MANCHESTER — A half marathon relay and a kids fitness festival are being added this year to the three-day Anthem Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay, which is expected to bring 1,500 runners to the city at the end of the month.
Events will kick off on Friday, Oct. 31, with a reception to welcome racing legend Dave McGillivray, this year’s race VIP.
McGillivray is the race director of the Boston Marathon. His tenure as director includes coordinating the 100th Boston Marathon which attracted nearly 40,000 runners in 1996, the largest in the Boston Athletic Association’s marathon history.
McGillivray also is race director of the BAA’s Half Marathon, 5K and 10K races and also directed the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials — Women’s Marathon in Boston.
He has run the Boston Marathon every year since 1973, in tribute to his late grandfather and has been the last person to cross the finish line every year since 1988, when he became race director.
When the marathon finish area was bombed in 2013, he fulfilled his promise to keep running, finishing his 41st marathon 11 days later.
Manchester’s event, with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire as lead sponsor, continues on Saturday, Nov. 1, with the Anthem Kids’ Fitness Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Radisson Expo Center in downtown Manchester.
“This race signifies for Anthem a community-wide event that promotes active and healthy lifestyles for both children and adults,” said Lisa M. Guertin, Anthem president, at a news conference Wednesday at the company’s Elm Street headquarters.
The marathon race will begin on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 8:50 a.m. at Veteran’s Park on Elm Street, renamed Athlete’s Village for the day. The marathon and half marathon will run along the same course, which winds throughout the city.
Runners will have the option of live race tracking and be given the opportunity to have the timing company automatically send text messages and update the runner’s Facebook page with live updates throughout the race.
Runners are known to dress warmly at the start of the race and discard clothing with each grueling mile they complete.
Jayne Cornell, race director, Manchester Marathon Association, said that as in the past, the clothing will be collected after the race, laundered and then donated to Families In Transition.
One such discarded piece of clothing from a prior year was a sweatshirt that Cornell held from the 2012 race, when an extra 4,000 runners showed up after Hurricane Sandy forced the cancellation of the New York City Marathon.
“Where’s the Statue of Liberty?” was scrawled across it, along with other quips including, “You are awful polite for New Yorkers.”
The race has raised more than $100,000 for various agencies including the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, New Horizons, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Child and Family Services and Webster House.
To register, go to manchestercitymarathon.com.