Manchester Road Race
|Manchester Road Race|
The Manchester Road Race logo
|Distance||4.748 miles (7.641 km)|
|Course records||Men: 21:19
Phillimon Hanneck (1995), Aaron Braun (2012)
Women: 23:59 (2003)
The Manchester Road Race is a 4.748 mile (7.641 km) race held annually on Thanksgiving Day in Manchester, Connecticut. Race proceeds are donated each year to Muscular Dystrophy research and about 18 other local charities. Beginning promptly at 10:00am every Thanksgiving Morning, the race attracts athletes of all ages and abilities. First run in 1927, the race regularly attracts accomplished runners from across the United States as well as internationally recognized competitors.
The race was first held in 1927 with only twelve runners participating in the race. The race was conceived and promoted by the captain of the Manchester High School cross country team Frank "Duke" Haraburda, who competed and placed second in the inaugural race. The race continued annually until 1934, when the economic crisis during the Great Depression resulted in the race's cancellation. Consequently, the race was not held for 10 years (from 1935 to 1944), but began running again in 1945 and has continued to be held every Thanksgiving Day ever since. In 1967 the race was recognized as the second largest race in the country, with more than 200 participants. Due to growing interest and participation in this event, the race surpassed 1,000 runners in 1976 and just ten years later attracted more than 6,000 runners. In 1994 the number of runners had reached 10,000 and in 2009 over 12,000 people officially ran the race. "The Manchester Road Race has grown to be the largest race in Connecticut, the third largest in New England and in the top 25 largest distance races in the country." (Manchester Road Race Committee)
This formally male-only road race first accepted a woman runner in 1961. In 1960, 18-year old Julia Chase entered Manchester in hopes of participating in the road race, where she was unfortunately turned down due to her gender. Race director, Pete Wigren told her that she was not allowed to run because this race was an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) sponsored event, and AAU did not allow men and women to compete together. However, Julia returned in 1961 with a letter from George Terry (nationally recognized coach) proving that the rules did not outlaw women from participating in the race. Due to the media coverage on Chase's battle for participation, two other women; Dianne Lechausse and Christine McKenzie joined Chase on the starting line to unofficially run that Thanksgiving morning. After this first appearance of women in the road race, pressure started to build about allowing women to officially run in the race. In 1973 women protested and unofficially followed the men and completed the race. In 1974, the protest proved to be a success; 50 women entered and officially ran the Manchester Road Race. In 2011 Julia came back to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her first run at Manchester dressed in the same running outfit she had worn 50 years earlier. Her running companion for the 2011 re-enactment was former winner Amby Burfoot.
In 1977, the race committee created male and female divisions, rather than a single open registration. Haron Lagat of Kenya won the 2009 Race with a time of 21:40, beating Chicago's Patrick Smyth by one second—Smyth was also the runner up in 2008. Alemtsehay Misganaw, an Ethiopian who lives in New York City, won the 2009 women's race, beating five-time champion Amy Rudolph by a second.
The official registration has been over 9,000 every year since 1991, with the highest registration of 15,000 in 2010. In addition to registered runners, many registered walkers and unregistered runners participate. The race committee estimates that approximately 1,000 unregistered runners participated in the 2005 race. In addition to competitive spirit of the road race, Manchester Road Race enthusiasts are attracted every year to further enhance the good spirit of the event. Also giving this race a unique and high-spirited atmosphere, runners and fans wear costumes and may enter a competition to see who has the best costume each year. Famous among these costumed runners are the "Blues Brothers" and "Safety Man." Of note, "Safety Man" also reminds runners and the crowd lining the streets that a safe morning means an enjoyable Thanksgiving afternoon.
Years won: 1930, 1931, 1932, 1947
Joe McCluskey was an American runner who is recognized for winning the race four times. His brother John was the winner of the first race held in 1927. Joe's final Manchester Road Race victory came in 1947, 17 years after his first.
John J. Kelley
Years won: 1951, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1961, 1962
John J. Kelley (sometimes referred to as “The Younger”, to avoid confusion with the similarly named John A. Kelley) is an American runner from New London, CT who is best known for winning the Boston Marathon in 1957. He won the Manchester Road Race 6 times, and is also notable as a coach of Amby Burfoot.
Year won: 1965
Ray Crothers was an American runner known for being the only person to win three different divisions at Manchester. He twice won the High School Division and in 1984 he won the Masters Division. Ray had 14 top 25 finishes with a personal best of 23:07. He opened a running shoe and apparel store "The Run In" with John Vitale in Rocky Hill, CT.
Years won: 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977
Amby Burfoot is an American runner from New London, CT who is known for winning the 1968 Boston Marathon. As of 2013, he had competed in the Manchester Road Race 51 times in a row, winning 9 times (7 consecutively). His 51 consecutive races is the record for the Manchester Road Race. He later became a journalist, eventually becoming the Executive Editor of Runner's World magazine.
Year won: 1970
John Vitale is an American runner known for being the top American finisher at the 1971 Boston Marathon. He later opened a running shoe and apparel store "The Run In" with Ray Crothers in Rocky Hill, CT.
Years won: 1994, 1995
Years won: 2012
Aaron Braun, who ran at Adam's State, tied the course record in 2012,with a time of 21:19.4. This was a bit controversial, since they should have rounded up to 21:20, but they gave him a tie anyways, because they didn't know how they had rounded, up or down, back in 1995 when Philemon Hanneck set the record, because they didn't have the technology to determine his time in tenths of a second.
- Riley, Lori (2004-11-26). "Nthiwa Has It Figured Out— Defends Title By 1 Second". Connecticut Outdoors (The Hartford Courant). Retrieved 2007-02-05.[dead link]
- Manchester Road Race Celebrates 70th Running
- Riley, Lori (2009-11-26). "Haron Lagat, Alemtsehay Misganaw Win 73rd Manchester Road Race". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2009-11-26.
- Riley, Lori (2009-11-26). "Manchester Road Race: Top 30 finishers and top 15 women". Running Around in Connecticut (The Hartford Courant). Retrieved 2009-11-26.
- 2005 Manchester Road Race Summary
- Riley, Lori. "Over 50 Years, Manchester Road Race Has Been A Running Theme For Amby Burfoot". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 21 November 2012.