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Turkey Trots Stuffed With Talent

  • By David Monti
  • Published Nov. 21, 2012
The Manchester Road Race is one of the most popular Thanksgiving Day races in the U.S. Photo: courant.com

Competitive fields will line up on both coasts and everywhere in between.

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

There are about 400 turkey trots, or Thanksgiving Day races, in the United States tomorrow, but the events in Manchester, Conn., and San Jose, Calif., boast the most competitive fields thanks to the work of their respective elite athlete coordinators Dave Prindiville and Mark Winitz.

In Manchester for the 76th Manchester Road Race, held on a hilly 4.748-mile course, nine Olympians will toe the starting line on Main Street. Amongst them will be two steeplechasers, Donn Cabral and Anthony Famiglietti. Cabral, 22, grew up in nearby Glastonbury, and will be making his professional debut at the event. Famiglietti, 34, is coming off of two recent sub-14:00 5K performances at road races in North Carolina, including a state record 13:40 at the Big South 5K in Charlotte on Oct. 20.

Other contenders in the men’s race include Irish Olympic miler Ciaran O’Lionard, 2009 Manchester champion Haron Lagat of Kenya, 2012 USA Olympic Trials fifth place finisher at 10,000m Aaron Braun, reigning USA cross country champion Bobby Mack, and collegiate indoor mile record holder Miles Batty.

On the women’s side, British Olympic steeplechaser Barbara Parker and American Olympic 10,000m runner Lisa Uhl will both be making their Manchester debuts. Parker, 30, recently relocated from Atlanta to Boston with husband and coach Sean Burris, and the couple will have just a short drive to Manchester. Uhl, 25, will be competing in her first event since moving back to Iowa to be reunited with her Iowa State coach Corey Ihmels.

Other Olympians entered include Australia’s Benita Willis, Burundi’s Diane Nukuri-Johnson, Puerto Rico’s Beverly Ramos, and Ireland’s Stephanie Reilly.

Both of the 2011 Manchester champions, Brian Olinger and Sally Kipyego, will not take part. The course records are 21:19 by Phillimon Hanneck of Zimbabwe (1995) and 23:59 by the late Emilie Mondor of Canada (2003).

In San Jose at the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot/Elite 5K, Winitz has loaded his field with recent NCAA stars, led by Kenyans Stephen Sambu (University of Arizona) and Leonard Korir (Iona). Sambu, 24, finished his collegiate career last Saturday at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships where he finished second. Korir, 25, was the NCAA indoor 5000m and outdoor 10,000m champion in 2011. Sambu ran the race last year, finishing second but refusing prize money to retain his NCAA status, while Korir will be making his Silicon Valley debut.

Other contenders with NCAA pedigrees on the men’s side include former Chico State star Scott Bauhs, Northern Arizona standout Diego Estrada, and former Oklahoma Christian miler Silas Kisorio.

In the women’s field, American Olympic 5000m runner Kim Conley (formerly of the University of California at Davis) will take on 2011 NCAA indoor 5000m champion Jackie Areson (Tennessee) and 2009 NCAA 5000m champion Angela Bizzarri (Illinois). Olympic steeplechaser Bridget Franek (Ohio State), 2006 ECAC 10,000m champion Clara Peterson (Duke), and 2009 Pac 10 500m champion Katie Mackey (Washington) should also be in the mix for the win.

The course records are 13:33 by Australian David McNeill (2011) and 15:41 by Kenyan Sally Kipyego (2009).

More Americans run in road races on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year, with participation totaling in the hundreds of thousands. The Manchester and San Jose events are amongst the largest with 13,467 finishers for the Connecticut race in 2011 and 16,185 for San Jose.

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