Race scene thrives: Dozens of holiday races were held throughout New Hampshire in spite of the difficult conditions in many parts of the state.
A FEW DAYS AGO the New Hampshire road race scene joined the rest of the country and turned Thanksgiving Day into the nation's biggest day for races. Just like previous years, 2014 did not disappoint.
The weather that wreaked havoc on many had its impact on the Granite State road race schedule. The heavy, wet snow that blanketed the area on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, which caused several power failures, impacted the numbers that showed up for races. The result was no races with more than 2,000 finishers (in 2013 there were two) and most events seeing fewer participants that last year. The races held on that day are worthy of a closer look with results provided by coolrunning.com, millenniumrunning.com and allsportsevents.com
. Seacoast Rotary Turkey Trot 5K, Portsmouth: As has been the case for the past few years, it was the biggest New Hampshire race on Thanksgiving with 1,726 finishers. Weather caused a 30-minute delay of the start but that didn't stop Portsmouth's Mitch Dutton or Dover's Brittney Sorbello from winning.
Fisher Cats Thanksgiving 4K, Manchester: Because snow covered the field at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, the original finish line of this race, the course was shortened from a 5K to a 4K and finished outside the stadium. Alton's Cody Symonds was top male and Manchester's Megan Boucher was top female. There were 1,395 finishers, which meant that in its fourth year this race is batting 1.000 for hitting the 1,000 mark.
Greater Derry Track Club Turkey Trot, Derry: The oldest Thanksgiving Day race in New Hampshire held its 41st edition this year. With a number of power outages in the Derry area, a number of people passed on the race and for the first time in the past few years the race had less than 1,000 finishers, with 706 going the distance. Winners were Derry's Kevin McMahon and Hampstead's Amy Bernard.
Great Gobbler 5K, Nashua: One of the state's top five Thanksgiving Day races in 2014 with 591 finishers. The winners were two Nashua runners, Aaron Martin and Louise Van Den Heuve.
Dover Turkey Trot, Dover: In its first year, this race continued the trend of Dover Race Series events drawing big numbers. Close to 800 signed up with 512 finishers. It was the final race of the 2014 Dover Series and left series organizers very happy with what they created. Also happy were Dover's Casey Carroll, the men's winner, and Susan Thaxter of Pepperell, Mass., the women's winner. Carroll may have also created a New Hampshire road race factoid. In 2013 he won the Free Fall Classic on Thanksgiving Day. For Carroll that means two wins, at separate races, in two consecutive years, on Thanksgiving Day.
Free Fall Classic, Rochester: Alton's Drew Tuttle was the men's winner and Abby Jackson of Dover the women's winner. Another story regarding this race was its numbers. There were 232 finishers, about 300 less than 2013. That kept up a trend of races that were held on the same day, or within a few days, of a Dover Race Series event. While the Dover races saw big numbers the other races saw significant drops and the Free Fall Classic was no exception.
Lake Sunapee Turkey Trot, Sunapee: Considering the location, in rural Sunapee, this race has always been a marvel on Thanksgiving Day because of its fairly large turnout. This year there were 422 finishers, with Warner's Tristan Amaral winning on the men's side and Emily Sundquist of Salt Lake City, Utah, winning on the women's side. Thanksgiving Day races always draw runners from other parts of the country but no winner of a Turkey Day race was from farther away than Sundquist.
Rotary Turkey Trot 5K, Merrimack: One of the state's premier triathletes left his wetsuit and bike home and ran well as Merrimack's Lucas Pozetta won the men's race. The women's race was won by Hollis' Lily Jackson. At 12 years old, Jackson was the youngest Turkey Day winner in the state.
Wobble Gobble Four Mile Road Race, Keene: For the second year in a row, former Keene State runner Brett Mastrangelo was the men's winner while the women's winner was Rachel Klaski. The numbers: 296 finishers.
Bow Police Turkey Trot, Bow: How's this for a piece of trivia? The winners were Bow's Ben Garfield and Colleen Campbell. Garfield is 15 years old and was the youngest male winner of a Granite State race on Thanksgiving. Campbell is 43 and was the oldest female of a Granite State race on Thanksgiving. There were 262 finishers. Galloping Gobbler, Concord: In the past couple of years, no one has won more New Hampshire races than Concord's Nacho Hernando and he added another win on Thanksgiving Day at this event. The women's winner of the race was Hopkinton's Lauren Klinker. The race drew 179 finishers.
Windham Turkey Trot, Windham: As the expression goes there is an exception to every rule. Races are usually defined by the number of timed finishers and the Windham event does not time its participants. Why mention it? What was once a small gathering of less than 100 runners and walkers has turned into a major event that has raised thousands of dollars for charity. Just as it has for the past few years close to 1,000 turned out for this event and ran, walked, biked, and found any way possible to travel either a 5K or five miles. Please note: There were other New Hampshire races held on Thanksgiving Day but results were not available at press time.
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RUNNING SHORTS: The weather was a lot nicer on Nov. 23 when the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon took place in Nashua. Winners were Dave Moyer of Jamaica Plain, Mass., and Bedford's Jenna Mead ... Rewinding the clock to the Nov. 2 and the Anthem Manchester City Marathon, a shout out to Concord's Sarah Prescott. When Prescott finished the race it was the 15th consecutive year she completed every race in the New England Grand Prix Series. . Looking ahead there are two big races on Dec. 6: the Jingle Bell Half Marathon in Atkinson and the Santa Claus Shuffle in Manchester.
Andy Schachat's column appears every other week in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at schachat44@gmail.