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Scene in Manchester: Totally Awesome 80's Run fends off middle age

Special to The New Hampshire Union Leader

January 20. 2013 9:54PM

I am a child of the 80's. Just ask my stone-washed jeans, Cabbage Patch Kid, and Debbie Gibson cassette tape. While it may seem like yesterday, that decade was a long time ago, and many people of my generation have embraced running in an attempt to slow our progression toward middle age. I think the Totally Awesome 80's Run, which combines nostalgia for our youth with the exercise we are using to cling to it, may be the best thing I've heard about in a long time.

The April 21st 5K is being brought to us by 80's kid and former Manchester resident Ken Culbertson. The 1990 Pinkerton graduate now lives outside Philadelphia and operates Good Day for a Run, LLC, a racing management company specializing in unique racing experiences. He was recently asked to come back home to put on one of his 80's-themed races to help raise money for the nonprofit CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

It seems runners are no longer satisfied with a simple start, finish, and bib number. Races around here always seem to include costumes, music, and of course, beer. And the Totally Awesome 80's Run is bringing it to a new level with a post-race party at the Radisson. There will be live music from The Big 80's Band, a Best "Running Man" competition, food, cash bar, and awards for best costumes.

The fun starts at 11 a.m. And the cost for both the race and after-party is $30, which includes a shirt. Now I just have to practice running in leg warmers and jelly shoes.

Visit to register and see pictures and some of the fabulous costumes from past 80's races.

In memory of the Maestro

It's been a few years since I had the opportunity to have lunch with Dick Anagnost, but his tales of growing up in the Queen City made a huge impression on me. He started opening his own businesses at an age when I was still far too busy spending my parents' money to even think about getting an actual job. The successful and inspirational entrepreneur has contributed much of his time, talent and treasure to our community and that generosity continues with a recent major contribution to the Manchester Community Music School.

With it, the school officially renamed its 27-year-old New Hampshire Youth Symphony Orchestra in honor of Anagnost's late brother. The Dino Anagnost Youth Symphony Orchestra of New Hampshire was to be officially dedicated yesterday during a celebration concert featuring the music of the Maestro's favorite composers.

Success wasn't limited to the business kind in the Anagnost family. Before his death in 2011, Maestro Anagnost was music director and conductor of The Little Orchestra Society of New York for 33 years. A Google search produced countless stories on the contributions he made to the performing arts culture in New York City, as well as other major cities all over the world. He was educated at Boston University, The Juilliard School, Harvard University, Tanglewood and New England Conservatory, where he pursued advanced music studies, and Columbia University where he earned his doctorate in music and held the position of adjunct professor of music.

While the contributions made by the Anagnost brothers may seem worlds apart, I believe creativity must be the driving factor in both of their successes. Navigating the business climate of New Hampshire takes just as much 'thinking outside the box' as putting together live music performances. It is sad to have lost such an amazing creative success from Manchester, but we are fortunate that his equally creative brother loves this city and is honoring the Maestro's legacy with a donation toward music education in our city.

Snowshoe Frisbee Golf

Because you can never have too many opportunities to play Snowshoe Frisbee Golf, the Massabesic Audubon Center is offering two upcoming chances to play this soon-to-be-Olympic event. This Saturday you can play at the center's beautiful Auburn fields, all while learning about native plant and animal life from an Audubon naturalist. It sounds like a fine time to me as long as the naturalist doesn't try to show me a black-throated blue warbler during my back swing.

The cost is $5 per person, and tee times are available between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Snowshoes are available for rent.

The second opportunity to play is Saturday, Feb. 9. This time it's a fundraiser to help the center update its supply of snowshoes and the cost is $15 per person. The entry fee includes the use of snowshoes (which I am suspect of since this is a fundraiser to replace them) and prizes for the winning teams.

Snowshoe Frisbee Golf is just like regular golf, but instead of getting a ball in a hole you have to hit a tree trunk with a Frisbee. And you have to pay $15 for each lost Frisbee. OK, it's nothing like real golf, except the lowest score wins.

Players must be at least 12 years old. Call 668-2045 for a tee time to either event. Visit for official rules and more information.

75 years of yachting

The Massabesic Yacht Club has always confused me. When I hear "yacht" I envision a big, fancy boat carrying hip-hop moguls. Yet I've never seen Jay-Z hitting Goldenrod for a maple walnut cone after a day on his boat with Beyonce and baby Blue Ivy.

Turns out a yacht isn't reserved for the rich and famous and can be any recreational boat. So 75 years ago when the Massabesic Yacht Club was founded to encourage and promote the sport of sailing and the art of seamanship, the name made perfect sense and it still does. Today, the club carries the same mission at its headquarters on Bypass 28 in Auburn, just a short distance from the traffic circle.

I am thankful to the club's Margaret Adams for alerting me to its anniversary, which will be celebrated all year long. I was inspired to check out the club's website,, and discovered old stories from this very newspaper about the club's beginnings. It also has information on the club's four-week Learn to Sail program in June. I'll have to check it out, now that I know I don't need to befriend Jay-Z to sail a yacht.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

The Jewish Federation of New Hampshire has a great family event scheduled for Sunday with Wunderle's Big Top Adventures Circus Extravaganza. Roy Wunderle, artistic director of Circus Smirkus and director of clowns for Ringling Brothers, will delight the audience with expert juggling, wacky globe walking, astounding ladder balancing, sensational plate spinning, daring unicycle antics and comic buffoonery. Tickets are $5 at the door for kids and free for the adults who accompany them.

To see many more fun and educational events for all ages, or to list your event for free, visit

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