---- — Families and runners who want to fit one of New England’s largest and most festive running events into their Thanksgiving Day schedule still can register online for the Feaster Five through Monday (Nov. 25) at www.feasterfive.com.
Onsite registration will continue through race morning Thanksgiving Day but with the pace of online registration well ahead of last year, race organizers said the best way to guarantee a long sleeve race T-shirt – available to the first 9,000 registered runners – is to register online.
“We’re encouraging everyone to register online vs. at the Expo or the event itself Thanksgiving morning,” said Tom Licciardello of the Merrimack Valley Striders, the event host. “It’s easier for the runners and walkers and it gives us a better idea of our field size.”
Race officials took just more than 10,000 registrations in 2012, resulting in a record setting 9,297 runners crossing the finish line. At the present pace, those numbers could be exceeded this year, according to race organizers, who are capping registration at 11,600.
Runners across the U.S. are flocking in greater numbers than ever to Thanksgiving Day road races. In fact, Thanksgiving Day has replaced the Fourth of July as the most popular holiday for road races, according to Running USA, a non-profit organization that tracks road racing trends.
Greater Boston’s 26th annual Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race, which is Northern New England’s second largest Thanksgiving Day race behind the Manchester Road Race in Connecticut.
The race has a friends and family contest offering Whirlaway Sports Center discounts to teams of 10 or more.
It features both a 5-mile and 5K race, beginning near Brickstone Square on Main St. in Andover at the corner of Route 133 and Route 28.
The races begin at 8:30 a.m. (Kid’s Fun Run at 7:45) Thanksgiving morning.
Race day registration is available from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. at Woodworth Motors. In-person registration also will take place during the Feaster Five Expo and bib pick up from noon to 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 25 and 26) and from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 27) at the Merrimack Valley YMCA at 165 Haverill St. in Andover. A
lso on Wednesday, specials guests will be on hand to greet entrants, including running legends Team Hoyt from 2 to 6 p.m. and Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson from 4 to 6 p.m.
More information about the race can be found at www.feasterfive.com.
The Feaster Five also features bands and music along the course, digital clocks posted at each mile, holiday refreshments after the race and, of course, a traditional Table Talk apple pie for all finishers.
The race also provides ample free parking and a printed race program, courtesy of the Eagle-Tribune.
Race organizers also announced that the official starters for the Feaster Five will be Celeste and Sydney Corcoran of Lowell, a mother and daughter who were victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Celeste lost both her legs in the blast while Sydney suffered grievous injuries.
Apply today on-line Sign up and gain entry into the 26th annual Feaster Five Road Race at www.feasterfive.com. A portion of the entry fee is donated to the charities and non-profits -- Ironstone Farm, Bellesini Academy, the Merrimack Valley YMCA and the Merrimack Valley Striders. Volunteers also are still needed. Detailed information about how to sign up to help on race day can be found on the volunteer page at www.feasterfive.com/Volunteer or by e-mailing Crissy Licciardello at crissyL26@yahoo.com.