Manchester is the place to be for Thanksgiving road race

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MANCHESTER -- The morning of the Manchester Road Race, downtown Manchester becomes the Thanksgiving destination for about 70,000 people.

“We’re completely packed from that door to right in, I mean you can’t walk,” said Dee Sulick, who owns Mulberry Street.

She says new customers and regulars pack in for the annual race.

“It’s just a great, a great day. Manchester really is, Thanksgiving Day is the best day in Manchester. I just love coming down here,” said Sulick.

A lot goes into getting Manchester ready for the day. Crews are out weeks in advance patching potholes for runners so they have a smooth course.

Crews are also out working on the downtown improvement projects to parking lots and walkways. The goal is to make them more user-friendly.

“We work very hard for a couple of weeks in particular to just continue to beautify something that already is very, very nice,” said Jim Balcome, the Race Director for the Manchester Road Race.

Balcome says in addition to the Town of Manchester making improvements, the race committee donates about $100,000 a year to different charities and programs that are relevant to the Manchester Road Race.

One of the places to benefit from that money is the Army and Navy Club on Main Street.

“Thanks to the Road Race Committee, who have been very beneficial to use, we’ve been able to make many improvements. The last of which, we just bought 300 new chairs which were paid for by the Road Race Committee,” said Nate Agostinelli, who sits on the Army and Navy Club Board of Trustees.

With all eyes on downtown Manchester on Thanksgiving, and tens of thousands of people giving the businesses there a boost, Manchester has to make sure it puts its best foot forward, so that people who go for the race, visit other times as well.

“Manchester, Main Street, to me is just a place that I like to be. It has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. It’s just a nice town to live in, and we want to showcase it on Race Day, best we can,” said Balcome.

Online registration is still open until Tuesday at noon, this year, no unattended bags will be allowed inside the "race loop." Instructions will be emailed to all registered runners.

The new location for the blood drive is Manchester High School.

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