Two former champions will be among the headliners in a talented field of elite runners who have registered to compete in the 85th Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day.
Race officials announced earlier this month that Sam Chelanga, the winner at the 2013 edition, and Edna Kiplagat, who captured the women’s title at 2019 road race, have both been confirmed for a return this year.
Buze Diriba, the women’s course record holder was slated to return to the event this year as well, but withdrew her entry as she is unable to compete due to health reasons.
The 4.748-mile Thanksgiving Day holiday run will be broadcast live on television by Fox 61 and CW20, and livestreamed on Fox61.com and on the Fox 61 News app, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The road race will also rebroadcast in its entirety on CW20 at 4 p.m. that afternoon.
READY TO RACE THIS YEAR
Chelanga, 36, who is now serving as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, broke the tape here in 2013 with a time of 21:31. He also finished second at the 2014 MRR in 21:38. In 2010, Chelanga set the NCAA record of 27:08.49 in the 10,000 meters as an All-American competitor for Liberty University.
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Kiplagat, one of the world’s best distance runners, became the MRR’s oldest champion when she won the 2019 MRR at the age of 40 in 24:30. She also finished fourth here in 2016 with a time of 24:34.
Other world-class male athletes who have entered this year’s 4.748-mile Turkey Trot include Ben Flanagan, who won the Falmouth Road Race in August with a time of 32:16 and finished eighth at the 2019 MRR in 22:16.
Drew Hunter, the 2019 USA indoor two-mile champion who won the national 5K road championship in New York City on Nov. 6 with a time of 13:53; and Olympian Donn Cabral, who was second at the 2015 MRR and has had seven top-10 finishes in Manchester.
Cabral, a graduate of Glastonbury High School who was the NCAA champion in the steeplechase when he competed for Princeton, was the fastest runner (23:00) in last November’s Virtual Manchester Road Race.
Weini Kelati, who won the women’s national 5K road championship in New York City on Nov 6th with a time of 15:18, and Monicah Ngige, the fourth-place finisher at this year’s Boston Marathon who had a fourth-place finish here in 2018 (25:02), are also expected to make strong showings in the women’s race.
Diriba, 27, won the women’s championship at the 2017 MRR with a time of 23:57 after edging runner-up Molly Huddle at the tape by a second and she was hoping to back to race this year.
However, the 27-year-old Ethiopia runner who set the course mark of 23:57 in 2017, will not compete this year.
Monicah Ngige, a Kenyan runner who placed fourth at last month’s Boston Marathon, has also registered to run in Manchester this November. Ngige, 28, was the fourth-place finisher at the 2018 MRR with a time of 25:02.
“Our elite runner coordinator, Jim Harvey, has done a brilliant job of assembling excellent fields of elite runners for our return to Main Street and the celebration of our 85th Manchester Road Race this year,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the road race committee. “It is going to be a very exciting road race,” he predicted.