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'This is happening, this is for real!' | Final details in place to get Manchester roads race ready

The 85th Manchester Road Race returns after two years on Thanksgiving.

MANCHESTER, Conn — The 85th running of the Manchester Road Race means there is even more running around going on behind the scenes – especially the day before the race.

On Wednesday, crews from the Manchester Public Works Department were out on the streets putting the final preparations in place to welcome 8,700 registered runners and tens of thousands of fans on Thanksgiving Day.

“We’ve been reviewing notes, maps, and plans for months now – the last two or three months making sure everything is in line,” Scott Clairmont, the field services superintendent at Manchester’s Public Works Department, said. “We’ve been setting up cones, setting up fencing, tomorrow morning we will be in at 5 a.m. to continue it and make sure everything is smooth.”

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Standing at the starting line on Main Street, Thayer Redman, the assistant race director, said just returning to the race after it was cancelled (in-person) in 2020 is a win.

Redman expects that – all told – more than ten thousand runners will show up because some will be unregistered.

“We’re happy – that’s a great turnout --considering everything we’ve been through,” he said. “We are going to have thousands and thousands of fans on Main Street and all around the course.”

Race director Jim Balcome added, “this is happening, this is for real!”

Redman, who is also the track coach at Manchester High School, said the sense of community will be even stronger at the 2021 running of the race because so many people have missed it.

“I think we are going to be more thankful than normal,” said Redman, “this is like a reunion for me, it’s like seeing family again.”

Tune in at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day for FOX61's full coverage of the Manchester Road Race.

The race will be broadcast live on FOX61, fox61.com, FOX61's news, ROKU and Amazon FireTV apps and on FOX61’s YouTube page.

The two-hour show will be re-broadcast on CW20 at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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