Dateline: 4/26/2017

The Manchester Road Race Committee will honor Olympic medalist Joe McCluskey at two events in May.

McCluskey, a Manchester native who graduated from Manchester High School in 1929, won the bronze medal in the 3000 meters steeplechase at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games.  An All-American runner at Fordham University, McCluskey won 27 national track titles and was a four-time Manchester Road Race Champion. He died in 2002 at the age of 91 in Madison, Conn.

The race committee will hold a “Joe McCluskey Reception” on Friday, May 19th, from 7-9 p.m. at the Manchester Historical Society, 175 Pine Street in Manchester.  There will be a brief presentation about McCluskey’s storied athletic career.  Michael Keropian, a New York sculptor, will also speak about his efforts to create a life-sized bronze statue of the Olympic medalist for Manchester’s Sculpture Project.

The reception is open to the public and there is no admission charge.  Because of limited seating availability, those wishing to attend the reception should call 860-646-2251 by May 15th.

McCluskey will also be remembered at the Randy Smith Journal Inquirer Invitational Track & Field Meet on Saturday May 20th. The meet will be held at the Manchester High School track located at 134 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester. A memorial stone commissioned in McCluskey’s honor by the Manchester Road Race Committee will be dedicated at 12:45 p.m.  The inaugural “Joe McCluskey 2000 Meters Steeplechase” races for male and female athletes will be run at the high school track at approximately 1:30 p.m.  Olympian Donn Cabral of Glastonbury and All-American runner Ashley Higginson will compete in those races.

The Manchester Road Race Committee recently donated funds for the construction of steeplechase hurdles and a water jump pit at the MHS track.

“Joe McCluskey was Manchester’s greatest athlete, and we are delighted to honor him for all that he means to our road race and our town,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee.  Carta added that the Manchester Board of Directors and Mayor Jay Moran have proclaimed May 20th as “Joe McCluskey Day” in Manchester.


Dateline: 3/5/2017

Muscular Dystrophy research, and the effort to erect a statue in honor of Manchester’s greatest runner, will soon receive big financial boosts from the Manchester Road Race.

Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee, announced today that $100,755 from the proceeds of last November’s Thanksgiving Day run will be distributed among 18 charities and non-profit organizations.

A check for $20,000 will be sent to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  The Manchester Road Race has been raising funds to find a cure for the crippling childhood disease since the early 1950s.

The Manchester Historical Society’s Sculpture Project will receive $10,000.  The society has commissioned a statue of Manchester native Joe McCluskey, who in 1932 won a bronze medal in the 3000 meters steeplechase at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.  McCluskey, a graduate of Manchester High School and Fordham University, was a four-time winner of the Manchester Road Race.

The Manchester Historical Society will also be given a separate grant of $2500 to preserve and store memorabilia and artifacts donated to the Manchester Road Race collection.

Other charitable events or organizations that will benefit from last year’s race include: Manchester Area Conference of Churches ($10,000); Manchester Police Activities League ($10,000); M.A.R.C. ($10,000); Manchester Land Conservation Trust ($5755); Foodshare ($5000); Girls on the Run of Southeastern Connecticut ($5000); Manchester Rebuilding Together ($5000); Randy Smith Journal Inquirer Track Meet ($4000); Manchester Community Emergency Response Team ($4000); UNICO ($2500); Harry Geraghty Cross Country Meet ($2500); Manchester High School Track Team steeplechase project ($2000); Nearac Earth Cycling Seven Lakes Ride ($1000), and the Manchester High School Track Team shoe fund ($1000).

In addition, race officials will donate $500 to the favorite charity of Olympian Cathy O’Brien, who served as the Honorary Chairperson of the 2016 MRR.

“The Manchester Road Race is blessed with truly wonderful sponsors, runners, volunteers and spectators whose combined efforts make donations like these possible year after year,” Carta said. “We are so grateful to all of them, and we are delighted that our race can help so many worthwhile causes.”

The 4.748-mile Manchester Road Race is held annually on Thanksgiving Day at 10 a.m on a loop course through the town’s central streets.  It starts and finishes on Main Street, in front of St. James Church. Some of the world’s best distance runners compete in the annual holiday run, which in recent years has attracted fields that are capped at 15,000 participants.