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October 31. 2014 1:14AM

Manchester Marathon day to draw about 1,700 runners


 


Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay

When: Sunday, 8:50 a.m.

Start: Elm Street, in front of the Citizens Bank building

Finish: Elm Street, Veterans Memorial Park

More info: www.cityofmanchestermarathon.com

Race officials are projecting another strong showing for the eighth annual Anthem Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay set for Sunday at 8:50 a.m.

“We’re expecting around 1,700 runners this year,” said race director Jayne Cornell who noted through Monday 474 runners signed up for the marathon and 545 for the half marathon. In the relay race, 117 teams have registered for the race.

Last year, the field consisted of 1,463 total registrants. There were 823 people signed up for the half marathon, 541 for the full and 99 teams for the relay.

The marathon starting line Sunday is on Elm Street in front of the Citizens Bank building. The finish line is at the north entrance of Veterans Memorial Park, at the intersection of Elm and Merrimack streets, which serves as the Athletes Village.

This year marks the second time the marathon is serving as a USA Track and Field-New England Grand Prix event and, according to Cornell, 140 USATF-NE runners have registered for Sunday’s race.

Beginning at the three-mile mark, there will be water stops every two miles, said Cornell. Two ambulance crews will roam the course. A medical tent will be available at Veterans Park, and police posts along the course will stop traffic and direct the runners.

“We will have close to 300 volunteers on race day this year,” said Cornell, who said the expected chilly 40-degree race day temperature is ideal for the runners. “I just hope we don’t get any precipitation like snow or freezing rain.”


 

Cornell said Sunday’s marathon is a qualifier for the 2016 Boston Marathon.

Last year, the women grabbed the spotlight when two records fell. Tezata Dengersa, a native of Ethiopia, set a marathon record in 2:50.14, breaking the previous mark of 2:55.16.

In the half marathon, Ethiopia native Desta Girma, of Silver Spring, Md., set a record last year in 1:16:24, besting the previous mark of 1:16:32 by New Hampshire’s Heidi Westerling in 2008.

Elijah Kitur of Kenya holds the men’s half-marathon record (1:07.31) and Ethiopian Fikadu Lema owns the marathon record at 2:23.46.

Last year, a total of 730 runners from New Hampshire competed in either the marathon or half-marathon races.

One can also register in person at the Anthem Sports & Wellness Exposition at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester on Elm Street on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is the primary sponsor and the New Hampshire Union Leader is a co-sponsor of the marathon races.


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