Vicki Hopkins of Concord hugs Pete Schiller of Freedom Sunday after both completed the Manchester Half Marathon race Sunday. Mark Bolton/Union Leader
A feel-good day for athletes, and downtown
The Anthem Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay were once again a big draw and despite some chilly temperatures for the start, people lined the barriers down Elm Street as the racers took off just before 9 a.m. Sunday. There were more than 1,700 runners and probably just as many people cheering them on.
That energy was evident in the runners' village set up at Veterans Memorial Park, where volunteers handed out food and water and runners could even get a massage. Athletes met up with their families and celebrated their times, lots of which were personal records.
And it also injected some business into the veins of downtown businesses.
At the Shaskeen on Elm Street, a group of people were huddled at the end of the bar talking about the race. One runner was finishing up a coffee to warm herself after running in the cool weather.
Down the street at JW Hill's Sports Bar & Grille, the doors opened at 11:30 a.m. There was already a good crowd just after noon, especially considering the Patriots weren't playing until after 4 p.m.
"It's always had an impact on (our business)," said manager JB Smith. "We usually have people waiting when we open the doors at 11:30."