EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 29, 2013

Top racers know their place in Feaster Five

While the Feaster Five has boomed into one of the biggest sporting spectacles in New England, particularly because of its emphasis on families and the “average” runner, don’t for a second be fooled by how important the competition is for many of the top racers each Thanksgiving morning in Andover.

Case in point: Matt Jenkins and his wife, Melissa Donais, both of North Andover.

Jenkins has been one of the most dominant racers in Feaster Five history, particularly at the 5-mile distance, while Donais, who ran at Yale University, is one of the best female road racers the Merrimack Valley has ever produced.

While the top runners were within 200 yards of the finish line - Ruben Sanca of Lowell defeated Jenkins by only 5 seconds yesterday - someone asked what the 5-mile course record was.

Immediately, Donais, who didn’t run because of an injury, said, “David Hinga, 24:06.” It drew a few laughs from fans near the finish line.

By the way, the local racing couple immediately left after Jenkins finished to visit his family in Saratoga, N.Y., for Thanksgiving.

Where are your sneakers?

While most runners and walkers wore running shoes from major manufacturers like NIKE and New Balance, Joe Cronin appeared to be running with a glove over his bare feet.

Technically, he was. Cronin ran the 5-mile course with the “Vibram FiveFingers,” which looks like a glove for feet.

The footwear is designed to promote better foot mechanics, naturally. As such, they’re meant to be worn directly against the sole of your foot, allowing your foot to move as if barefoot.

“I like the minimalist approach,” said Cronin, of North Andover, “It’s really the best way to run. Your foot is a muscle. It conforms to the ground. It’s been great for my knees.”


Joannie had a ball ... again

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