Today was my 26th Manchester Road Race, and it was a wonderful one. I have no favorites, but this year, I took it easy (again) and jogged it with Debbie and our son, Shepard. It wasn’t a jog for him. He had to push, and he ran a fantastic time. This was his third MRR, and I hope he continues the tradition and “streaks” as long as he can.
It was my 21st in a row. We had incredible weather, with our warmer than usual autumn continuing. The sunshine was brilliant and the temperature was way above normal. For us, the MRR isn’t just one event. It is a week of celebrating. Last Saturday, Debbie ran the Know Your Pace Race, with our Silk City Striders friends. That was followed by the Manchester Road Race Expo, and then the Little Manchester Road Race.
Both of our kids participated, with our daughter running the one mile, and our son running the two-mile. More than 800 kids were registered for the four races, which also included a 100 yard dash (for the littlest ones), and a 1/2 mile. Last weekend’s weather was also excellent.
Last night, we went to the annual spaghetti dinner at the Elk’s Lodge. We saw many of our friends there, and again today at the race on Main Street. Given the extraordinary weather conditions, its likely that the race was maxed out at the 15,000 runner limit, and that most of them showed up and did the 4.748 mile race. Next year will be a big one; it will be the 80th anniversary.
At last night’s dinner, we heard Charlie Duggan and Steve Gates speak. Charlie won the 1980 edition of the race, and to this day, Steve’s time in 1980 remains the fastest that a Manchester native has ever run on the course. This year’s winners were Will Geoghegan and Diana Nukuri. She repeated her 2014 victory, and he won for the first time, out kicking local favorite, Donn Cabral, of Glastonbury. We got to see Donn at last night’s dinner, and hope that he wins this one someday. He is close to the top step.
Neither Debbie or I were interested in racing hard. I’m focused on cyclocross and haven’t been running much. I didn’t feel like pushing with some nagging “lower body” (like a hockey player) injuries. Debbie decided to “shut it down” after September’s ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI. It was nice of Debbie’s mom, Barbara, to stay with our daughter at St. James Church near the start/finish line. The support of the Schieffer Family is another Thanksgiving tradition.
Our son had a strong run. Debbie and I are proud of him for being positive and having a great attitude. He ran steady the whole way and his net time was just under 38 minutes, which is wonderful for a little guy. At the four mile mark, he really wanted some water. There are no official water stations, but with 20,000 spectators, someone always has water. Debbie spotted a table on the left side of the road. We were on the right, so I had to backtrack and cross traffic to get the water. To my surprise, they also had beer, so I asked for one of each, and they were so kind to oblige. I caught back up to them with a can of Busch in my left hand, and a cup of water in my right. Both Shep and I were happy!
It was nice to see the Welts family down from New Hampshire! In addition to seeing many of our Silk City Striders friends, we hooked up with our main club, the Shenipsit Striders. This weekend is our annual Shenipsit Trail End-to-End Run on Saturday. If you are interested in running any distance up to about 50 miles, then join the club! This year we are going south to north.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s 80th. Maybe our daughter will join us for her first MRR. Maybe I’ll run hard. We will see…