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Ian Dobson Trying to Defend Manchester Road Race Title vs Mayor's Cup XC Champ Girma Tola, Martin Fagan and Many More
By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

America's most venerated Thanksgiving Day running race, the Manchester Road Race, will celebrate its 71st edition on Thursday in Manchester, Conn., with some top talent at the front.

In the men's race, last year's champion Ian Dobson, the former Stanford star, will try to become the first American to defend his title at Manchester since steeplechaser John Gregorek won two in a row in 1988 and '89.  In cold and rainy conditions last year, Dobson prevailed by just one second over Canadian Simon Bairu.

Dobson's key competition will likely come from a pair of Ethiopian Olympians, Dagne Alemu and Girma Tola.  Alemu has won three consecutive races since winning the York White Rose Run on Nov. 11; Tola won the Baltimore Half-Marathon on Oct. 13 and the Boston Mayor's Cup Cross Country on Oct. 28.  Also in the mix will be 2002 Manchester champion, Andrew Letherby of Australia; New Zealand Olympian Michael Aish; Canadians Reid Coolsaet and Dylan Wykes; Irishman Martin Fagan; steeplechasers Dan Huling and Brian Olinger; and milers Rob Myers and Grant Robison.

Last year's women's champion, Shalane Flanagan, is not expected to compete.  However, Irishwoman Mary Cullen, last year's runner-up, is indeed on the entry list, as is her compatriot, steeplechaser Roisin McGettigan.  Other contenders for the win include Americans Molly Huddle, Nicole Aish, Amy Begley and Kassi Anderson.  Canadian Megan Metcalfe and Kenyan Caroline Chepkorir are also expected to take part.

Manchester's hilly 4.748 mile course is very challenging, but some fast times have been recorded.  The course records are 21:19 by two-time winner Phillimon Hanneck set in 1995, and 23:59 set by the late Emilie Mondor in 2003.

One of America's biggest Thanksgiving Day races, last year's event had 8,271 finishers.

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