The Manchester Road Race Committee will sponsor two walk-in Covid-19 clinics during the weeks prior to the Thanksgiving Day run, race officials announced today.

Race organizers are collaborating with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Griffin Hospital Community Outreach Mobile Vaccination Team to offer the vaccines.  The clinics will be held at the Manchester High School cafeteria (134 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, October 16th, and Saturday, November 6th.

The clinics are free, open to everyone, and will offer the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.  First and second vaccinations, and Pfizer booster shots for those who qualify under current guidelines to receive them, will be available at the clinics.  First-time vaccine recipients will receive a $20 gift certificate donated by Stop & Shop.  Face masks must be worn at the clinics.

Anyone age 12 or older is eligible for the vaccine.  You do not have to be entered in the Manchester Road Race, or a resident of Manchester, in order to be vaccinated. Although the vaccines will be administered free of charge, individuals are encouraged to bring their health insurance cards and a form of photo identification to the clinics.  However, no one will be refused for lack of insurance or ID.

MRR officials said that the three-week period between the October 16th and November 6th clinic dates will enable persons receiving the Pfizer vaccine to be fully immunized prior to the Thanksgiving Day Road Race.

“We are strongly urging everyone who wants to run, watch, or volunteer at the race to get the shots and be fully vaccinated prior to Thanksgiving,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “These clinics are part of our effort, in consultation with the Town of Manchester and the State of Connecticut, to make this year’s road race as safe and healthy as possible for everyone.”

Further information about the Covid-19 vaccines, their safety, and effectiveness can be found at the Griffin Hospital website.


Long-time Manchester Road Race volunteer Dave Smith of Vernon was inducted into the Rockville High School Athletic Hall of Fame on September 19th.

Smith, a teacher at Rockville High for many years, was the coach of the school’s cross country and track and field teams from 1989-2006

Smith has volunteered at the MRR’s finish line for decades. He also served for many years on the MRR Executive Committee.

“Dave is an innovative educator and terrific coach,” said Jim Balcome, the MRR Race Director and a colleague of Smith’s at R.H.S.  “He truly deserves this honor.”


Kim Smith, a three-time Olympian from New Zealand who won the Manchester Road Race twice, will serve as the event’s honorary chairperson this November, road race officials announced today.

Smith, 39, captured back-to-back Thanksgiving Day championships in Manchester in 2004 and 2005. When she beat Amy Rudolph in 2004 to win the women’s division in 24:47, Smith finished in 25th place overall.  She defended her title the following year with a time of 24:23 and placed 27th.  Approximately 10,000 male and female runners competed in each race.

Smith won four individual NCAA championships in track and cross country while competing for Coach Ray Treacy at Providence College.  Smith transferred to Providence from the Auckland College of Education in New Zealand during her junior year. The four NCAA titles that she earned in two years are the most won by any runner in the school’s history.

Smith represented New Zealand at the Olympic Games at Athens in 2004 (5000 meters), at Beijing in 2008 (10,000 meters) and at London in 2012 (marathon). She finished 15th in the marathon at the London Olympics in 2:26:59.    

Retired from competitive athletics since 2016 and now living in Rhode Island, Smith set 14 New Zealand national records for track and road racing.  They include times of 14:39 for the indoor 5000 meters, 30:35 for the 10,000 meters, 1:07.11 for the half marathon and 2:25:21 in the marathon.

Smith’s record of 1:07.11 in the half marathon, set in 2011 in Philadelphia, was the fastest time ever posted by a woman in the event on U.S. soil at that time.

“Kim Smith is an extremely versatile and talented athlete who had marvelous performances here,” said Dr. Tris Carta, Manchester Road Race President.  “It’s very difficult to win our race two years in a row, but Kim made it look easy.”

“We are extremely honored and pleased that Kim has agreed to serve as our honorary chairperson this year,” Carta added.  “It will be great to welcome her back to Manchester.”


Registration for the 85th annual Manchester Road Race, Connecticut’s largest and oldest holiday run, will begin on September 1st.

Runners can enter the 4.748-mile race, which starts at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2021), online at

The registration fee is $32 prior to October 1st, and $37 thereafter. Walk-in entries can be made in person on November 20th between 9 a.m. and 12 noon at the MRR Sports Expo at Manchester High School. Registration closes at noon (EST) on November 23rd. No post entries will be accepted on race day.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the Manchester Road Race Committee to cancel its on-site road race last November and hold a virtual event instead. A total of 1749 runners from throughout Connecticut, the United States, and the world, participated in the Virtual Manchester Road Race by running the 4.748-mile distance at locations of their choice while being tracked by a GPS-enabled app on their cell phones.

Race organizers, in consultation with the Town of Manchester, are currently making plans to resume holding the traditional on-site road race through the town’s central streets this year on Thanksgiving morning.

“Obviously, we will be guided by the state and local pandemic protocols and regulations that will be in place in November, and how the race will be conducted will depend on conditions that exist then,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “But we are enthusiastically looking forward to seeing the runners back on Main Street this Thanksgiving,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to make it a thoroughly safe and enjoyable competition and celebration, and we are strongly urging all of our runners, spectators and volunteers to be fully vaccinated.”  Carta added that the race committee will remain in close contact with public health officials, and provide further guidance to runners and spectators on the race website during the coming weeks.
Carta indicated that the response to the new cell phone app was so enthusiastic in 2020 that this year’s race will be hybrid.  “Every entrant who signs up this year will automatically have the capacity to either run on our regular course on Thanksgiving morning, or to participate remotely by using the cell phone app,” he said.

According to Carta, runners who choose to compete on the Manchester course on race day will be tracked via the timing chips in their bibs, and will not have to carry phones.  Runners who opt to participate virtually at another location will be tracked and timed by the cell phone app.

Virtual runners will be credited with an official MRR finish for longevity streak purposes but will not be eligible to receive awards or recognition for record times.  The virtual race will be held during a 36-hour period, starting at 6 a.m. (EST) on Thanksgiving Day and ending at 6 p.m. (EST) the following day (Friday, November 26th).


The runners will return to Main Street and a revered holiday tradition will resume in Manchester on Thanksgiving morning.

The Manchester Road Race Committee announced today that it is making plans to hold its usual 4.748-mile run on Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2021).

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the committee to cancel the road race last Thanksgiving and hold a virtual event instead.  Based on the elimination of most pandemic restrictions in the state, and after conferring recently with town officials, race organizers now have the green light to stage the traditional holiday run through the town’s central streets.

“We’re back,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “Barring any adverse changes in the current public health conditions or state and federal regulations, we will hold our regular road race this year,” he said.  “We’ve already begun planning, and we are hoping to make the 85th annual Manchester Road Race a very special celebration.”

“There’s nothing quite as special as Thanksgiving morning in Manchester, Connecticut,” said Manchester Mayor Jay Moran.  “The Town is thrilled to be hosting the Manchester Road Race once again.”

In addition to holding the on-site road race on Thanksgiving, the MRR committee will sponsor a virtual road race again this year.  Runners anywhere in the world can participate in the race by using the MRR’s proprietary timing app on their smart phones.  Approximately 2,000 runners and walkers entered last year’s Virtual Manchester Road Race.  The race committee also sponsored a highly successful blood drive on the day after Thanksgiving last November that collected 306 pints of blood for the American Red Cross.

Carta emphasized that the race committee is “strongly urging” that all runners and volunteers receive Covid-19 vaccinations prior to this year’s road race. “We want the Manchester Road Race to be as safe as we can possibly make it, and that will of course depend heavily on the cooperation of our participants and volunteers in getting fully vaccinated,” Carta said.  He added that the race committee will work closely with the town and continually monitor public health conditions and state and federal guidance between now and November.

Manchester Director of Public Health Jeffrey Catlett stated that “the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions here in Connecticut is a direct result of our successful vaccination efforts.”  “The vaccine is safe, effective and the reason why we are able to hold this year’s race in person,” he added.  “So far 98% of Manchester residents over age 65 have received at least one vaccine dose, plus nearly 75% of those over 45 and over half of residents over age 15.  To ensure the positive trends continue, we are asking any eligible resident who has yet to be vaccinated to sign up.”

The race committee will announce details about the status of other race week events, including the Little Manchester Road Race, in the near future, Carta said.

The 85th Manchester Road Race will be held at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.  The race, which is run on a loop course, starts and finishes on Main Street in Manchester, in front of St. James Church.

On-line registration for the road race will open on September 1st.


Although the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Manchester Road Race Committee to hold a virtual event last November, it didn’t stop the group from continuing its decades-long tradition of charitable giving.

The race committee announced today that it will donate a total of $40,000 to four nonprofit organizations this month.

The coronavirus health crisis prevented race officials from holding the traditional Turkey Day run through the town’s central streets last November.  It was the first time since 1945 that the annual holiday race was not held in Manchester on Thanksgiving morning.  The committee held a virtual road race instead. 

The first-ever Virtual Manchester Road Race attracted approximately 2,000 registered runners who used the MRR’s proprietary app on their smartphones while they ran the 4.748-mile distance at locations throughout Connecticut, the United States, and in several foreign countries during the week prior to Thanksgiving

Carta said that in order to combat food insecurity in the community that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and its resultant economic impact, the committee will give $20,000 to the Manchester Area Conference of Churches Food Pantry. A check for $10,000 will be sent to the Muscular Dystrophy
Association to support its research efforts.  The fight against the crippling childhood disease has been a primary charitable objective of MRR sponsors since the early 1950s.

Two donations of $5000 each will be made to the Manchester Police Activities League and to Dinda House, a transitional living facility for veterans that is located in Manchester.

“We are able to make these contributions thanks to the tremendous generosity of our financial sponsors and virtual road race entrants,” said Dr. Tris Carta, President of the Manchester Road Race Committee. “Because of the devastating economic conditions caused by the pandemic, the race committee believed that it was imperative to provide whatever financial support we could this year.”

The principal financial sponsors of the 2020 Virtual Manchester Road Race were Pratt & Whitney and Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN).

Carta noted that the MRR also “gave back” to the community last November when it sponsored a highly successful blood drive in conjunction with the Connecticut Chapter of American Red Cross on the day after Thanksgiving.  A total of 306 pints of blood were collected, which will help 918 hospital patients in need of blood, plasma, and platelets.

Carta said that the road race committee will begin planning for next November’s 85th annual MRR shortly. “We will be consulting soon with officials from the state and the Town of Manchester and will make an announcement as soon as we feasibly can,” Carta said.  “Public health and safety will be our only concern, but we are obviously hoping and praying that we’ll be able to hold the road race on Main Street on Thanksgiving morning.”     

Welcome to the 85th Running of the Manchester Road Race

4.748 Miles November 25, 2021