MANCHESTER-- The path to the 79th Manchester Road Race begins early or, at least, that's the idea.
The race is a Thanksgiving tradition, but for dozens kids at Verplanck Elementary, Christmas came early.
On Friday, a day before the Little Manchester Road race was to be held for kids to run, the Road Race committee, along with Fleet Feet Sports of West Hartford and Asics, got together to donate 60 pairs of sneakers to the kids in the school's running club.
"The Manchester Road Race is all about giving back to the town," said Steph Blozy, the owner of Fleet Feet. "These kids could use some new sneakers so we talked to Ascis and wrote a grant."
Not only did Asics come through with the shoes, they also brought in Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor, a marathoner who raced for the United States in the 2004 games in Athens.
"I think starting kids in this sport makes them faster as they get older but also makes them better people," Kastor said.
Olivia Decormier, a fourth-grader in the running club, said of her new sneakers, "I think they're really good and they're comfy."
Fifth-grader Maliek Sprowl added, "They will help me with my running and help me run faster and better."
For more information on the Little Manchester Road Race, which begins at 8:30 a.m., click here.