The 76th annual Manchester Road Race organizers are predicting that this may be the first year in the race's history with a photo finish.
With an anticipated 15,000 runners making their way to Manchester on Thanksgiving Day, the racers will take to the annual course, as Manchester residents line the streets to cheer them on.
Race Committee President Dr. Tris Carta said that is why runners come back time and time again.
"The people of Manchester come out and cheer the runners, that’s why runners come back. They enjoy having that," Carta said.
In addition to the encouragement provided along the raceway, volunteers, upwards of 625 this year, will pitch in wherever the assistance is needed to make the race run smoothly.
"All the businesses in the town have supported the race in any way they can," he said, adding that the race also enjoys the full support from the town. Indeed, any time Carta needs something done he said that people are quick to ask, “How can I help?”
The committee is making the exciting prediction this year that they will be pulling out their photo finish camera for the first time because of the caliber of "elite runners" who are signed up to run.
"There's a lot of young runners that are all very, very good this year," he said. "We might have a photo finish. We haven’t had one before.”
Aside from the possible nail biting finish, what makes the annual race special is that it “brings the entire Manchester community together to focus on the race," Carta said.
"Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I think it is for many people in Manchester," he said.
Notably, the race this year will be dedicated to the late Patrick J. (“P.J.”) Tierney. Tierney, a longtime member of the road race committee, died on Sept. 25 at the age of 82.
"P. J. Tierney was one of the Manchester Road Race’s biggest and best boosters,” Carta said. “He will be terribly missed, but all the wonderful things that he did for our race will always be remembered and appreciated.”
As of Nov. 14, about 14,000 runners had registered on the race's online site. Another 1,000 bibs are available still for those who want to register. Walk-in registration will also be held the week of Thanksgiving at Elizabeth M. Bennet Academy at 1151 Main St. in Manchester on the following evenings:
- Monday: 6:00pm to 9:00pm.
- Tuesday: 6:00pm to 9:00pm.
- There will be NO walk-in registration on Wednesday evening.