Year after hosting shadow race abroad, Conn. soldiers ready to continue MRR tradition

MANCHESTER -- As the 80th running of the Manchester Road Race gets closer, two Connecticut Army National Guardsmen are now back home and happy to join the running.

But, despite the fact they weren't in Connecticut last year, the still were able to run the famed road race.

Staff Sgt. Brian Koehler and First Lt. Ben Sullivan were stationed in Kosovo last Thanksgiving, but their tradition of running the Manchester Road Race endured.

"We were like, 'hey, why don't we do a shadow run' and we reached out to the Manchester Road Race Committee," said Staff Sgt. Koehler.

Lt. Sullivan added, "I said let's try to make to make this something and we got 35 people to come out and run for it."

Getting ready for Thursday's race, the two guardsmen are happy to be home but say their road race "shadow run" is an idea that will continue.

"I think there will be future shadow  runs," Sullivan said. "It's tradition and when you are away you don't want to miss out on that."