"Nah, we wouldn't do that," P.J. said.
John Treacy remembered the pasta dinner the night before he set the record (21:26) in 1979.
"The first year, I failed to break course record by a second," said Treacy, who ran 22:23 over the 4.748-mile course in his debut. "Charlie Duggan was my main competition the second year. He laid down a challenge to myself on that Wednesday evening. Ray [his brother] was running as well. I said to Ray, 'I'm going to take him out so f hard, and you can pick up the pieces.'
"I went out the first mile in 4:16, and Charlie was gone. I won the race by 65 seconds. And Ray picked off Charlie Duggan."
Or how about 1983, when Dave Prindiville, one of the race organizers, remembered Randy Thomas trying to mix it up with the Irish lads?
Thomas got up at the pasta dinner, Prindiville recalled, and told the assembled runners he knew there were a lot of good Irish runners there and that he planned to wear his Irish Claddagh ring the next day.
Coghlan spoke after that. At the end of his speech, Prindville recalled, he leaned close to the microphone and said quietly, "It's going to take more than a ring, Randy. It's going to take more than a ring."
"The Irish runners took one through five the next day," Prindiville said. "Thomas was sixth. I saw that one coming."
Coghlan, now an Irish senator, was in New York for a fundraiser and came to Manchester to visit P.J. a few weeks ago. John Treacy spoke with P.J. last week.
"We reminisced about all the great days in the past," John said. "It was lovely to do that with him. I have great memories.
"The night before the race, the banter, the pasta dinner, the great tradition and P.J. and all the crew would be there. It was just one of these races that grew on us because of the people. When I think about the Manchester Road Race, the first person I think about is P.J."