Nov 27, 2006

Manchester Road Race

Just a bit damp...

The Manchester Road Race is run on Thanksgiving day in Manchester every year for the last 70 years. I haven't been running for quite that long, but it is a race I enjoy. This year we had the biggest contingent from my family as there were 6 of us who braved the "chance of rain" to head to the start. We were dwarfed by the 12k or so other runners who also made their way to Main Street in Manchester for the 4.8 mile race.

Myself, my uncle, my brother, 2 brothers-in-law, 2 sisters-in-law and my father-in-law headed out in the light rain to the start area. My uncle needed to use the bathroom, so we waited in line a bit before shedding my shell pants, and since the wait was a bit longer than expected, we ended up at the back of the start line, not a good position if you are trying to run fast. However, I was not concerned since this would be the first race of this distance for a few of my companions. As usual, the gun went off and we stopped. Sensing this was the right moment to cheer us up, the skies opened completely and it began to pour. The temperature stayed just above freezing so we could enjoy the rain and still be really cold. Good times while you wait!

It took just over 5 minutes to get to the start line, but we began jogging at that point, and began the trip up the hill for the first 2 miles. I ran with my uncle, and we spent most of those first two miles dodging other runners and walkers, occasionally darting on the sidewalk and embankment to get around slower runners. It finally began to thin out as we headed down the hill for the start of mile three. I missed the first mile marker, but hit my watch at 2 miles in 20:48, not bad considering we were fighting traffic the whole time.

My goals for the race were pretty simple, have fun and beat my uncle and brother :) Since I was the only one besides my sister-in-law and father-in-law that really trains seriously, this shouldn't be do hard, but the repurcussions of letting one of the others beat me would have been serious. Both my uncle and brother are decent athletes, and my uncle in particular has always managed to be just a little better than me in most sports so it would be pretty important to keep him in his place in this race! With that being said, going into the 3rd mile, my uncle was right with me and I figured I needed to drop him early since he would have all the motivation he needed to outsprint me if he could see me at the end. With that in mind, I opened the throttle and went to my top speed, about 8 minute pace :) Not extremely fast, but I knew I could hold it and he probably couldn't. The strategy worked, as he slowly faded from view behind me (at least as far as I could tell, it was still pretty crowded). I went hard to the line and finished in 42:23, a new personal best for me at this race.

After finishing I hung out in the chute freezing and waited for the others. It turned out that only 1 person beat me, my sister-in-law (a very good runner) in 36 minutes or so. Overall a very fun race, although it was very cold!!

Afterwards, a good Thanksgiving with lots of turkey, potatoes and stuffing (the big 3)


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