Manchester Road Race braces for arctic-like weather

MANCHESTER -- Cold is the word when it comes to this year's Thanksgiving forecast. But for the many runners that take part in the Manchester Road Race, what does the arctic-like temperatures mean?

"We're in it to win it!" said Jackie Owens of South Glastonbury.

Owens will be running in the Manchester Road Race for the first time along with her husband.

Knowing how dangerously cold it is expected to be, Owens said she came up with several strategies to stay warm.

"The biggest one is layers. Lots of layers! We have those Under Armour and other weather-tech type of long sleeves and pants and then hand warmers and toe warmers," added Owens.

Mayor Jay Moran said his health no longer allows him to run anymore, so this year he will be at the finish line ensuring all participants are well-fed and toasty.

"It’s not just about the elite runners, it’s about the 14-thousand other plus runners who come out and we always have the costume contest and we have safety man and some crazy folks will be running without their shirts tomorrow," said Mayor Moran.

The Elks Lodge was packed with first time and elite runners. Everyone gathered for the Annual Spaghetti Dinner, an appetizing event that is meant to prep runners before the big day.

For elite runners like 28-year old Donnie Cabral, he said he is not looking forward to the freezing temperatures, but nothing will stand in his way.

"My training’s been great. I’m prepared. I’m probably going to race tomorrow wearing more clothes than I’ve ever raced in. Runners don’t like to be encumbered at all but I’m going to wear long sleeves and probably cover almost all the way up to my knees which is a lot for a runner," said Cabral of Hartford.

The race isn't canceled, according to officials, but they are providing tips for runners and bystanders to stay warm, as well as a list of warming locations:

The following fixed site emergency warming locations are:
• St James Church basement, (Main St.)
• St. James school gym (on Park St.)
• Bennet Academy gym (Main St. and School St.)
• Salvation Army building (661 Main St.)

Additionally, there will be two buses staged on the course for people to get out of the cold.
• Bus #1 will be located at Highland Park School
• Bus #2 will be located on Hartford Rd. at the corner of Main St.

Here is a list of suggested safety precautions for athletes and fans participating in the race:

Dress in Layers

The key to staying safe in the cold is to wear several layers of clothing. Wearing the right shoes and clothes helps:
• Keep your body heat trapped inside your clothes
• Protects you from cold air, wind, snow, or rain
• Protects you from contact with cold surfaces

You may need several layers of clothing in cold weather:

An inner layer that wicks sweat away from the skin. It can be lightweight wool, polyester, or polypropylene (polypro). Never wear cotton in cold weather, including your underwear. Cotton absorbs moisture and keeps it next to your skin, making you cold.

Middle layers that insulate and keep heat in. They can be polyester fleece, wool, microfiber insulation, or down. Depending on your activity, you may need a couple of insulating layers.

An outer layer that repels wind, snow, and rain. Try to choose a fabric that is both breathable and rain and wind proof. If your outer layer is not also breathable, sweat can build up and make you cold.

You also need to protect your hands, feet, neck, and face. Depending on your activity, you may need the following:
• Warm hat
• Face mask
• Scarf or neck warmer
• Mittens or gloves (mittens tend to be warmer)
• Wool or polypro socks
• Warm, waterproof shoes or boots

The key with all of your layers is to take them off as you warm up and add them back as you cool down.

If you wear too much while exercising, you will sweat a lot, which can make you colder.

Get Plenty of Food and Fluids

You need both food and fluids to fuel your body and keep you warm. If you skimp on either, you increase your risk for cold weather injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite.

Eating foods with carbohydrates gives you quick energy. If you are only out for a short time, you may want to carry a snack bar to keep your energy going. If you are out all day skiing, hiking, or working, be sure to bring food with protein and fat as well to fuel you over many hours.

Drink plenty of fluids before and during activities in the cold. You may not feel as thirsty in cold weather, but you still lose fluids through your sweat and when you breathe.