Chelanga wins Manchester Road Race; Burfoot breaks record

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Nov. 29, 2013
The lead pack starts the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day.  Photos by Corey AmEnde.
The lead pack starts the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day. Photos by Corey AmEnde.

From the elite runners, to the casual joggers to the costume characters, the 77th annual running of the Manchester Road Race featured a little bit of everything that spectators have grown to expect on a crisp, but sunny Thanksgiving Day.

Sam Chelanga, originally from Kenya, was the top overall finisher, with a time of 21:32.  Chelanga was a nine-time All-American at Liberty University and was the NCAA Cross Country Champion in 2009. 

Alice Kamunya was the first female finisher, with a time of 25:08. 

Chelanga was competing in his first Manchester Road Race and said he was impressed by the size of the crowd.  “That’s something you see in Boston and New York, especially on Thanksgiving, so that kept me going,” he said.

Amby Burfoot, the honorary chairperson of the race, set a record by completing his 51st consecutive Manchester Road Race in 48:09.  Burfoot, a nine-time winner of the race, was previously tied with the late Dr. Charlie Robbins for the longevity record of 50 straight races.  Burfoot ran his first race in 1963 at the age of 17.  He won the Boston Marathon in 1968.

The 4.748-mile course was packed with 15,000 runners this year. Two of them, Jesse Houchens and his father Steven Houchens, both ran their first Manchester Road Race.  Steven was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five years ago but still continues to run.  “I’ve been doing it for 40 years and it keeps me going,” said Steven.

“He’s my inspiration,” said Jesse.  “He keeps me running.”

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