Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope that everyone had a nice holiday with their family and loved ones.
I started my Thanksgiving morning by joining over 15,000 of my closest friends for the 75th Annual Manchester Road Race – a 4.748 mile course. This year was my second year doing the road race and I think it has become a nice little Thanksgiving tradition. It was a beautiful morning and everyone’s spirits were high.
Just before 10 am, my friends and I, including P, made our way towards the start line…well as close as we could get without getting in the way of the runners. Once we heard the gun indicating the start of the race, it took us over 10 minutes to cross the start line. By the time we crossed the 1 mile marker, the race winner had already crossed the finish line (21:35 – crazy fast, right!?). Good thing I wasn’t in it to win it.
There are a few things about the race that make it a lot of fun:
1) Some awesome participant costumes. Unfortunately, I didn’t capture many of these on my iPhone, but you can check out some good ones here and even see some pictures from the race that my friend, and fellow participant, Kim took and posted on her blog. Let’s just say that I saw a life-sized turkey dinner, at least 2 Waldos and a lot of half-naked Native Americans.
2) The people watching the race are so much fun and full of spirit – and lots of beer at 10 am. I was able to capture these spectators cheering from the roof of their porch, chanting, “Come on! Let’s hear you! It’s a race!” There were various bands set up along the route, speakers blaring the theme to Rocky and plenty of cheerleaders. The spectators really make the race fun and push you to keep going, which is something you need as your trucking up what I lovingly call “Suicide Hill.” P says that he’s never heard it called anything other than “The Hill” but my ass tells me that it should be called “Suicide Hill,” but I digress.
Sure, in the beginning of the race it felt like 4.748 miles was hours away, but as we crossed the 4 mile mark we realized that we just this close to the end of the race. I had a good idea of my timing thanks to the mile markers, but one can never be sure. Of course, by the time we finished the race, all the fanfare was gone. The TV crews were packing up and they were taking down the blue Manchester Road Race barriers. It doesn’t matter – I still sprinted across the finish line with a time of 1:28:36 – yes that’s about 17 minutes faster than my 2010 finishing time. YAY!
I really enjoy the idea of doing a road race before Thanksgiving dinner. It makes me feel like I’ve earned that piece of pie or extra helping of stuffing. However, next year I would really like to try to run the race. I have a year to train, and while I might not be able to run the entire thing, I should be able to run more than I did this year. Stay tuned to find out!