ROAD RACE’S 2021 BLOOD DRIVE WAS ANOTHER HUGE SUCCESS
The Manchester Road Race Committee celebrated its 85th anniversary and return to Main Street by partnering with the American Red Cross and sponsoring another highly successful blood drive on November 26th at Manchester High School.
Lance Morgan, a member of the MRR Executive Committee who coordinated the drive, said that 335 pints of blood, which will benefit 1005 patients in need of blood, plasma and platelets, were collected at the road race’s annual “Ray Crother’s Blood Drive.”
The blood collection effort, which began in 1986, honors the memory of Crothers, who won the road race in 1965 and ran in it for 43 years. Road Race officials decided to name the blood drive for the former champion after he died of cancer in 2008.
Morgan said that a total of 7,522 pints of blood have been donated at the event since it was initiated by the race committee 35 years ago
“We are ecstatic with the results,” said Morgan, who is a physician’s assistant and longtime MRR volunteer. “There is such a critical shortage of blood in our state and nation, and we are profoundly grateful to our wonderful donors, volunteers, the American Red Cross staff and our financial sponsors for making the blood drive so successful.”
Financial sponsorship for the “Ray Crothers Blood Drive” was once again provided by the Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN) and Eastern Connecticut Pathology Consultants (ECPC). Refreshments were provided by Highland Park Market and each donor received a Manchester Road Race tee shirt from the race committee.
Last November, although the road race was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the committee held the blood drive in conjunction with the Red Cross as usual on the day after Thanksgiving and collected 306 units of blood. In recent years the event has become one of the largest single-day collection efforts in the state.
“We intend to keep sponsoring the blood drive annually, Morgan added. It’s our way of showing thanks to the community that has been so tremendously supportive of our road race.”
TALENTED ELITE FIELDS ARE EXPECTED FOR 85th ANNUAL MANCHESTER ROAD RACE
Two former champions will be among the headliners in a talented field of elite runners who have registered to compete in the 85th Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day.
Race officials announced today that Sam Chelanga, winner at the 2013 MRR, and Edna Kiplagat, who captured the women’s title at 2019 road race, will compete.
Chelanga, 36, who is now serving as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, broke the tape here in 2013 with a time of 21:31. He also finished second at the 2014 MRR in 21:38. In 2010, Chelanga set the NCAA record of 27:08.49 in the 10,000 meters as an All-American competitor for Liberty University.
Kiplagat, one of the world’s best distance runners, became the MRR’s oldest champion when she won the 2019 MRR at the age of 40 in 24:30. She also finished fourth here in 2016 with a time of 24:34.
Other world-class male athletes who have entered this year’s 4.748-mile Turkey Trot include Ben Flanagan, who won the Falmouth Road Race in August with a time of 32:16 and finished eighth at the 2019 MRR in 22:16; Drew Hunter, the 2019 USA indoor two-mile champion who won the national 5K road championship in New York City on Nov. 6with a time of 13:53; and Olympian Donn Cabral, who was second at the 2015 MRR and has had seven top-10 finishes in Manchester. Cabral, a graduate of Glastonbury High School who was the NCAA champion in the steeplechase when he competed for Princeton, was the fastest runner (23:00) in last November’s Virtual Manchester Road Race.
Weini Kelati, who won the women’s national 5K road championship in New York City on Nov 6th with a time of 15:18, and Monicah Ngige, the fourth-place finisher at this year’s Boston Marathon who had a fourth-place finish here in 2018 (25:02), are also expected to make strong showings in the women’s race.
“Our elite runner coordinator, Jim Harvey, has done a brilliant job of assembling excellent fields of elite runners for our return to Main Street and the celebration of our 85th Manchester Road Race this year,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the road race committee. “It is going to be a very exciting road race,” he predicted.
FOX 61 TV AND WTIC RADIO WILL BROADCAST 85TH MANCHESTER ROAD RACE
Don’t fret if you’re not going to be in Manchester on Thanksgiving Day. You’ll still be able to catch all the fun, action and excitement of the 85th annual Manchester Road Race on television and radio.
The 4.748-mile holiday run through the town’s central streets will be broadcast live on television by Fox 61 and CW20, and livestreamed on Fox61.com and on the Fox 61 News app, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m on Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2021). The road race will also rebroadcast in its entirety on CW20 at 4 p.m. that afternoon.
Live coverage of the MRR will begin at 4 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning on the Fox 61 Morning News with anchors Tim Lammers and Erika Arias alongside race analyst Ian Brooks.
Fox 61’s Keith McGilvery, Julia LeBlanc and Jim Altman will provide live coverage from the course. Meteorologists Matt Scott and Dan Amarante will offer detailed weather forecasts during the hours leading up to the race.
“The Manchester Road Race is the only race of its length that is televised in the United States,” said Dr. Tris Carta. President of the Manchester Road Race Committee.
The MRR will be broadcast on radio by WTIC News Talk 1080 from 5:30 a.m.-11 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. WTIC News Talk 1080 is also livestreamed on Audacy.com or on the Audacy app. Ray Dunaway and Brian Shactman will broadcast from two locations in Manchester from 5:30 a.m. to 9:45a.m. on Thanksgiving. Jim Harvey, the MRR’s elite runner coordinator, and Matt Buckler, a sports writer with the Manchester Journal Inquirer, will announce the call of the race from 10-11 a.m. “We are very grateful to our media partners, Fox 61 and WTIC News Talk 1080, for their great coverage of our road race, and for giving folks who can’t be with us in person a front row seat on Main Street this Thanksgiving,” Carta said.
MANCHESTER ROAD RACE TO SPONSOR 35th ANNUAL RAY CROTHERS BLOOD DRIVE
The Manchester Road Race Committee will team up with the American Red Cross once again this November when it sponsors its annual blood drive on the day after the Thanksgiving Day run.
The 35th annual “Ray Crothers Blood Drive” will be held on Friday, November 26, 2021, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the gymnasium at Manchester High School, 134 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester. Everyone who donates a pint of blood will receive a Manchester Road Race tee shirt.
Walk-in donors are welcome. Appointments, which are encouraged, can be made by calling 1-800-733-2767, or on-line at the Red Cross website, www.redcrossblood.org.
The road race committee initiated the blood drive, which is held on the day after Thanksgiving, in 1986. The event is named in memory of Ray Crothers, a long-time participant and former MRR champion, who died of cancer in 2008.
Last year, although the MRR was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic, race organizers sponsored the blood drive as usual and collected 306 pints of blood, which benefited 918 patients in need of blood, plasma, and platelets. The local drive has in recent years become one of the largest single-day blood collection efforts in Connecticut, and 7,187 pints of blood have been donated at it since it began. Financial support is provided by ECHN and the Eastern Connecticut Pathology Group.
“Our success, collecting 306 pints of blood last year during the Covid pandemic, was due to our sponsors, ECHN and the Eastern Connecticut Pathology group, the many volunteers, the great staff of the American Red Cross, and all of our donors,” said Lance Morgan, a physician’s assistant and member of the MRR Executive Committee, who oversees the drive.
Morgan, and Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee, are both hopeful that even more donors will participate this year. “We are urging all of our runners, fans, and volunteers who possibly can to consider donating a pint of blood at out drive,” said Carta, a local dentist. “It will save lives and help so many people,” he added.
BUZE DIRIBA HAS WITHDRAWN HER ENTRY AT THIS YEAR’S EVENT
The Manchester Road Race announced today that course record-holder and former champion Buze Diriba has withdrawn her entry at this year’s event.
Diriba notified race officials that she is unable to compete due to health reasons. The 27-year-old runner from Ethiopia set the course mark of 23:57 in 2017 when she edged Molly Huddle by a step at the finish line.
“ROAD RACE SATURDAY” ACTIVITIES WILL CELEBRATE THE RETURN OF THE MANCHESTER ROAD RACE
The Manchester Road Race will be back on Main Street this Thanksgiving, and race officials have planned a full schedule of activities on Saturday, November 20th, to celebrate its return.
The Manchester Road Race Committee will host several “Road Race Saturday” events on November 20th at the Manchester High School, 134 East Middle Turnpike, in Manchester.
The road race’s Sports and Fitness Expo will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 12 noon in the high school cafeteria. Exhibits related to health, conditioning and training, running clothing and equipment and other subjects of interest will be on display. Persons who have pre-registered for the race will be able to pick up their registration packets and seeding cards. Financial sponsorship for the Sports and Fitness Expo is provided by Integrated Rehabilitation Services.
The Little Manchester Road Race for children 12 years of age and younger, will be held at 10 a.m. at the Manchester High School track. The event, which is sponsored by Henkel, with additional support from Fleet Feet of West Hartford, features several “run for fun” races for children in various age categories. Entries are limited to the first 1000 children who register. All participants in the LMRR will receive medals and long-sleeve tee shirts.
In addition, the Silk City Striders, a local running club, will hold its annual “Know Your Pace Race” at 8:30 a.m. on November 20th. Participants are requested to park in the M.H.S. parking lot and then proceed to East Center Street, where there will be registration and the event will start and finish on the south side of the street at the MRR course’s four-mile marker. The entry fee for the “Know Your Pace Race” is $5.
“The Manchester Road Race is back this year after a year off due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and the “Road Race Saturday” activities are the beginning of our race week celebration.”
RECORD HOLDER BUZE DIRIBA WILL RETURN TO THE MANCHESTER ROAD RACE
Buze Diriba, the women’s course record holder at the Manchester Road Race, will return to the event this Thanksgiving Day.
Diriba, 27, won the women’s championship at the 2017 MRR with a time of 23:57, edging runner-up Molly Huddle at the tape by a second. Both athletes eclipsed the old record of 23:59 for the 4.748-mile run that was set in 2003 by Canadian Olympian Emilie Mondor.
Diriba, who is originally from Ethiopia and who now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, also finished second here in 2018 behind Celliphine Chespol. Diriba was the World Junior Champion in the 5000 meters (15:32.94) in 2012, and she ran a personal best time of 1:06 for the half marathon when she placed fourth at the
2018 Houston Half Marathon.
Monicah Ngige, a Kenyan runner who placed fourth at last month’s Boston Marathon, has also registered to run in Manchester this November. Ngige, 28, was the fourth-place finisher at the 2018 MRR with a time of 25:02.
MANCHESTER ROAD RACE TO HONOR VETS AND SERVICE MEMBERS AGAIN THIS YEAR
The Manchester Road Race Committee will team up with local veterans’ organizations once again this November to honor all veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces who run in the Thanksgiving Day race.
For the fourth straight year, race organizers will hold a “Veterans’ Row Tribute” to recognize the service of Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve members and veterans entered in the MRR.
A pre-race reception with light refreshments will be held at the Vietnam Memorial, located at the corner of Main Street and East Center Street in Manchester, from 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. All military participants will receive an MRR commemorative pin. Vets and service members will also be honored when they run by the Veterans’ Row “Path of Honor” area on the race course, which will be located in front of the Vietnam Memorial, and lined with American flags, the POW-MIA flag, and the flags of all five branches of our nation’s Armed Forces.
The Manchester Veterans Council, American Legion Post 133 of South Windsor, American Legion Post 102 of Manchester, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2046 of Manchester, DAV Chapter 17 of Manchester. DAV Department of Connecticut, and the Manchester Army & Navy Club are co-hosting the event. The “Veterans’ Row Tribute” was the brainchild of Drew Crandall of the road race committee. Race Director Jim Balcome and committee member Tamara Womack-Speaks oversee the race’s military recognition efforts.
Veterans’ Row financial sponsors include Mastercam, Goodwin University, Horst Engineering, the Journal Inquirer, the Army & Navy Club, VFW Post 2046, DAV Department of Connecticut, and DAV Chapter 17. Refreshments will be provided by Highland Park Market.
The Manchester Road Race has had a long affiliation with veterans. A group of returning World War II vets revived the race in 1945 after a 10-year hiatus caused by the Great Depression and the War, and the local Army & Navy Club sponsored the event between 1945-1950. Additionally, MRR Champions Jim Gwin, Walter Bennett, Joe McCluskey, John Turley, Charlie Robbins, Ted Vogel, Tom Crane, Fred Schoeffler, John Kelley, Nick Costes, Pete Close, Vic Zwolak, Ray Crothers, Haron Lagat, Samuel Chelanga and Paul Chelimo were all military veterans. “We are very proud of the contributions that veterans have made to our race, and we are extremely grateful for the sacrifices made by everyone who has put on the uniform to serve in our military,” said Manchester Road Race President Dr. Tris Carta. “This is just our small way of saying ‘thank you’.”
BURFOOT’S STREAK EXPECTED TO CONTINUE
The streak continues.
Nine-time winner Amby Burfoot is expected to make two more entries into the Manchester Road Race record books this November.
The 75-year-old former Boston Marathon champion from Mystic has registered to run in the road race for a record 59th straight year.
In addition to the mark for most consecutive Manchester runs, Burfoot will also earn sole ownership of the record for most total finishes at the road race, if he completes the course on Thanksgiving Day. He’s currently tied for that record with Charlie Dyson, who won the MRR in 1956, and competed in it 58 times non-consecutively between 1951 and 2011. Dyson retired from running that year.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced the Manchester Road Race Committee to cancel its on-site race in 2020 and hold a virtual road race instead. The committee indicated then that all finishers in the virtual race would be credited with an official MRR finish for longevity streak purposes. Burfoot competed in the VMRR last November and toured the 4.748-mile course in 45:13.
KEYBANK TO SPONSOR MANCHESTER ROAD RACE HISTORICAL EXHIBIT
An exhibit chronicling the colorful history of the Manchester Road Race will be displayed at WORK_SPACE, 903 Main Street in Manchester, during the month of November. Sponsoring the exhibition will be MRR Contributing Sponsor KeyBank, whose main Manchester branch is just a few doors away at 923 Main Street, and just yards from the Road Race’s Start/Finish Line.
Historical artifacts, photographs and other displays about the road race, which will be run for the 85th time on Thanksgiving Day, will be available for public viewing. The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Manchester Road Race Committee, in cooperation with the Manchester Historical Society and WORK_SPACE.
The exhibit is entitled: “Thanksgiving in Manchester: A History of the Manchester Road Race.” There is no charge for admission. WORK_SPACE admission protocols will correspond to the latest Town of Manchester health regulations.
The exhibit will be open November 5th through November 25th, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, the display will also be available on Saturday, November 20th, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., in conjunction with the Little Manchester Road Race.
“We are celebrating our 85th anniversary and our return to Main Street after a year off due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “The road race has a rich tradition that means so much to our community, and we hope that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to see this exhibit.”
KeyBank has been an enthusiastic sponsor of the Manchester Road Race since coming to Manchester six years ago. “Our banks roots in Manchester and our support of the Manchester Road Race go back several decades to Manchester Savings Bank,” said KeyBank Market President James Barger. We are proud to be part of this long-standing community tradition and honored to be the bank of choice for so many residents and businesses.”
SECOND VACCINATION CLINIC TO BE HELD BY MANCHESTER ROAD RACE COMMITTEE
The second of two walk-in Covid-19 vaccination clinics sponsored by the Manchester Road Race Committee will be held on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Illing Middle School, 227 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester.
Race organizers are collaborating with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Griffin Hospital Community Outreach Mobile Vaccination Team to offer the vaccines. The clinics are free and open to everyone, and will offer the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
First and second vaccinations, and booster shots for those eligible under current guidelines to receive them, will be available. Persons seeking subsequent inoculations should bring their vaccination cards with them to the clinic.
First time vaccine recipients will receive a $20 gift certificate donated by Stop & Shop. Face masks must be worn at the clinic. Under current guidelines, anyone age 12 or older is eligible to receive the vaccines.
Race officials stressed that individuals do not have to be entered in the Manchester Road Race, or residents of Manchester, in order to be vaccinated at the clinic.
Although the vaccines will be administered free of charge, people are encouraged to bring their health insurance cards and a form of photo identification to the clinic. However, no one will be refused for lack of insurance or ID. “We are sponsoring the clinics in order to make this year’s road race as safe as it possibly can be”, said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “Seventy percent of eligible Connecticut residents have already received the shots, and we are urging everyone who is planning to run, watch or volunteer at our road race to be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving.”
SITE CHANGE ANNOUNCED FOR MANCHESTER ROAD RACE VACCINATION CLINICS
The location of two Covid-19 vaccination clinics sponsored by the Manchester Road Race Committee has been changed, race officials announced today. The clinics will be held in the cafeteria of the Illing Middle School, 227 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday October 16 and on Saturday November 6th. It was previously announced that the clinics would be held at Manchester High School cafeteria. Race organizers are collaborating with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Griffin Hospital Community Outreach Mobile Vaccination Team to offer the vaccines. The clinics are free and open to everyone and will offer the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. First and second vaccinations, and Pfizer booster shots for those who qualify under current guidelines to receive them, will be available to receive them. First time vaccine recipients will receive a $20 gift certificate donated by Stop& Shop. Face masks must be worn at the clinics. Anyone age 12 or older is eligible for the vaccine. Race officials again stressed that individuals do not have to be entered in the Manchester Road Race, or residents of Manchester, in order to be vaccinated at the clinics. Although the vaccines will be administered free of charge, people are encouraged to bring their health insurance cards and a form of photo identification to the clinics. However, no one will be refused for lack of insurance or ID. The Manchester Road Race Committee is strongly urging all who wish to run, watch or volunteer at this year’s road race to be fully vaccinated prior to Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2021) when the event is held. MRR officials said that the three-week period between the October 16th and November 6th clinics will enable persons receiving the Pfizer vaccine to be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving. “These clinics are part of our effort, in consultation with the Town of Manchester and the State of Connecticut, to make this year’s road race as safe and as healthy as possible for everyone,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race.
MANCHESTER ROAD RACE COMMITTEE TO SPONSOR TWO COVID-19 VACCINATION CLINICS
The Manchester Road Race Committee will sponsor two walk-in Covid-19 clinics during the weeks prior to the Thanksgiving Day run, race officials announced today.
Race organizers are collaborating with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Griffin Hospital Community Outreach Mobile Vaccination Team to offer the vaccines. The clinics will be held at the Manchester High School cafeteria (134 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, October 16th, and Saturday, November 6th.
The clinics are free, open to everyone, and will offer the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. First and second vaccinations, and Pfizer booster shots for those who qualify under current guidelines to receive them, will be available at the clinics. First-time vaccine recipients will receive a $20 gift certificate donated by Stop & Shop. Face masks must be worn at the clinics.
Anyone age 12 or older is eligible for the vaccine. You do not have to be entered in the Manchester Road Race, or a resident of Manchester, in order to be vaccinated. Although the vaccines will be administered free of charge, individuals are encouraged to bring their health insurance cards and a form of photo identification to the clinics. However, no one will be refused for lack of insurance or ID.
MRR officials said that the three-week period between the October 16th and November 6th clinic dates will enable persons receiving the Pfizer vaccine to be fully immunized prior to the Thanksgiving Day Road Race.
“We are strongly urging everyone who wants to run, watch, or volunteer at the race to get the shots and be fully vaccinated prior to Thanksgiving,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “These clinics are part of our effort, in consultation with the Town of Manchester and the State of Connecticut, to make this year’s road race as safe and healthy as possible for everyone.”
Further information about the Covid-19 vaccines, their safety, and effectiveness can be found at the Griffin Hospital website.
DAVE SMITH ADMITTED TO ROCKVILLE H.S. ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME
Long-time Manchester Road Race volunteer Dave Smith of Vernon was inducted into the Rockville High School Athletic Hall of Fame on September 19th.
Smith, a teacher at Rockville High for many years, was the coach of the school’s cross country and track and field teams from 1989-2006
Smith has volunteered at the MRR’s finish line for decades. He also served for many years on the MRR Executive Committee.
“Dave is an innovative educator and terrific coach,” said Jim Balcome, the MRR Race Director and a colleague of Smith’s at R.H.S. “He truly deserves this honor.”
KIM SMITH SELECTED AS HONORARY CHAIR OF MANCHESTER ROAD RACE
Kim Smith, a three-time Olympian from New Zealand who won the Manchester Road Race twice, will serve as the event’s honorary chairperson this November, road race officials announced today.
Smith, 39, captured back-to-back Thanksgiving Day championships in Manchester in 2004 and 2005. When she beat Amy Rudolph in 2004 to win the women’s division in 24:47, Smith finished in 25th place overall. She defended her title the following year with a time of 24:23 and placed 27th. Approximately 10,000 male and female runners competed in each race.
Smith won four individual NCAA championships in track and cross country while competing for Coach Ray Treacy at Providence College. Smith transferred to Providence from the Auckland College of Education in New Zealand during her junior year. The four NCAA titles that she earned in two years are the most won by any runner in the school’s history.
Smith represented New Zealand at the Olympic Games at Athens in 2004 (5000 meters), at Beijing in 2008 (10,000 meters) and at London in 2012 (marathon). She finished 15th in the marathon at the London Olympics in 2:26:59.
Retired from competitive athletics since 2016 and now living in Rhode Island, Smith set 14 New Zealand national records for track and road racing. They include times of 14:39 for the indoor 5000 meters, 30:35 for the 10,000 meters, 1:07.11 for the half marathon and 2:25:21 in the marathon.
Smith’s record of 1:07.11 in the half marathon, set in 2011 in Philadelphia, was the fastest time ever posted by a woman in the event on U.S. soil at that time.
“Kim Smith is an extremely versatile and talented athlete who had marvelous performances here,” said Dr. Tris Carta, Manchester Road Race President. “It’s very difficult to win our race two years in a row, but Kim made it look easy.”
“We are extremely honored and pleased that Kim has agreed to serve as our honorary chairperson this year,” Carta added. “It will be great to welcome her back to Manchester.”
REGISTRATION FOR 85TH MANCHESTER ROAD RACE WILL BEGIN ON SEPTEMBER 1ST
Registration for the 85th annual Manchester Road Race, Connecticut’s largest and oldest holiday run, will begin on September 1st.
Runners can enter the 4.748-mile race, which starts at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2021), online at www.manchesterroadrace.com.
The registration fee is $32 prior to October 1st, and $37 thereafter. Walk-in entries can be made in person on November 20th between 9 a.m. and 12 noon at the MRR Sports Expo at Manchester High School. Registration closes at noon (EST) on November 23rd. No post entries will be accepted on race day.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced the Manchester Road Race Committee to cancel its on-site road race last November and hold a virtual event instead. A total of 1749 runners from throughout Connecticut, the United States, and the world, participated in the Virtual Manchester Road Race by running the 4.748-mile distance at locations of their choice while being tracked by a GPS-enabled app on their cell phones.
Race organizers, in consultation with the Town of Manchester, are currently making plans to resume holding the traditional on-site road race through the town’s central streets this year on Thanksgiving morning.
“Obviously, we will be guided by the state and local pandemic protocols and regulations that will be in place in November, and how the race will be conducted will depend on conditions that exist then,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “But we are enthusiastically looking forward to seeing the runners back on Main Street this Thanksgiving,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to make it a thoroughly safe and enjoyable competition and celebration, and we are strongly urging all of our runners, spectators and volunteers to be fully vaccinated.” Carta added that the race committee will remain in close contact with public health officials, and provide further guidance to runners and spectators on the race website during the coming weeks.
Carta indicated that the response to the new cell phone app was so enthusiastic in 2020 that this year’s race will be hybrid. “Every entrant who signs up this year will automatically have the capacity to either run on our regular course on Thanksgiving morning, or to participate remotely by using the cell phone app,” he said.
According to Carta, runners who choose to compete on the Manchester course on race day will be tracked via the timing chips in their bibs, and will not have to carry phones. Runners who opt to participate virtually at another location will be tracked and timed by the cell phone app.
Virtual runners will be credited with an official MRR finish for longevity streak purposes but will not be eligible to receive awards or recognition for record times. The virtual race will be held during a 36-hour period, starting at 6 a.m. (EST) on Thanksgiving Day and ending at 6 p.m. (EST) the following day (Friday, November 26th).
MANCHESTER ROAD RACE COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR 2021 RUN
The runners will return to Main Street and a revered holiday tradition will resume in Manchester on Thanksgiving morning.
The Manchester Road Race Committee announced today that it is making plans to hold its usual 4.748-mile run on Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2021).
The Covid-19 pandemic forced the committee to cancel the road race last Thanksgiving and hold a virtual event instead. Based on the elimination of most pandemic restrictions in the state, and after conferring recently with town officials, race organizers now have the green light to stage the traditional holiday run through the town’s central streets.
“We’re back,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “Barring any adverse changes in the current public health conditions or state and federal regulations, we will hold our regular road race this year,” he said. “We’ve already begun planning, and we are hoping to make the 85th annual Manchester Road Race a very special celebration.”
“There’s nothing quite as special as Thanksgiving morning in Manchester, Connecticut,” said Manchester Mayor Jay Moran. “The Town is thrilled to be hosting the Manchester Road Race once again.”
In addition to holding the on-site road race on Thanksgiving, the MRR committee will sponsor a virtual road race again this year. Runners anywhere in the world can participate in the race by using the MRR’s proprietary timing app on their smart phones. Approximately 2,000 runners and walkers entered last year’s Virtual Manchester Road Race. The race committee also sponsored a highly successful blood drive on the day after Thanksgiving last November that collected 306 pints of blood for the American Red Cross.
Carta emphasized that the race committee is “strongly urging” that all runners and volunteers receive Covid-19 vaccinations prior to this year’s road race. “We want the Manchester Road Race to be as safe as we can possibly make it, and that will of course depend heavily on the cooperation of our participants and volunteers in getting fully vaccinated,” Carta said. He added that the race committee will work closely with the town and continually monitor public health conditions and state and federal guidance between now and November.
Manchester Director of Public Health Jeffrey Catlett stated that “the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions here in Connecticut is a direct result of our successful vaccination efforts.” “The vaccine is safe, effective and the reason why we are able to hold this year’s race in person,” he added. “So far 98% of Manchester residents over age 65 have received at least one vaccine dose, plus nearly 75% of those over 45 and over half of residents over age 15. To ensure the positive trends continue, we are asking any eligible resident who has yet to be vaccinated to sign up.”
The race committee will announce details about the status of other race week events, including the Little Manchester Road Race, in the near future, Carta said.
The 85th Manchester Road Race will be held at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The race, which is run on a loop course, starts and finishes on Main Street in Manchester, in front of St. James Church.
On-line registration for the road race will open on September 1st.
MANCHESTER ROAD RACE COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES DONATIONS FROM 2020 VIRTUAL EVENT
Although the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Manchester Road Race Committee to hold a virtual event last November, it didn’t stop the group from continuing its decades-long tradition of charitable giving.
The race committee announced today that it will donate a total of $40,000 to four nonprofit organizations this month.
The coronavirus health crisis prevented race officials from holding the traditional Turkey Day run through the town’s central streets last November. It was the first time since 1945 that the annual holiday race was not held in Manchester on Thanksgiving morning. The committee held a virtual road race instead.
The first-ever Virtual Manchester Road Race attracted approximately 2,000 registered runners who used the MRR’s proprietary app on their smartphones while they ran the 4.748-mile distance at locations throughout Connecticut, the United States, and in several foreign countries during the week prior to Thanksgiving
Carta said that in order to combat food insecurity in the community that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and its resultant economic impact, the committee will give $20,000 to the Manchester Area Conference of Churches Food Pantry. A check for $10,000 will be sent to the Muscular Dystrophy Association to support its research efforts. The fight against the crippling childhood disease has been a primary charitable objective of MRR sponsors since the early 1950s.
Two donations of $5000 each will be made to the Manchester Police Activities League and to Dinda House, a transitional living facility for veterans that is located in Manchester.
“We are able to make these contributions thanks to the tremendous generosity of our financial sponsors and virtual road race entrants,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “Because of the devastating economic conditions caused by the pandemic, the race committee believed that it was imperative to provide whatever financial support we could this year.”
The principal financial sponsors of the 2020 Virtual Manchester Road Race were Pratt & Whitney and Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN).
Carta noted that the MRR also “gave back” to the community last November when it sponsored a highly successful blood drive in conjunction with the Connecticut Chapter of American Red Cross on the day after Thanksgiving. A total of 306 pints of blood were collected, which will help 918 hospital patients in need of blood, plasma, and platelets.
Carta said that the road race committee will begin planning for next November’s 85th annual MRR shortly. “We will be consulting soon with officials from the state and the Town of Manchester and will make an announcement as soon as we feasibly can,” Carta said. “Public health and safety will be our only concern, but we are obviously hoping and praying that we’ll be able to hold the road race on Main Street on Thanksgiving morning.”