(23-Nov) -- The elite fields for Thursday's Manchester Road Race in Manchester, Conn., have been finalized, race organizers reported this morning. The classic Thanksgiving Day race, founded in 1927, will return to its usual 4.748-mile, hilly loop with the start and finish on Main Street after being held virtually last year. Among the hundreds of "Turkey Trots" to be held in the United States on Thursday, Manchester is the only event with a truly top-class elite field. Organizers expect 8,700 runners to answer the starter's gun at 10:00 a.m. EST.
PHOTO: The start of the 2017 Manchester Road Race (photo by David Monti for Race Results Weekly)
"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 Manchester Road Race Committee, through a statement. "It is going to be a very exciting road race."
The women's contest will feature an interesting match-up between USA 5-K champion Weini Kelati and 2:22 marathoner Keira D'Amato. Both American women will be running Manchester for the first time.
Also likely to contend for the win are Kenyans Edna Kiplagat, the two-time world marathon champion, and Monicah Ngige, most recently fourth at the Boston Marathon. Also entered are Britain's Amy-Eloise Markovc, the 2021 European indoor 3000m champion, and Americans Taylor Werner, the 2019 NCAA Championships 5000m runner-up, and Katie Izzo, fourth at the 2019 NCAA Championships in the 10,000m. In all, ten women have track or road 5-K personal bests under 16 minutes. Kiplagat was the Manchester winner in 2019.
Drew Hunter, the newly-crowned USA 5-K road running champion, leads the men's field and will be making his Manchester debut. Hunter's biggest challengers will likely be 2:07 marathon Leonard Korir, veteran Sam Chelanga, and two-time Falmouth Road Race champion Ben Flanagan, a Canadian. A total of 14 men have sub-14:00 5000m personal bests.
Thursday's race has a generous $47,800 prize money purse, and the top-3 men and women will receive $7,000, $4,000 and $3,000, respectively.
Behind the elites, 75 year-old Amby Burfoot will run Manchester for the 59th consecutive year (he ran virtually in 2020 using the race's traditional course). Burfoot, the 1968 Boston Marathon champion, won the Manchester Road Race nine times from 1968 through 1977. Should he finish the race on Thursday he will earn sole ownership of the record for most total Manchester finishes at 59.
Thursday's races will be broadcast on the Connecticut Fox affiliate, Fox 61. Their coverage will be streamed live and free globally at fox61.com at 10:00 a.m. EST.
The complete elite fields are below with 5000m personal bests.
Weini KELATI (USA), 14:58.24
Amy-Eloise MARKOVC (GBR), 15:03.22
Aisling CUFFE (USA), 15:11.13
Taylor WERNER (USA), 15:11.19i
Katie IZZO (USA), 15:13.09i
Monicah NGIGE (KEN), 15:16 (road)
Edna KIPLAGAT (40+/KEN), 15:20 (road)
Sarah INGLIS (GBR), 15:24.17
Fiona O'KEEFFE (USA), 15:31.45
Tristin VAN ORD (USA), 15:53.44
Emeline DELANIS (FRA), 16:02.54
Keira D'AMATO (USA), 16:09.86
Annmarie TUXBURY (USA), 16:17.45
Emily SETLACK (40+/CAN), 16:26.31
Whitney MACON (USA), 35:36 (road 10-K)
Sam CHELANGA (USA), 13:04.35i
Leonard KORIR (USA), 13:15.45
Drew HUNTER (USA), 13:17.55
Ben FLANAGAN (CAN), 13:20.67
Donn CABRAL (USA), 13:22.19
Jordan MANN (USA), 13:27.68i
Blaise FERRO (USA), 13:31.54
John DRESSEL (USA), 13:36.29
Alex OSTBERG (USA), 13:42.44
Mo HREZI (LBA), 13:42.80
Matt McCLINTOCK (USA), 13:47.68
Alfredo SANTANA (PUR), 13:48.10
Joey BERRIATUA (USA), 13:49.16
Julius DIEHR (USA), 13:56.79
Tai DINGER (USA), 14:09.41
Brendan PRINDIVILLE (USA), 14:10.96