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November 03. 2012 11:29PM

Field expected to grow for today's marathon


Brothers Owen Davis, left, first-grader, and Nathan, a second-grader at Green Acres School in Manchester, wear their medals and official warming blankets after the Anthem Manchester Kids Marathon at Livingston Park in Manchester on Saturday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Denise Sandahl of Rochester had visions of running through Central Park and perhaps breaking the 3-hour mark in the New York City marathon.

Instead she'll stay closer to home and cross the finish line at Veterans Park in Manchester, competing in today's Manchester Marathon/Half Marathon & Relay. Sandahl had already made up her mind about forgoing the NYC marathon before the event was canceled on Friday.

"I decided for a few different reasons that I wasn't going to New York. It just didn't feel right," said the 32-year-old Sandahl, acknowledging the hundreds of thousands of New York City residents without power. "We're very lucky to be here at home with electricity."

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, faced with mounting pressure to cancel the event in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, may as well have directed the marathon traffic to New Hampshire. The field of about 2,500 participants in the 6th annual Manchester City Marathon includes many late registrants who are happy to run in the Queen City. On Friday, after MCM race director Sarah Normand extended the deadline to register, more than 100 runners quickly jumped at the opportunity to sign up.

MCM veteran Patrick Moulton, a Pelham High graduate and former Big East standout at Providence College, is expected to race today and attempt to defend his title. Last year, Moulton won the fifth annual event in 2 hours, 29 minutes, 31 seconds. Fast marathoner Bryan Morseman of New York is among Moulton's competition.

Defending women's champion Myriam Grenon of Longueuil, Quebec, came in at 2:59:56 last year. Female elite runners in today's field include Julia Huffman of Manchester and former champion Christin Doneski of Hopkinton, who was the top female runner from New Hampshire at the 2012 Boston Marathon. Doneski finished Boston at 3:12:06.

Andrew Nicholas, 36, of Manchester will be running the half marathon in his first-ever competitive road race. Like many runners, he has been following the story in New York.

"I'm a little conflicted about it. I think at a time of hardship, people need to be able to look forward to something positive. I kind of disagree with people protesting but maybe the (New York City) Marathon is not the best use of New York resources at the moment," Nicholas said.

The race begins at 8:50 a.m. from Athlete's Village on Elm St. WMUR-TV will broadcast live at the starting line.

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Kevin Gray may be reached at kgray@unionleader.com.

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