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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Ready, get set for some more fun runs

April 28. 2013 9:22PM

John Mortimer and his team at Millennium Running are running out of holidays. The road race company already organizes a Santa Shuffle, Shamrock Shuffle, Thanksgiving Day 5K, Trick or Trot, The HASLAW Manchester Mile and 5K, which takes place around the Fourth of July and the Millennium Mile, which takes place around New Year's Day. There's even a Halfway to Saint Patrick's Day race.

This Sunday will be Millennium Running's first ever Cinco de Miles 5K, which as you probably guessed, will honor Cinco de Mayo. I can't recall when people around here started recognizing the holiday that celebrates Mexican culture. I think Mexican culture is "muy buena," but for most celebrants, I think Cinco de Mayo is just another excuse to drink adult beverages in the middle of the day. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The Cinco de Miles race, which is being billed as "Nacho average race," begins and ends at Shorty's Mexican Roadhouse on the Manchester/Hooksett border. In full disclosure, I waitress at Shorty's a couple days a week, and am already bracing myself for the 1,500 racers who will each receive (as long as they are over 21) one free beer and one free margarita after crossing the finish line.

You read that right. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., 1,500 racers, many of them likely wearing sombreros and shaking maracas, will be making their way through a course that heads north on Bicentennial Drive and winds its way around a few neighborhoods in Hooksett. Then they will all come back to Shorty's and demand drinks at the same time, even before the clock strikes noon.

The Millennium Running group has to keep coming up with new races like Cinco de Miles because they keep attracting more runners. Keith Tharp, director of marketing, said Sunday's race sold out in just five days.

Our local running community, which I predict will only grow and become stronger after the Boston Marathon bombing, knows that Millennium Running puts on racing events for experienced and novice runners alike.

There is even a group of people who get together every Thursday night to run and socialize as part of the Millennium Running Social Club. The club started in February 2012 and today has more than 160 members who pay a $30 annual membership. The members meet at a different pub every Thursday at 6 p.m. From there, they leave for a run and then come back for a free beer. Besides the weekly camaraderie, another perk of being a member is discounts to some of Millennium Running's signature events.

Since Millennium Running has already made up a race for most of the major holidays, I am now waiting for some of the more obscure ones to make their debut. I suggested they organize an Arbor Day 5K, but Tharp hinted they may already have their sights set on a Sadie Hawkins Sprint.
More Mayo madness

Of course, there are many other restaurants and organizations in Manchester planning Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Families in Transition, a terrific non-profit that helps all kinds of our neighbors in need, is holding its signature Cinco de Mayo fundraising event this Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. at 1000 Elm St. The evening includes food, entertainment and auction items, all for a $40 ticket. There is also a VIP Experience ticket available for $75. Visit for more information.

Cactus Jack's is a sponsor of the Families in Transition event and the restaurant is also supporting another non-profit during its own five-day Cinco celebration. It is collecting non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army Kids Cafe, and for every two items you donate, you earn a spin on CJ's Dining and Certificate Prize Wheel.

It's fish season

I love seeing the big fish sign for Amoskeag Fishways Learning and Visitors Center near the corner of Salmon and Elm streets. These days it is announcing the official opening of fish season. Today through June 15, visitors can see migrating shad, herring and sea lamprey in the center's underwater viewing windows that look out into the 54-step fish ladder. The ladder allows migrating fish to swim around the Amoskeag Dam and continue on their way up the river to reproduce.

I visited the Fishways for its Fish Festival last Thursday. We were packed inside like sardines with other families looking for something to do during Manchester school vacation week. The fish weren't feeling the love yet, because we only saw one. But, there are other creatures to see and things to do at the visitors center.

The center will be open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during fish season. I plan on heading back for a day when there are a few more fish and a few fewer humans. If you have little ones, be sure to bring a stroller. There's a bit of a walk from the parking area to the visitors center.

Visit for more information on the organization, the fish ladder and special events and programs. Event of the Week

I want to thank Judith Jolton for alerting me to the Child Health Services "Morning Matters" breakfast at the Radisson this Wednesday at 7:30 a.m.

Jolton, who has been putting her heart and soul into this fundraiser for Child Health Services for six years, is hoping for a big crowd to hear Dr. Janina Galler, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, discuss the impact of childhood poverty and malnutrition on health, brain and behavioral development.

Child Health Services knows all too well the challenges low-income children from our area face. For more than 30 years, it has provided comprehensive medical, nutrition, social, behavioral, and mental health services to children from low-income families.

Thursday's breakfast is free, but registration is required by calling, 668-6629, Ext. 144.

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