Not only did Aaron Braun want to win the Manchester Road Race, he came in Thursday with the goal of breaking the 17-year-old course record.
He accomplished his first goal and came very close on the second.
Braun won the 76th annual 4.748-mile Thanksgiving Day run in 21:19.37. The record, set by Phillimon Hanneck in 1995, was 21:19. Back then, the timing was not as sophisticated as it is now and did not measure the time in tenths of a second. So race officials determined Thursday that Braun had tied the course record at 21:19.
Local favorite Donn Cabral, who grew up in Glastonbury and ran cross country and track for Glastonbury High but now lives in Bellingham, Washington, finished third (21:33) behind Haron Lagat of Kenya (21:31). Cabral, who finished eighth in the Olympics in the steeplechase this summer, made up a good amount of distance in the last 1 3/4 miles for his third place finish.
Delilah DiCrescenzo of New York City won the women's race in 24:34. Lisa Uhl of Des Moines, Iowa was second (24:39) and Diane Nukuri-Johnson third (24:39).
It was a beautiful day for a race, sunny with temperatures in the 40s at the start. The race was sold out at 15,000 runners and walkers.
Amby Burfoot finished his 50th consecutive Manchester Road Race in 57 minutes. Bill Tribou, 91, of Granby most likely won his age group with a finish of approximately 1 hour, 6 minutes. Honorary race chair Deena Kastor, the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon and two-time Manchester winner, rode in the press truck and encouraged the crowd to cheer for the runners.
There were plenty of costumes: Christmas trees, Indians chasing a cactus (?), a bunch of Gumbys, turkeys, clowns, Sponge Bob and of course the Plaiders, whose musical running group has expanded to include second-generation Plaiders. "It's time to expand," said one of the original Plaiders, Dean Festa, as the group gathered in front of the Army-Navy Club.
There were distractions: at one point, a guy jumped out of the crowd just past the Hungry Tiger and ran dangerously close in front of the elite runners, waving his hands and clearly enjoying the attention. Some of the runners were annoyed; others amused.