Manchester Road Race RR (Read 104 times)


Fast Penquin

    Hey all, RW refugee here.


    Well its a few days late but here is my RR for the Manchester Road Race.


    MRR History. MRR has been run for the last 76 years on Thanksgiving.  The last few years they have capped the registration at 15000.  The variety of runners is astounding.  The field this year included Olympians, Amby Burfoot, and a whole bunch of people dressed in costumes.  The race has 3 corals, (under 30 minutes, 30-35 minutes, and 35-40 minutes) that you have to qualify the enter.


    Short Version.  I qualified for the 35-40 coral at the Hartford Half.  I ran the 4.74 mile course in 38:58, 2469 / 13411 (18.4%) overall and 187 / 684 (27.3%) in my age group.  Qualified for the same coral next year!.


    Long Version.  After my Half I ended up taking 3 weeks off with only 1 run (1 week to recover, and 2 weeks due to a massive cold).  That left me 3 weeks to get ready for the race.  The race is basically level for the first 0.5 miles then up hill for 2 miles then down hill and flat until the end.  Whats my big weakness?  Yup hills...  So I found some hills here at work and I ran hills for the last 2 weeks getting ready.  It turns out my hill route is almost the same distance and I ran 1 run fairly close to breaking the 40 minute mark so I felt okay about meeting the sub 40 goal. 


    I was more nervous about this run then I was my half as I new I was going to have to push it the whole way.

    From watching the weather reports I knew we were going to have a beautiful day, so I dressed in shorts, short sleeved shirt, arm sleeves, gloves and a running hat.  Before lining up in the coral I was down to just shirt and shorts.


    I got into the coral (my first time ever in a coral) with a friend and a bunch of her friends.  My plan was to stick with them as I knew they qualified year after year, and I didn't want to start out too fast or slow.  As we got ready to start and they started dropping the barriers everyone surged forward.  It was quite the crush.  Fianlly the gun went and we started running.  Last year my DW and I didn't move for 10 minutes after the gun went off, this year my differential was only 1 minute.  I spent teh first quarter mile weaving slower people (WTF, how did they qualify for a coral) and working my way from the left side of the road to the right so I could wave at my family.  Then I started gearing up for the hill.  I was still weaving through people who I am pretty sure couldn't have qualified for any of the 3 corals, but I guess coral jumping is quite common in this race.  At the base of the hill I got seperated from my friend so I picked up my pace to catch one of her friends. 


    Mile 1 8:49 (too slow)


    The hill climb, went fairly well.  I kepted passing people and kept the pace up.  Lots of spectators along the hill climb, lots of cheering, lots of beer available if you want it Smile, though I didn't partake as I am not sure I could have held it down.  The course was still fairly packed (but it was worse from what I hear further back).  I thought I remembered where the hill ended, so I was excited to see the market, but the hill actually goes on for another quarter mile (rat farts!)


    Mile 2 8:48 (still too slow)


    Finally hit the top of the hill, they had volunteers handing out water bottles.  I knew I couldn't run and drink from a paper cup, and I knew I didn't need water (Right Brad? Smile) so I figured I couldn't drink from a water bottle either and passed on the water.  I thought the downhill portion was steep and short, but that is not the case.  The steeper section is about a mile long and not too steep.  I was able to start ramping up the pace as I knew I needed to hit 8:24 mpm.


    Mile 3 7:54 (thats better)


    After the steep down hillthe course seems to level out (but the elevation graph doesn't show that, it shows that its still down hill).  But I kept plugging along and poicking off runners one by one.  I kept hearing chants of USA USA USA, and was wondering what that was about.  I finally looked up to see one of the regular costumed groups right ahead.  Its three current or former US Rangers, one painted red, one white, and 1 blue (in just speedos) carrying an American Flag.  Not a sight I would normally like to see but it was fun to have them near as the crowd really gets going when they go by.  I do have to say the spectators for this run are incredible.  THere must have been more here then for the Hartford Half.  People nearly covered the entire course cheering the whole time.  It was AWESOME!  I heard 1 runner tell his buddy, the final turn is right a an upcoming church and I looked up to see the steeple.  I started to push more to get to the steeple.


    Mile 4 7:51 (woot).


    Made the finally turn and let ramped up the pace more.  They were taking pictures (not yet published) so I made sure to smile and wave at the camera.  But I kept finding rabbit after rabbit to help push me to the finish line.  I saw 39:XX on the official clock so I knew I was going to beat 40 but I still made 1 finally burst to finish strong.


    Last 0.74 7:15


    Finished in 38:58 officially, and my fastest race to date!  Next year I hope to get some more speed work and hills in so maybe I can go sub 35, but right now I am happy as my racing season is over.


    Thanks for reading!

    Tick: I'm sure millions of viewers out there are just wondering what it's like to wear the tights of justice. Well, it's tingly and it's uncomfortable, but it gets the job done and, oh, the job of it.