RACE SPONSORS ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL BLOOD DRIVE (November 25, 2022)
On the day after it held a road race that attracted 9,641 registered runners and featured a new course record by men’s champion Conner Mantz and an exciting title defense by women’s winner Weini Kelati, the Manchester Road Race Committee sponsored a highly successful blood drive as an encore.
Road Race officials announced today that 364 pints of blood, which will benefit 1092 patients in need of blood, plasma, and platelets, were collected on Friday at the Ray Crothers Memorial Blood Drive. In 2021, 335 pints of blood were donated at the MRR event.
“We were delighted by the turnout and we are so grateful to our wonderful donors, volunteers and sponsors,” said Lance Morgan, a local physician assistant and member of the MRR’s Executive Committee who headed the blood drive. “There is a critical shortage of blood in Connecticut right now, and the generous response of the people who rolled up their sleeves to donate will definitely save lives.”
The blood drive, which the race committee co-sponsored with the American Red Cross of Connecticut, was held at Manchester High School. All donors received Manchester Road Race tee shirts.
One of Connecticut’s largest single-day blood collection efforts, the blood drive began in 1986, and has been held in Manchester annually since then on the day following the road race. In 2008, organizers named the event in memory of Ray Crothers, a beloved former MRR champion from Tolland, who died of cancer that year.
Morgan noted that the 364 units of blood that were donated Friday brought the total number of pints collected by the MRR since 1986 to 7886.
Financial sponsorship for the 2022 Ray Crothers Memorial Blood Drive was provided by ECHN, Eastern Connecticut Pathology Group and Highland Park Market.
TOYOTA TUNDRA TO SERVE AS MRR OFFICIAL PACE CAR (November 16, 2022)
The Manchester Road Race Committee has announced that the Official Pace Car of the 86th edition of the Thanksgiving Day Race will be the Toyota Tundra provided by your Connecticut Toyota Dealers.
This will be the third straight year that a Toyota vehicle was named as the Pace Car. In 2020 it was a Toyota Supra, and last year a Toyota 4Runner led the way for runners on Manchester's just-under five-mile course on Thanksgiving morning.
This year the Connecticut Toyota Dealers will also have a display on Main Street in front of Bennett Academy where Race participants and spectators can check out the Toyota Tundra Pace Car and another Toyota vehicle both before the Race start and after the last MRR walkers have turned the corner off of Main Street. Or they can visit one of the 16 Connecticut Toyota Dealers for a more leisurely and personalized experience.
The Toyota Tundra was born to lead. Engineered with uncompromising power. Equipped with advanced capability features. And decked out with premium creature comforts inside. It begs drivers to take the reins and get ready for unforgettable adventures.
The Toyota Tundra is modern muscle. From the ground up, Tundra’s design pays homage to Toyota’s legendary adventurous look. Bold lines, bulging fenders and a powerful front grille hint at the capability that lives under the sheet metal and show onlookers that this truck can handle the toughest demands.
THERE IS STILL TIME TO REGISTER FOR THE MANCHESTER ROAD RACE (November 15, 2022)
If you are among the thousands of runners and walkers who are planning to participate in the 86th Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day, but have not registered, there is still time left to enter.
The Manchester Road Race Committee is reminding runners that registration for the annual holiday run will remain open until Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EST. On-line entries must be submitted prior to then, at www.manchesterroadrace.com,
The road race committee has also scheduled walk-in registration and bib pick-up at several area locations on the following dates:
- Saturday, November 19, 2022 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Manchester High School cafeteria, 134 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester;
- Monday, November 21, 2022 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. at Fleet Feet, 1003 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford; and,
- Tuesday, November 22, 2022 from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Urban Lodge Brewery, 47 Purnell Place in Manchester.
Entrants who have already registered will also be able to pick up their number bibs on Thanksgiving morning from 8-9 a.m. at the Bennet Academy’s Cone Gymnasium, 1551 Main Street in Manchester. No post entries will be accepted on race day.
Last year, 8776 runners, who ranged from Olympians and collegiate champions to joggers and walkers, registered for the MRR, which is run at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (November 24, 2022) on a 4.748-mile loop course through Manchester’s central streets. The race starts and finishes on Main Street, in front of St. James Church. Race organizers are anticipating an even larger field this year.
“We are urging everyone who wishes to participate to enter before the deadline, so that they’ll receive their number bib and have their time officially recorded,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee.
WTIC NEWSTALK 1080 WILL BROADCAST MRR ON RADIO (November 13, 2022)
WTIC Newstalk 1080 will once again broadcast the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day.
Brian Shactman will host a remote broadcast from Main Street in Manchester on Thanksgiving morning from 5:30 a.m.-9:45 a.m. His program will originate from WORK_SPACE at 903 Main Street, which is located near the MRR’s start/finish line. He will interview runners, race officials and other guests associated with the road race during the broadcast.
WTIC Newstalk 1080 will also provide live radio coverage of the road race, including interviews with the winners, from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Jim Harvey, the MRR’s elite runner coordinator, and Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee, will handle the call of the race, which is expected to draw thousands of participants, including some of the world’s best long distance runners.
WTIC Newstalk 1080 is Connecticut’s local station for breaking news, traffic, weather, and sports, plus discussions of local and national topics. The station has been a radio media partner of the MRR for many years.
STREET CLOSURES ANNOUNCED FOR MANCHESTER ROAD RACE (November 12, 2022)
Manchester Road Race officials are alerting the public that there will be road closures and traffic disruptions in the central Manchester area when the 86th edition of the holiday run is held on Thanksgiving Day (November 24, 2022).
The MRR, which annually attracts thousands of runners and spectators to downtown Manchester, is run on a 4.748-mile loop course through the town’s central streets that starts and finishes on Main St, in front of St. James Church. The race begins at 10 a.m.
Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee reported that race organizers are coordinating with the Manchester Police Department and the Connecticut State Police to plan for the street closures and traffic disruptions. “As always, concern for public safety is our foremost objective,” he said.
In preparation for the race, the Manchester Police Department announced that there will be no parking allowed on East Center St from Lenox St to Center St during the overnight period of Wednesday Nov. 23 (midnight) through 1:00 p.m. on Thursday Nov. 24. There will also be no parking allowed on Main St from Center St to Hartford Rd during the same period of Wednesday Nov. 23 (midnight) 1pm Thursday Nov. 24. If necessary, vehicles will be towed.
Downtown Main St will be closed to traffic between Bissell St and Maple St at 5:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning to allow construction crews to erect the fencing and ropes along the roadway. Main St closures will be extended from East Center St to Charter Oak St starting at 5:30 a.m.
All local roads intersecting the race course route will be closed at 9 a.m. Vehicular traffic will not be permitted to enter or leave the interior of the race course during the road race. A map of the MRR course, and the interior streets that will be affected by the closures, can be viewed on “Race Info & Rules” at www.manchesterroadrace.com.
Exit ramps from I-384 that abut the road race course will be closed from 8:45 a.m.-11:30 a.m. These include: Westbound Exit 3 (Charter Oak St); Westbound Exit 4 (Highland St); Eastbound Exit 3 (Main St); and Eastbound Exit 4 (Wyllys St).
Normal traffic should resume at approximately 11:30 a.m.
“We want everyone, especially those residents who live on streets located within the interior of the road race course, to be aware of the road closures so they can make their holiday plans,” Carta said. “If you need to travel during the race, please be sure to leave before the roads close at 9:00 a.m.”
Carta noted that due to the high volume of traffic expected in Manchester on race day, the committee will once again offer free shuttle bus service to and from the event. The buses will run from the Manchester Community College parking lot to Main Street before the race and return to MCC after the event concludes. More information about the shuttle bus service, including a schedule of operation, can be obtained on “Shuttle, Parking & Rest Rooms” at www.manchesterroadrace.com
FOX61 & FOX61+ TO BROADCAST AND LIVESTREAM THE 86th MRR (NOVEMBER 12, 2022)
FOX61 announced plans today to live broadcast and lives stream the 86th Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 24th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. on FOX61 and the FOX61+ app, available on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. ECHN is the presenting sponsor for the broadcast and livestream and Dunkin is the official coffee of the Manchester Road Race, with additional sponsorship from the Hartford Wolf Pack.
An estimated 10,000 registered runners and walkers are expected to participate in the only road race of its length to be televised in the United States.
“This is Thanksgiving in Manchester,” said Race Director Jim Balcome, who is stepping down after 47 years leading the event. “All runners and walkers are treated equally from the top finishers to the last person to cross the finish line. The broadcast and livestream will help convey that sentiment to a wide audience.”
“We are again honored to partner with FOX61 to bring live coverage of the race to the people of Connecticut and beyond,” said Dr. Tris Carta, president of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “Our combined effort captures the support of our town, the dedication of our runners, the drama of the finish and the fun had by all.”
“The Manchester Road Race is truly one of our signature events each year, and we are honored to continue the Thanksgiving tradition of broadcasting and live streaming the race,” said FOX61 General Manager Humberto Hormaza. “It is truly a unique Connecticut Thanksgiving celebration, and we are thrilled to provide this service to the community.”
“FOX61 News is proud to provide coverage of the race and the celebration on the streets of Manchester,” said FOX61 News Director Richard Washington III. “It takes a major commitment to carry the race and our entire team is excited to be back at it again this year.”
FOX61’s live coverage from the Manchester Road Race begins on Thanksgiving Day at 4:00 a.m. on The FOX61 Morning News, Connecticut’s only all-local all-morning newscast. The race broadcast is hosted by FOX61 News anchors Tim Lammers and Erika Arias, along with race analyst Ian Brooks. FOX61 News anchor Keith McGilvery and reporters Jim Altman, Julia LeBlanc and Brooke Griffin will provide live coverage from the course, with FOX 61 meteorologist Matt Scott providing detailed weather forecasts in the hours leading up to the race.
GABRIELA DeBUES-STAFFORD WITHDRAWS FROM MRR (November 11, 2022)
Manchester Road Race officials announced today that Canadian Olympian Gabriela DeBues-Stafford has withdrawn from the Thanksgiving Day run due to an injury sustained while training.
DeBues-Stafford, who holds two Canadian national records and placed fifth in the 1500 meters at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, had hoped to make her road racing debut at the MRR.
CHELANGA, BOR AND BUTCHART TO COMPETE AT MRR (November 10, 2022)
Three world-class athletes who have plenty of experience at the Manchester Road Race will return on Thanksgiving Day to compete again on the 4.748-mile loop course through the town’s central streets.
Sam Chelanga, Hilary Bor and Andy Butchart have all entered this year’s run, the Manchester Road Race Committee announced today.
Chelanaga, won the road race in 2013 with a time of 21:31 and finished third last year in 21:37. The 37-year-old former NCAA 10,000 meters champion is serving as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and competes for its World Class Athlete Program (WCAP).
Hilary Bor, who will turn 33 on November 22nd, is a former Army WCAP runner who earned All-American honors at Iowa State University. Bor will be making his fourth appearance in Manchester. He placed fifth here in 2019 (21:34), eighth in 2018 (22:03) and was the 13th finisher at the 2016 MRR (22:03). Bor was the runner-up at the 2022 USATF 5K Championship in New York City on Nov.5th.
Butchart, 31, is a Scottish runner who competed for the United Kingdom at the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympic Games and holds Scotland’s records for the 3000, 5000 and 10,000 meters. Butchart had back-to-back third place finishes at the MRR in 2018 (21:45) and 2019 (21:23).
The trio will likely be challenged by two newcomers to the road race, Cam Levins, and Conner Mantz.
Levins, 33, ran for Canada in the 2012 and 2020 Olympic Games. He finished fourth in the marathon at this year’s World Championships with a time of 2:07:09.
Mantz, 25, won the 2020 and 2021 NCAA Division 1 Cross Country Championships competing for Brigham Young University. He placed seventh at the Chicago Marathon on Oct 9th in the time of 2:08:16, the fastest marathon debut ever run by a natural-born U.S. Citizen.
KELATI TO DEFEND TITLE AT MANCHESTER ROAD RACE (November 4, 2022)
Weini Kelati, who won the women’s championship at the 2021 Manchester Road Race in the jaw-dropping record time of 22:55, will be back to defend her title on Thanksgiving morning, race officials announced today.
Kelati commanded last year’s road race from start to finish, running much of the course with the male elite leaders, and shaving more than a minute off the former record of 23:57 that was set by Buze Diriba in 2017.
The 25-year-old runner, who was born in Eritrea and won two individual NCAA championships at the University of New Mexico, finished in 18th place overall last year and also won the race’s “Queen of the Hill” prize, which is awarded to the first female runner to reach the top of the Highland Street hill.
Kelati’s spectacular performance at the 2021 MRR was recently recognized by the Manchester Sports Hall of Fame, which in September presented her its “Joe McCluskey Award” for outstanding contributions to the road race.
Kelati’s return to the event will enhance an already talent-laden field of elite women runners that includes Canadian Olympian Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, Ethiopian distance standout Anna Dibaba, and Cynthia Limo of Kenya, who ran 1:06:04 in the half marathon in 2016..
Also expected to be among the top female finishers is Jordan Hasay of Arroyo Grande, California, who finished third at the 2019 Boston Marathon and has a personal best time of 2:20: 57 for the marathon. Hasay placed third at the 2016 MRR (24:27).
MRR WILL HONOR VETERANS AGAIN THIS THANKSGIVING (November 2, 2022)
The Manchester Road Race Committee and local veterans organizations will collaborate once again this year to honor the Armed Forces members and veterans who are running in the annual road race.
Race officials announced today that they will hold their “Veterans’ Row Tribute” for all Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve service members and veterans who enter the road race on Thanksgiving Day.
A pre-race reception with light refreshments is scheduled from 8:15 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is located near the corner of Main Street and East Center Street in Manchester. All veterans will receive a MRR commemorative pin.
Service members and veterans running in the race will also be honored when they pass by the Veterans’ Row “Path of Honor” near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during the 4.748-mile race. The “Path of Honor” will be lined with American flags, the POW/MIA flag, and the flags from all branches of the armed services.
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 with the road race committee.
The Veterans’ Row tribute was the brainchild of Drew Crandall, a MRR committee member. Paul Scappaticci, Commander of DAV Chapter 17, Race Director Jim Balcome, and MRR committee member Tamara Womack-Speaks oversee the race’s military recognition efforts.
Sponsors include the Army & Navy Club, DAV Chapter 17, Horst Engineering, Mastercam, Whitcraft, and VFW Post 2046. Refreshments will be provided by Highland Park Market.
The MRR has a long affiliation with veterans. A group of returning World War II service members revived the race in 1945 after a 10-year hiatus due to the Great Depression and the war. The Army & Navy Club sponsored the event from 1945-50, and the road race has been won 25 times by veterans.
“We are honoring the service and sacrifices of all our runners who served in the military to keep us safe and free,’ said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “We are extremely grateful to each of them and we’re also exceptionally proud of all the contributions vets have made to the history of our race.”
TOP FEMALE ELITE ATHLETES TO RUN AT THIS YEAR’S MRR (October 28, 2022)
Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, a two-time Canadian Olympian who finished fifth in the 1500 meters at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has entered the 86th Manchester Road Race, race officials announced today.
DeBues-Stafford, 27, holds Canadian national records of 3:56 in the 1500 meters and 14:31 for 5000 meters. According to Jim Harvey, the MRR’s elite runner coordinator, her times are the fastest personal records for those events recorded by any of the elite female runners who will run in Manchester on Thanksgiving Day.
DeBues-Stafford lives in Victoria, British Columbia and will be making her long anticipated road racing debut at the MRR.
Anna Dibaba, who competes for Ethiopia in the 1500 meters, 5000 meters, mile and half marathon, is another international runner to watch at this year’s race. Dibaba, 23, placed fourth at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in January with a time of 1:14.09.
Anna is the younger sister of three-time Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba, and Genzebe Dibaba, who holds the world record in the 1500 meters. Vogue Magazine once called the Dibaba sisters the “fastest family on the planet.” This will be Anna Dibaba’s initial outing at the MRR.
POPULAR ROAD RACE SATURDAY EVENTS WILL KICK OFF RACE WEEK IN MANCHESTER (October 24, 2022)
The Manchester Road Race Committee announced today that it will once again host several popular “Road Race Saturday” activities as a prelude to its annual 4.748-mile road race on Thanksgiving Day.
The committee has scheduled the “Little Manchester Road Race” and the MRR “Sports Expo” at Manchester High School, 134 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester, on Saturday, November 19th. Hoffman Lexus is the Presenting Sponsor of “Road Race Saturday” and will have several new Lexus vehicles on display.
The Little Manchester Road Race is for children ages 12 and under and features several “run for fun” races of different distances for kids in various age categories. It will start at 10 a.m. on November 19th at the M.H.S. track. Entries are limited to the first 1000 children who register at www.manchesterroadrace.com. There will be entertainment, including skydivers, music, fun activities presented by the Connecticut Science Center, and a fire truck on display. All participants in the LMRR will receive medals and long-sleeve tee shirts.
The LMRR’s Presenting Sponsor is Henkel. Supporting Sponsors are KeyBank, Onyx Elite and Fleet Feet. Waypoint Wealth Solutions, and Highland Park Market are providing additional support.
The MRR Sports Expo will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 12 noon on November 19th in the high school cafeteria. Exhibits related to health, conditioning and training, running gear and clothing, and other subjects of interest to runners will be on display. MRR shirts and other apparel will be available for purchase.
Financial sponsorship for the Sports Expo is being provided by Integrated Rehabilitation Services.
Walk-in registration for the 86th Manchester Road Race will also be held in the M.H.S. cafeteria on November 19th from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“Road Race Saturday is going to be a fun and exciting day,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “It is the start of a great week in Manchester, that culminates with our big road race on Thanksgiving, and our blood drive on Friday.”
MRR MOURNS LOSS OF TWO TOP MASTERS COMPETITORS (October 17, 2022)
The Manchester Road Race is mourning the loss of two of its most accomplished masters age group competitors during the past year.
Bill Tribou, a long-time resident of Granby and the holder of three age group records at the MRR, died on February 20th at the age of 101. Tribou won All-American honors in 1941 as a member of the University of Connecticut cross country team, where he was a teammate and friend of the legendary Charlie Robbins, a two-time road race champion.
Tribou ran well into his nineties and holds the MRR records in the 80-84 (41:33), 85-90 (59:37) and 90+ (105:05) men’s age brackets.
Ray Prest of Ellington, a perennial age group favorite at the MRR who won the 80-84 division at last year’s road race in the time of 46:11, passed away on October 14th. He was 83.
Prest ran in Manchester 39 times, and had registered to compete here again this November. A winner of numerous MRR age group championships since becoming a master, Prest set records in the mile for 80+ competitors at the 2019 and 2021 Connecticut Nutmeg Games.
Prest, who battled with cancer, told an interviewer in 2021 that if his doctor told him he could only run in one race per year, it would be Manchester.
“Bill Tribou and Ray Prest were both inspirational figures at the Manchester Road Race,” said Dr. Tris Carta, president of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “We’ll miss them terribly and we send our sincere condolences to their families.”
ROAD RACE TO SPONSOR RAY CROTHERS BLOOD DRIVE (October 11, 2022)
The Manchester Road Race Committee will sponsor its 36th annual “Ray Crothers Blood Drive” from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 25, 2022 at Manchester High School, 134 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester.
The event, which in recent years has become one of the state’s largest single day blood collection efforts, is being held in conjunction with the American Red Cross of Connecticut.
All donors will receive a Manchester Road Race tee shirt. Walk-in donations will be accepted. Appointments, which are encouraged, can be made by calling 1-800-733-2767, or online.
More information about the holiday blood drive, and a direct link to the Red Cross appointment website, can be found at www.manchesterroadrace.com.
Race officials began sponsoring the blood drive in 1986 and have held it annually since then on the day after the road race. The event is named after Crothers, a popular MRR champion from Tolland. Crothers won the race in 1965 and competed in it for 43 years. He died from cancer in 2008.
According to Lance Morgan, a physician’s assistant and member of the MRR Executive Committee who coordinates the blood drive, 7,522 pints of blood have been donated since the event began. Last year, 335 pints, which benefitted 1005 patients in need of blood, plasma and platelets, were collected.
“The Manchester Road Race is delighted to partner with the American Red Cross once again this year,” said Morgan. “We are urging everyone who possibly can to give blood on the day after Thanksgiving and help us to save lives.”
Financial support for the “Ray Crothers Blood Drive” is provided by ECHN, Eastern Connecticut Pathology Consultants and Highland Park Market.
BURFOOT WILL RUN IN ROAD RACE FOR 60TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR (October 6, 2022)
Amby Burfoot is likely to reach another monumental milestone and set two more records-this November at the Manchester Road Race.
Burfoot, 76, a nine-time MRR champion and winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon, will be competing in the road race for the 60th year in a row. With 59 straight prior finishes to his credit, Burfoot already owns the records for most races and most consecutive runs, and he will extend both marks when he crosses the stripe on Main Street on Thanksgiving Day.
Burfoot’s longevity streak began in 1963 when he first entered the road race as a high school senior, won the scholastic title, and finished in 14th place overall. He has run in every MRR since then. The Wesleyan University graduate won the race a record nine times during the decade between 1968 and 1977. Seven of those victories (1971-1977) came in successive years, which is also a MRR record.
“It is absolutely amazing when you consider that our race is being held for the 86th time and Amby Burfoot has been running here for the last 60 years,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Committee. “Amby is a terrific athlete and gentleman, and we are so grateful for the many contributions that he has made to the Manchester Road Race and its history.”
Burfoot, an Editor Emeritus at Runner’s World Magazine who has written a number of books about the sport of distance running, lives in Mystic.
REGISTRATION FOR “LITTLE MANCHESTER ROAD RACE” BEGINS OCTOBER 1ST (September 16, 2022)
The Manchester Road Race Committee announced today that entries for its annual “Little Manchester Road Race” for children ages 12 and under will be accepted starting October 1st.
Parents may register their children online at www.manchesterroadrace.com. Entries are limited to the first 1000 runners who sign up. There is no cost to participate in the event, but children are requested to bring two non-perishable food items to the race for donation to the M.A.C.C. Food Pantry.
The “Little Manchester Road Race” will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at the Manchester High School track. Manchester High School is located at 134 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester. The event features several “run for fun” races for children in various age groups. There will also be entertainment that includes a skydiving exhibition, music, and a truck display. All participants will receive medals and long-sleeved tee shirts.
“It’s a lot of fun for the kids, and it marks the start of our race week activities prior to the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “The number of entrants is limited, so we are urging everyone to register as soon as possible.
The “Little Manchester Road Race” is sponsored by Henkel, with additional support provided by Fleet Feet of West Hartford, KeyBank, Onyx Elite, Waypoint Wealth Solutions, and Highland Park Market.
The popular children’s event is a prelude to the 86th annual Manchester Road Race, which will be held at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (November 24th, 2022). The road race, which attracts some of the world’s best distance runners, is run on a 4.748-mile loop course that starts and finishes on Main Street in Manchester, in front of St. James Church.
ROAD RACE ANNOUNCES ENTRY FEE INFORMATION FOR THIS YEAR’S RACE (September 13, 2022)
Manchester Road Race officials are reminding runners to sign up as early as possible for this year’s Thanksgiving Day run, and are offering a financial incentive for anyone who does so during September.
The entry fee for runners who register by September 30 is $32. The fee increases to $37 at 12 midnight (EST) on Saturday, October 1st, and to $42 at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 19th. Registration closes on Tuesday, November 22nd at 11:59 p.m. (EST). No post entries will be accepted on race day.
“We are anticipating another fun and exciting race this year, and we are urging everyone to save money and sign up as soon as possible,’ said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee.
The 86th annual Manchester Road Race will be held on Thanksgiving Day (November 24, 2022) at 10:00 a.m. The race is run on a 4.748-mile-long loop course through Manchester’s central streets. It starts and finishes on Main Street, in front of St. James Church.
A total of 8,776 runners and walkers registered for last year’s road race, and Carta foresees the possibility of an even bigger race this Thanksgiving. “The Manchester Road Race is a popular and important holiday tradition in New England that enjoys an international reputation, and we are gearing up to accommodate a field that will likely be larger this year,” he said.
Weini Kelati of Flagstaff, Arizona shattered the women’s course record at last year’s MRR when she won the female division in the time of 22:55. Canadian runner Ben Flanagan was the men’s champion in 21:23.
The Manchester Road Race began on Thanksgiving Day in 1927 with a field of 12 high school runners and has been held 85 times since then. It is organized each year by the more than 500 volunteers who comprise the Manchester Road Race Committee, with support from the Town of Manchester. The road race’s principal financial sponsors are Pratt & Whitney and ECHN.
TRADITIONAL SPAGHETTI DINNER WILL RESUME (September 10, 2022)
After a two year hiatus because of the COVID pandemic, road race officials announced that the traditional Manchester Road Race Spaghetti Dinner will once again be held the night before the big race.
The 42st Spaghetti Dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, November 23, 6:30 pm, at the Elks Lodge, 30 Bissell St, Manchester. This popular event brings together runners and road race volunteers to socialize, reminisce and prepare for the Thanksgiving Day run. It is also an opportunity to meet members of the elite field, who will compete for the race’s top prizes.
Tickets for the dinner are available to registered runners for as long as the tickets last. The capacity of the Elks Club dining hall is 350 people, so seating is limited.
To request tickets, please send an SASE to: Manchester Road Race, Spaghetti Dinner, P.O. Box 211, Manchester, CT 06045
Financial sponsorship for the Spaghetti Dinner is once again provided by Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Surgery.
MANCHESTER ROAD RACE TO HONOR DR. DAVID PRINDIVILLE THIS YEAR (September 6, 2022)
One of the leaders who helped to revitalize the Manchester Road Race during the “running boom” of the late 1970s will be honored at this year’s Thanksgiving Day run.
Race officials announced today that Dr. David Prindiville, the former long-time president and elite runner coordinator of the Manchester Road Race Committee, will serve as the honorary chairperson of this year’s road race, which will be run for the 86th time on November 24, 2022.
Prindiville, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, volunteered with the MRR for 37 years before retiring to Cape Cod in the summer of 2015. A former high school discus thrower and football player who became a recreational runner after reading Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s 1968 book about the benefits of aerobic exercise, Prindiville entered his first MRR in 1976. He was one of hundreds of thousands of Americans who took up distance running as a sport around that time.
The following year, after road race organizers experienced major problems accommodating a large increase in the number of runners who participated at the 1977 MRR, Prindiville teamed with two other local men, Dr. Eamon Flanagan and Atty. Richard MacKenzie, to form the nucleus of what would become the Manchester Road Race Committee. The group is credited with modernizing the road race and implementing numerous changes that enabled the MRR to grow over the years from 1,381 entrants in 1977 to 14,361 registered runners in 2014, the last road race before Prindiville retired.
None of the group had ever previously been involved with managing a major road race. “However, we all had one thing in common,” Prindiville wrote several years ago. “We all loved running and we all loved our Town of Manchester.”
Prindiville wore many hats on the road race committee. He succeeded Flanagan as president of the organization in 1990 and held that position until 2006. He also served for many years as the race’s elite runner coordinator, and as head of its development committee, which recruits financial sponsors for the MRR. Under his leadership, the road race donated more than one million dollars to area charitable and non-profit organizations.
“Dave put his heart and soul into the Manchester Road Race for decades, and the immeasurable contributions he made helped us to become the highly successful, world-famous road race that we are today,” said Dr. Tris Carta, who followed Prindiville as president of the committee. “We are so pleased to have him back with us in Manchester this Thanksgiving as our honorary chairperson.”
Prindiville, a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, is an adjunct professor at Tufts. He resides with his wife, Denise, in Brewster, Mass. They have two sons, Brendan and Michael, who were both accomplished athletes. Brendan Prindiville, a standout runner at Brown University who had several top-15 finishes at the MRR, is a dentist in Massachusetts and is also a clinical professor at the Tufts Dental School. Michael Prindiville, who starred as a defender on the Tufts University soccer team, is the chief executive officer of New Meta Entertainment, a digital E-sports media company based in New York City and Los Angeles.
Carta said that the MRR annually recognizes an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the road race, or the sport of running, by designating him or her as the event’s honorary chairperson. Past honorees have included Olympic medalists Joan Benoit Samuelson, Frank Shorter, Deena Kastor and John Treacy, and Boston Marathon Champion Amby Burfoot. Carta added that Prindiville will attend the road race and several pre-race events this November.
ROAD RACE HONORS CLUB TO BENEFIT COMMUNITY CHILD GUIDANCE CLINIC (September 2, 2022)
Up to 120 runners at this year’s Manchester Road Race will be hitting the pavement on Thanksgiving morning for a very special cause!
Each year road race organizers set aside 120 bibs for entrants who elect to participate in the MRR Honors Club Program. These runners pay $100 instead of the traditional entry fee, and all of the money is donated by the road race committee to a worthy charity.
Race officials announced today that the recipient of the 2022 Honors Club proceeds will be the Community Child Guidance Clinic.
Located in Manchester, the Community Child Guidance Clinic was founded in 1959 “to assist and support children with emotional and behavioral issues by providing a special education day school and a system of child and family-focused mental health services.”
“The Community Child Guidance Clinic makes a tremendously important contribution assisting the children, youth and families of our area,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee.
“Our road race is very pleased to donate this year’s Honors Club proceeds to benefit the clinic’s vital work.”
Carta indicated that runners who register for the Honors Club will receive several perks on race day, including being able to wait for the start of the race sheltered in the basement of St. James Church, complete with indoor plumbing and light refreshments. “But the most important benefit is the satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference in your community,” Carta added.
Runners, who wish to join the MRR Honors Club, or receive more information about it, can do so at www.manchesterroadrace.com.
The 86th Manchester Road Race will be run at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The race, which starts and finishes on Main Street in front of St. James Church, attracts some of the world’s best distance competitors and fields that have often exceeded 10,000 runners in recent years.
JIM BALCOME TO RETIRE AS MRR RACE DIRECTOR AFTER THIS YEAR’S EVENT (August 18, 2022)
Thanksgiving in Manchester will seem a little bit different, starting in 2023.
Jim Balcome, the longtime race director of the Manchester Road Race who famously announces that “This is Thanksgiving in Manchester” when the starter’s gun is fired each year, will retire from the position that he has held for 43 years after this November’s race is held.
Balcome, 78, a retired guidance counselor and track coach at Rockville High School, was selected as the nation’s top road race director in 2019, and has led the MRR since 1979.
“Serving as the race director of the Manchester Road Race has been my second full-time job for more than four decades,” Balcome said. “I love the road race and I loved every minute that I’ve spent doing this. I am extremely grateful to all the wonderful runners, volunteers, sponsors and spectators who make ‘Thanksgiving in Manchester’ possible each year.”
A former recreational runner with the Manchester Striders Running Club who competed in the MRR for several years in the 1970s before being asked to lead it, Balcome has been widely praised for modernizing the road race and raising its profile and stature in the running community.
“There are not enough superlatives in the dictionary for me to adequately describe all the great work Jim Balcome has done as our race director, or what he means to the Manchester Road Race,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “Jim’s superb organizational skills, tireless work ethic, ability to forge partnerships, and immense devotion to our race---and especially all the runners---has transformed the Manchester Road Race from a small regional event into the large and world-famous road race it is today,” Carta continued.
“Several years ago, Jim was voted the top road race director in the nation by his peers,” Carta added. “That’s something everyone in Manchester has known for the past 43 years. Jim Balcome is the absolute best, and we are so grateful to him for his decades of devoted service. Although we’re delighted that he’ll be at the helm again this Thanksgiving, we are going to miss him terribly starting in 2023,” Carta said.
Balcome, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, said that he and his wife, Joy, intend to spend more time at their second home in Florida after he retires from the road race. “Although I will be stepping back a bit after the last runner crosses the line on Thanksgiving, the Manchester Road Race will always be a big part of my life and occupy a special place in my heart,” he said.
“Jim will forever be the “voice” of the Manchester Road Race,” said Manchester Mayor Jay Moran. “On behalf of the Town of Manchester, all our citizens, and all the runners and road race volunteers, I would like to thank Jim Balcome for being the best race director of the best race in the country,” he added.” I wish Jim and his wife, Joy, a happy retirement.”
Carta said that an announcement about Balcome’s successor as race director will be made at a later date, after this year’s road race is held.
REGISTRATION OPENS SEPTEMBER 1st FOR 86TH MANCHESTER ROAD RACE (August 15, 2022)
Registration for the 86th Manchester Road Race will open on September 1st, race officials announced today.
The annual 4.748-mile run through Manchester’s central streets will be held at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. (November 24, 2022). The MRR is one of the nation’s premier turkey trots, and has become a holiday tradition in Connecticut that attracts thousands of runners and spectators each year.
The entry fee is $32 for runners who register by September 30th. All participants who sign up prior to October 1st will receive a personalized bib with their name printed on it.
The entry fee increases to $37 on October 1st, and to $42 on November 19th at 3 p.m. In addition to the on-line registration, walk-in entries will be accepted at the MRR Sports Expo, on Saturday, November 19 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Manchester High School.
Registration will close on Tuesday, November 22, at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Post entries will not be accepted on race day
For the third straight year, race officials are also offering a virtual road race option which will allow runners to download a smart phone app and participate in the MRR from any location in the world.
“We are eagerly looking forward to holding another fun, exciting and safe race,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “Our volunteers are already hard at work to ensure that it’s going to be another world-class event, and we’re urging everyone to register as early as possible.”
Last year, 8,776 runners and walkers registered for the road race, which is held on a loop course that starts and finishes on Main Street in Manchester, in front of St. James Church. Canadian runner Ben Flanagan was the men’s champion with a time of 21.23. Weini Kelati of Flagstaff, Arizona shattered the women’s course record when she won the female division in 22:55.
Carta also announced today that the MRR has retained Race Roster, a subsidiary of Asics, to assist the committee with on-line registration, merchandise distribution and webpage services. “We are very excited about working with Race Roster to maintain and enhance the quality of our road race, and especially the services we can offer to all our runners,” he said.
The Manchester Road Race began on Thanksgiving Day in 1927 with a field of 12 runners and has been held 85 times since then. It is organized each year by the more than 500 volunteers who comprise the Manchester Road Race Committee, with support from the Town of Manchester. The road race’s principal financial sponsors are ECHN and Pratt & Whitney.
MANCHESTER ROAD RACE WILL PRESENT CHECK TO HARTFORD INTERVAL HOUSE (May 20, 2022)
The effort to eradicate domestic violence is about to get a helping hand from the Manchester Road Race Committee.
Officials from the road race announced today that they will present a check in the amount of $7800 to Hartford Interval House during a ceremony at the Manchester Police Department headquarters on June 1st at 2 p.m. Interval House is the largest agency in the State of Connecticut dedicated to ending domestic violence. Since its inception in 1977, Interval House has provided assistance in a nurturing and encouraging environment to approximately 6,500 victims of domestic violence each year in 24 of the state’s cities and towns.
The MRR raised the donation through its annual Honors Club Program at last November’s Thanksgiving Day run. Under the program, up to 100 runners can opt to pay $100 (instead of the traditional $32 entry fee) and all the proceeds are donated to a specific local charity. The road race committee selected Interval House as its beneficiary last year, and 78 runners signed up to run in honor of the organization.
“We are very pleased that our race will benefit the compassionate, life-saving role that Interval House plays in our area,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee.
Carta said that the road race has several strong connections to Interval House. Olympian Donn Cabral, who was raised in Glastonbury and has been one of the MRR’s top finishers for more than a decade, is a member of Interval House’s “Men’s Initiative.” This group of prominent Connecticut men have been engaged in public education and fund raising for the cause against domestic violence for more than a decade. The Manchester Police Department, a key element in the safe and orderly operation of the MRR since it began, has had a domestic violence victim’s advocate employed by Interval House working at police headquarters for the past 25 years. Manchester’s Domestic Violence Outreach Team (DVOT) is the longest running partnership of its kind in the state. This highly specialized team handles cases of domestic violence, stalking and non-stranger sexual assault.
“Interval House works tirelessly to end domestic violence and to help the people who are affected by it,” Carta added. “We are so grateful to Interval House, and to the wonderful runners who participated in the Honors Club Program at last year’s race.”
More information about the Manchester Road Race and its Honors Club Program will be available starting September 1st at www.manchesterroadrace.com. The 86th annual 4.748-mile Manchester Road Race will be held this year at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (November 24, 2022). The race starts and finishes on Main Street in Manchester, in front of St. James Church.
ROAD RACE’S 2021 BLOOD DRIVE WAS ANOTHER HUGE SUCCESS (November 28, 2021)
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.”