MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — After going virtual last year, the Manchester Road Race returned to Main Street for the 85th annual road race Thursday morning.
Thousands of runners and spectators hit the road, many in costume.
“I’ve probably been running for a little less than six months and I’ve done four races, so this is a big step up,” said 10-year-old Cormac Neely of Suffield.
The race attracts elite runners from across the world and novices like Neely, who was a little nervous for his biggest race yet.
Almost 9,000 runners turned out for the thrill of crossing the finish line. The excitement was overwhelming for the committee who spent more than a year working to bring the race back to the streets of Manchester.
Last year, the annual road race was held virtually due to the pandemic. This year, elite runners had to show proof of vaccination to participate.
“The pandemic is not done with us yet but we’re starting to come through it and this road race is showing that,” said Tris Carta, president of the Manchester Road Race Committee.
The entire operation requires hundreds of workers and volunteers, including folks like Drew Angelo of Manchester’s Historic Events and Banquets, who stepped up to donate 12,000 bottles of water to keep runners hydrated.
“It’s part of the community. It’s the one day everyone comes together and unites and it’s a beautiful thing,” Angelo said.
There is also a focus on giving back to the community. On Black Friday, the road race committee will hold a blood drive at Manchester High School. Last year, it collected more than 200 pints of blood.
More than 300 people have already signed up for this year’s drive. For more information, click here.