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Runners gather for pre-race pasta Manchester Road Race tradition

MANCHESTER -- It's the hustle and bustle before the big day, a tradition that runners look forward to each year.

The night before the Manchester Road Race hundreds pack into the Elks Lodge for the annual spaghetti dinner.

“We invite people who are registered runners for the Manchester Road Race to come share an evening with us, doing carbohydrate loading, we call it our pasta dinner,” said Jim Balcome, the Manchester Road Race Director.

It's a way for runners to fuel up and reconnect.

“The pasta dinner packs it in It's an opportunity to meet all the elite runners because we do have some great runners here,” said Manchester Mayor Jay Moran.

Many of them make it a tradition to spend Thanksgiving morning in Manchester.

“People in Connecticut I don't think realize how competitive the Manchester Road Race is, because it's your local Turkey Trot," said Donn Cabral, one of the elite runners from Connecticut. "If you look at some of the runners who are here, there are Olympic medalists, Olympians, there are not just national champions, but some of the best runners to ever grace the NCAA are here,”

In all, there are about 11,000 runners who will be hitting the streets after a shotgun start.

“It's a great time, and I'm always ready to shoot that gun and run away, the fastest guy out there now,” said Bob Moran, the man who starts the Manchester Road Race.

It will be a sight to see Thanksgiving morning as they run down Main Street.

“It's really fun because I have all my friends here, and I just enjoy the comradery,” said Karen Saunders, who will be running in the race.

“The Road Race itself is like a high holy day here. It's like Christmas morning for most people,” added Mayor Moran.

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