MANCHESTER—Mary Cullen didn't know much about the Manchester Road Race last year. She had never seen the course. She didn't know about the Highland Street hill.
"That was definitely harder than I had anticipated," she said Thursday at the prerace press conference at Cavey's Restaurant.
Thanksgiving Day race.
But Cullen will. So will five-time champion Amy Rudolph and two-time champion Mark Carroll, who are married. Yale graduate and Olympian Kate O'Neill and Marie Davenport of Guilford, an Irish Olympian, will also run.
Carroll will have to contend with another Irish Olympian, Alistair Cragg, who finished second last year at Manchester. Ian Dobson of Oregon, Reid Coolsaet of Canada and Simon Bairu, the NCAA cross country champion at Wisconsin in 2004 and 2005, are other top men's runners. Top U.S. miler Alan Webb and last year's winner Nick Willis of New Zealand have decided not to run.
The race, which is 4.748 miles, will feature tributes to two runners who died this year.
Emilie Mondor of Canada was killed in a car accident in September. She was 25 and had run in Manchester the last three years, setting the women's course record (23:59) in 2003. Charley "Doc" Robbins, who won the race in 1945 and 1946 and was credited with its rebirth, ran at Manchester 50 consecutive years (56 times overall) and many times barefoot. Robbins, 85, died in August. Both runners' names will be featured on the starting line banner, and Runner's World executive editor Amby Burfoot is organizing a barefoot warmup in honor of Robbins.
Bill Rodgers, the honorary race chairman, will also run.
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