MANCHESTER -- They come from all over the country and the world to run the Manchester Road Race.
This year, the race itself has stepped up in stature because there is a new face in the race; five-time Olympian Bernard Lagat has joined the field.
Lagat, a native of Kenya and now a U.S. citizen racing out of Tuscon, Arizona, said he is excited to join the world-class field for the Thanksgiving Day classic.
"It's the perfect time of year to come to Manchester," Lagat said. "This race coming up on Thanksgiving, the biggest in the state, actually the biggest in the country, I have nothing to complain about."
Landing Lagat in Manchester is being called a coup by race analyst Ian Brooks.
"He's arguably the most charismatic athlete in USA Track and Field and maybe the world so to have him come here, it's huge," Brooks said.
Jim Harvey, the Manchester Road Race Elite Runners Coordinator added that Lagat's presence, "changes the dynamics of the race. He's one of the all-time greats."
Lagat, now 42-years-old, and a husband and father, would be the oldest competitor to win the Manchester Road Race if he is able to beat the top ranked field.
"I believe I can do it," Lagat said. "I just need to run my race, that's the most important part."