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Manchester Road Race is a step closer to the starting line

The race's organizing crew officially kickstarted the event leading up to race day on Thanksgiving Day.

MANCHESTER, Conn. — It seemed like a reunion at the Manchester Country Club on Monday where, for the first time in two years, the Manchester Road Race Press Conference went on as planned.

The event brought runners, organizers, and sponsors together to talk about all things Manchester Road Race and share in the excitement for the 85th running of the race. The race was held virtually in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tris Carta, the race president, addressed the crowd at the Manchester Country Club and said, “we’re back better than ever the last 20 months have been tough.”

RELATED: 85th Manchester Road Race: What you need to know

“It’s going to be great and the enthusiasm that I anticipate seeing on that racecourse on Thanksgiving is just going to give us all such a great feeling,” Carta added.

This year the honorary chairperson of the Manchester Road Race is Kim Smith, a three-time Olympian for New Zealand and two-time Manchester Road Race winner in 2004 and 2005.

“This (race) was actually my first professional race of my career, so this was exciting, this kickstarted my career,” Smith said.

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Coming back for his 59th (yes, 59th!) race in a row, nine-time race winner Amby Burfoot is excited about the 85th edition of the Thanksgiving tradition.

“It’s important to come back because you can have a virtual race, as we did last year, but what this is -- it’s a celebration and to have a celebration, you have to get all of us down onto Main Street saying hello, high fiving, hootin’ it up and just having a good 'ol time,” the 75-year-old Burfoot said.

Carta added: "We call ourselves the Manchester Road Race family and it's just great to be back."

RELATED: Little Manchester Road Race sees over a thousand young runners Saturday

Registration for racers is up to nearly 8,500 participants as of Monday afternoon. The deadline to register for the Manchester Road Race is Tuesday Nov. 23 at 12 p.m. To learn more, click here.

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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