sambu and Chepkoech each took home $10,000 for the win, with Chepkoech—for the second straight year—earning a $5000 bonus as winner of The Countdown, sponsored by Aetna. Chepkoech easily beat the clock and Sambu against a time gap of 4:33.
Making some history of his own was 19-year-old Daniel Romanchuk, whose 23:16 victory in the wheelchair division broke the course record of 23:32 set by James Senbeta in 2014. He had to work hard for it, battling it out with eventual runner-up Krige Schabort (23:29, also under the previous course record) until taking the lead at the top of the final hill. Canada’s Josh Cassidy managed an impressive third place (25:02) despite suffering a flat tire midway through the race.
Winning for the third time here in the women’s wheelchair division was 17-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden, in 27:36, over Nigeria’s Hannah Babalola (29:12) and Massachusetts native Katrina Gerhard (29:32).
About Falmouth Road Race
The New Balance Falmouth Road Race was established in 1973 and has become one of the premier running events of the summer season. Each year the race draws an international field of Olympians, elite and recreational runners out to enjoy the iconic 7-mile seaside course. The non-profit Falmouth Road Race organization is committed to promoting health and fitness through community programs and philanthropic giving.