action:article | category:SPORTS | adString:SPORTS | zoneID:40

Home » Sports

November 30. 2012 9:44PM

Jim Fennell: A race that suits everyone


Thousands of Santa Claus suit clad runners will participate in Saturday's Santa Claus Shuffle race on Elm Street in Manchester. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER -- KEITH SILVA of Derry said he's never run a road race wearing anything other than traditional running gear. That's about to change today.

Unless the snow in the forecast becomes too much of a safety risk, Silva will be joined by about 3,000 others dressed in Santa suits and other festive costumes gathered on Elm Street to take part in the second annual Santa Claus Shuffle. The three-mile race will be followed by the Spirit of New Hampshire Parade.

"A few of our friends were doing it and they talked us into it," Silva said Friday night after he and his wife Paula registered and picked up their Santa suits at the Shaskeen Irish Pub.

This year's field will just about double the 1,560 runners that came out for last year's inaugural event. Such is the attraction of putting on a red suit and ho-ho-hoing your way along Elm Street.

"I watched it last year and it was a lot of fun," said Lauren White of Manchester.

White said she is part of a group of about 20 friends running as Santa's Divas and Dudes. Tutus are apparently involved. You can also expect a fair amount of elves to be in the field and don't be surprised if an Easter bunny or two show up.

"It's about health and wellness, but we want it to be fun," race director John Mortimer of Millennium Running said.

Manchester, it seems, likes fun. Or, maybe, it's the fact the business people in and around downtown appreciate having a few thousand visitors. Either way, the partnership between the city and Millennium Running seems to be a good one; today's race is the sixth Millennium has held in Manchester this year.

"What makes Manchester special is that it's New Hampshire's largest city and it's become a destination," Mortimer said. "The participants enjoy their time here and there's a positive economic impact."

That's one of the reasons Jim Pliakos, owner of the Shaskeen, said he's been happy to have his place serve as race headquarters.

"It's a boost for downtown for one day at least," Pliakos said. "And it's more family oriented."

Mortimer said he expected the race to grow after the positive reception to last year's race, but he said he was "pleasantly surprised," when pre-registration reached 3,118 runners, with more signing up Friday night.

In addition to the 2,500 Santa suits being handed out at Friday night's registration, there were Elf shirts for the 500 or so kids expected to take part in the Elf Race that kicks off the Santa Claus Shuffle. The Elf Race starts at 2:45 p.m., the main race goes off at 3:15 and the Spirit of New Hampshire Parade is expected to start around 4.

Runners start around Veteran's Park, head north along Elm Street, before taking a loop around West Clarke Street and making their way back on Elm Street to the finish line.

Mortimer said he'd welcome some snow to add to the atmosphere.

"We've had pretty good luck weather-wise with our events," Mortimer said. "I think it's the good karma. We try to make our races fun."

Three-thousand Santas and their elves make sure of that.

E-mail staff writer Jim Fennell at jfennell@unionleader.com


  • Should public schools in NH provide students with firearms safety instruction?
  • Yes
  • 65%
  • No
  • 35%
  • Total Votes: 1958
 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

New OT rule in AHL generating buzz

Slam thunk! Sarah Silverman nearly hit by basketball at Knicks game... but luckily John McEnroe is there to shield her

Spurs' Matt Bonner will wear new Adidas Crazy 8 shoes for Christmas game

Jason Saltmarsh: Runners should never have to pay for their race photos

Ex-official pleads guilty to embezzling thousands from Pembroke football nonprofit

Former New Hampshire goalie DeSmith tells his side of arrest, dismissal from team

NH hockey team moving to Maine could be worth at least $1 million in economic activity say city officials

New owners of Claremont plan to put speedway back on track

Speedway in Claremont bought for nearly $519,000

Lebanon marathoner qualifies for US Olympic Trials

Matt Bonner talks about the end of the run, making the simple play, and playing until he's 40

Ex-UNH goalie agrees to diversion,receive counseling, avoids jail

Wildcats will face Chattanooga in prime time

New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies teaches supporters how to believe

Helmetless Football? Its the new practice at UNH

CASEY DeSMITH

DeSmith officially dismissed from New Hampshire team, but can return to class as of Dec. 20

San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15), of Concord, N.H., shoots the ball against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the second half at TD Garden.

Rapper Lil B gives shoutout to…Matt Bonner?

Manchester Central's Tyler Stratton watches his shot get by Spaulding High School (Rochester) goalie Derek Scott during a shootout at the 2012 Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic hosted at JFK Coliseum in Manchester.

VFW downsizing threatens Spaulding hockey due to loss of venue for Bingo fundraisers

Eagles notes: Kelly committed to current job

5 face riot charges in beating incident at football game

Ayotte rips top sports league commissioners for snubbing hearing on domestic violence

Manchester Monarchs sign Josh Gratton to AHL contract

Can football without helmets lead to fewer concussions?

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!