2021 Manchester Road Race

I think the highlight of today’s 85th running of the Manchester Road Race was the weather. It started out cool, but with brilliant sunshine, it turned out to be very pleasant which made for an awesome day. After last year’s “virtual” edition, people were stoked to be back running the streets of Manchester. This was my 32nd overall and 27th in a row. I’m going to keep going as long as I can.

The Livingston’s had a fantastic race. Shepard scorched the 4.748 mile course in 28:02, good for 17th in the competitive 15-18 age group. Coming off his freshman cross country season, this was remarkable. That time is one second slower than my 2019 time and only 62 seconds slower than my personal best set in 2009.

I told him we have a showdown coming in 2022 when I’ll be in the 50+ age group for the first time. I plan to train a bit and then run it hard. Of note is that he ran 90 seconds faster as a 15 year old compared with my time at the same age in 1987. I think I have one of the best “data sets” (all in Excel) of any MRR runner.

Debbie beat her time goal and met her place goal by breaking into the top three of her age group (third in 45-49) in 32:58. That’s her first ever podium finish at the MRR. That’s pretty good for an ultra-distance trail runner. She is thrilled with this result and has been putting in some hard work, so it is deserved.

I ran with Dahlia and she might have been the standout Livingston performer of the day, running 35:59 for 6th in her 13 and under age group. She just wrapped up her 7th grade cross country season and will get another shot at a top finish in this age group next year. I loved running with her because she was a star. She got SO many cheers from SO many people. Lots of folks knew her and as the “fastest short person” she got tons of applause from strangers too.

Mrs. Schieffer joined us and she walked the course, which is pretty good given that in the last 18 months, she had double knee replacements. Kudos to her for persevering.

We saw lots of friends including some in costume. The Shenipsit Striders were out in force, and we took our traditional photo at 9:15 A.M. in front of St. James Church.

Since I ran with Dahlia, I was able to take a lot of photos and a few videos. That was neat. It’s rare for me to go slower than race pace, but I’ve done it a few times now, mostly with the kids. It’s a fun non-competitive way to enjoy the race.

HORST Engineering sponsored Veteran’s Row for the fourth consecutive year. The overall race production was a bit smaller than in 2019 and prior years, but that was mostly out of precaution for everyone’s health and safety. There were about 7,400 official finishers, which is quite a bit less than past years. The race accommodates up to 15,000 registrants. Covid-19 isn’t the only factor in the lower numbers. The entry fee has climbed a bit in recent years and there is a lot more competition for other Thanksgiving Day races and events in Connecticut and elsewhere.

The good weather certainly helped runners achieve fast times. The overall performance of the day has to be Weini Kelati’s record setting win. She smashed the previous course record by 62 seconds, which is remarkable. She ran 22:55 and finished 18th overall. Keira D’Amato was second and she also broke the previous course record.

The first place male was Ben Flanagan in 21:23. He bested Leonard Korir by 12 seconds. These were standout performances by some of the top runners in the country. Manchester always attracts a quality field of elite runners.

I’m sad that the MRR is now in the rearview mirror for 2021. As noted, I’m planning to run fast in 2022. It may be a year from now, but it’s a goal worth aiming for because the tradition has to continue.

Race Results

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