Manchester Road Race

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Manchester Road Race
The Manchester Road Race logo
Date Thanksgiving Day
Location Manchester, Connecticut United States
Event type road
Distance 4.748 miles (7.641 km)
Primary sponsor ECHN
Established 1927
Course records Men: 21:19
Phillimon Hanneck (1995), Aaron Braun (2012)
Women: 23:59 (2003)
Emilie Mondor
Official site

The Manchester Road Race is a 4.748 mile (7.641 km) footrace 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.[1]


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.[2] 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)

In 1960, Julia Chase-Brand entered Manchester in hopes of participating in the road race, but she was turned down due to her gender. 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 by running again.

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.[3] 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.[4]


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.[5] 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.

Notable runners[edit]

Joe McCluskey[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Ray Crothers[edit]

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.

Amby Burfoot[edit]

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.[6]

John Vitale[edit]

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.

Philemon Hanneck[edit]

Years won: 1994, 1995

Philemon Hanneck, born in Harare, Zimbabwe, but now a United States citizen, is a 2-time winner and course record holder at the Manchester Road Race. He set the course record of 21:19 in 1995.

Aaron Braun[edit]

Years won: 2012

Aaron Braun, who ran at Adams 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 anyway, 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.[citation needed]

Charlie Duggan[edit]

Year won: 1980
More info at:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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]
  2. ^ Manchester Road Race Celebrates 70th Running
  3. ^ Riley, Lori (2009-11-26). "Haron Lagat, Alemtsehay Misganaw Win 73rd Manchester Road Race". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  4. ^ Riley, Lori (2009-11-26). "Manchester Road Race: Top 30 finishers and top 15 women". Running Around in Connecticut. The Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  5. ^ 2005 Manchester Road Race Summary Archived December 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Riley, Lori. "Over 50 Years, Manchester Road Race Has Been A Running Theme For Amby Burfoot". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 

External links[edit]