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‘The Run’ in West Hartford Offers Alternative to Manchester’s Craziness on Thanksgiving Day

West Hartford resident Nicole Moleti (right) has organized 'The Run' for Thanksgiving morning for the past six years. At left is State Sen. Beth Bye and Dan Moleti (center). Courtesy photo
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The West Hartford run, organized by resident Nicole Moleti, is a great way to kick off Thanksgiving morning and support Red Cross hurricane relief for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

By Ronni Newton

For many people – thousands and thousands of people – Thanksgiving morning has become synonymous with running the Manchester Road Race, a 4.748-mile adventure that may involve rain, snow, temperatures of all types, crazy costumes, and most assuredly crowds and traffic.

Even if you are speedy enough to be seeded in one of the corrals in the front of the race, you’ll still have arrive early to compete for a parking space with the 15,000 or so other runners who line up for the 10 a.m. start. Notwithstanding the running part, it’s a major Thanksgiving morning commitment that may interfere with getting the turkey in the oven in time for dinner.

One West Hartford resident decided several years ago that an alternative was needed for those who want to start off the day with some good exercise among friends, but in a more low-key way.

“I thought, I’m not going to Manchester. I don’t have time for that,” Nicole Moleti said.

This will be the sixth year that Moleti has organized a Thanksgiving morning 5K, with a route that winds through her quiet Albany Avenue neighborhood, and she said it’s grown every year.

The race, which is open to runners, walkers, and bikers, is not just for exercise.

“I pick a different charity every year,” Moleti said. This year the beneficiary will be the Red Cross fund for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

There’s no entry fee, but a suggested donation of $10 is encouraged.

The race begins at 9:30 a.m., and registration is at 9:15 a.m.

“We begin at my driveway,” said Moleti, who lives at 11 Mansfield Ave., a small street off Tecumseh Road just north of Albany Avenue. The 3.1-mile route, which has remained the same each year, avoids main roads and takes runners through the beautiful Hartford Golf Club neighborhood in a loop that ends back on Mansfield.

There aren’t any timing chips, but runners wear numbers that they often bring themselves from other races they have run. Moleti has also collected a bunch of donated numbers, including a stack from Fleet Feet Sports, and those who borrow numbers return them at the end, she said.

“It’s very casual, but we do have little turkey trophies [for the winners],” Moleti said. While many of the participants may not run on a regular basis, there are some very fast and experienced runners as well, and she said the same guy has won every year.

There are also t-shirts for the first 40 registrants.

There’s no official name for the “alternative to Manchester turkey trot race in West Hartford on Thanksgiving morning.”

“We just call it ‘The Run,'” Moleti said. “I haven’t thought of an appropriate name as it has just grown each year – much to my delight! But my hashtag is #runlocal as I am trying to get people to consider it an option instead of the Manchester madness,” she said.

Any questions can be emailed to [email protected].

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Start of ‘The Run’ on Mansfield Avenue. Courtesy photo

Nicole Moleti (white shirt) with members of the Fire Department at ‘The Run.’ Courtesy photo

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