82nd Manchester Road Race will feature super cold temps but will go on as scheduled

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By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved – Used with permission.

MANCHESTER, Conn. (21-Nov) — Record cold conditions will face the approximately 11,000 runners who will line up for the 82nd annual Manchester Road Race here tomorrow.  Local forecasters are predicting severely cold weather for the hilly, 4.748-mile race, accompanied by strong winds.  At the 10:00 a.m. start time, the temperature will be about 16F/-9C.

“Overnight lows tonight between 10 degrees (-12C) and 17 degrees (-8C), but the ‘real feel’ will be between minus five (-21C) and plus five (-15C),” Fox 61 meteorologist Matt Scott told his viewers this morning.  “And, that’s the way it will stay tomorrow morning for the Manchester Road Race.  If you’re headed out to watch… bundle up!”

Race organizers warned runners to be prepared for the severe cold, but that the race would go on as scheduled.

“Our road race has been held throughout the years in all kinds of conditions, and although we are urging everyone to take appropriate precautions, our Thanksgiving Day tradition will continue as planned,” said Manchester Road Race Committee president, Dr. Tris Carta, through a statement.  “We are urging our runners and spectators to dress warmly, in layers of clothing,” he added.

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In cooperation with City of Manchester officials, four warming centers will be available in downtown Manchester for runners:

. St James Church basement, (Main St.)

. St. James school gym (Park St.)

. Bennet Academy gym (Main St. and School St.)

. Salvation Army building (661 Main St.)

Additionally, there will be two buses staged on the course for people to get out of the cold, just in case:

. Bus #1 will be located at Highland Park School

. Bus #2 will be located on Hartford Rd. at the corner of Main St.

Although conditions for last year’s race were cold, they were not severe: 36F/2C at the start with ample sunshine and not much wind.  The race winners were Olympic medalist Paul Chelimo of Colorado Springs, Colo. (21:32), and all-purpose road racer Buze Diriba of Ethiopia (23:57).  Diriba’s time was a course record, and she just edged Molly Huddle of Providence, R.I., by one second in a sprint finish.  Both Chelimo and Diriba are expected to run tomorrow, organizers said.

Prize money for this year’s race has been raised significantly. Chelimo and Diriba made $4000 each for their victories last year (Diriba also earned a $2000 course record bonus), but tomorrow’s winners will receive $7000, instead.  Other top athletes expected to compete include Olympian Diane Nukuri of Flagstaff, Ariz.; multiple national champion Emily Sisson of Providence, R.I. (both previous winners), and two-time Olympic medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand.  Willis will be running the race for the first time.

Well behind the elites, 72 year-old Amby Burfoot, a nine-time Manchester winner from 1968 through 1977, will attempt to complete the race a record 56th consecutive time.

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