Manchester Road Race: Making the elite runners feel at home

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MARLBOROUGH - Runners from around the world participate in the Manchester Road Race, and many rely on host families for a place to stay while they are in Connecticut.

Race Director Jim Balcome estimates there are between seven and eight host families for this year’s race; runners can also opt to stay in a hotel.

Several families have been hosting runners for years, also including them in their Thanksgiving post-race celebrations.

Dr. Daniel Veltri, his wife Jennifer and their six children have opened their Marlborough home to runners for the past two years. They are now preparing to host their third runner this week.

“After about the first 24 hours, it’s not like there’s someone else in the house,” says Jennifer Veltri. “They just kind of melt right in and either they do their own thing or they’re out. Last year, they were out with us watching T.V. It’s pretty fun to see what they’re like.”

Jennifer said she stocks her fridge with everything the runner might possibly need – include an ample supply of eggs and protein powder.

The runner also stays with the family for Thanksgiving dinner, integrating into the Veltri’s large family.

“Everyone always wants to talk to them and ask them about the race,” said daughter Katie Szemreylo, who will be running the race with her twin sister, Emily.

Balcome said the host families have become an integral part of what makes the Manchester Road Race a success.

“Elite runners run in races all over the world, and so they talk with each other,” Balcome explained. “And one of the topics of conversation that comes up frequently is, ‘Yeah, we’re going to Manchester. I’m staying with my host family.’ And it’s really kind of a neat thing.”

The Veltris said they will continue serving as a host family as long as there are runners who need a place to stay.

For more stories about the Manchester Road Race, go here.

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