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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the feaster five road races—family, tradition, convenience…..and pie

The Feaster Five Road Races—Family, Tradition, Convenience…..and Pie
What a terrific tradition and family happening on Thanksgiving, our distinctly American Holiday. It’s as American as Apple Pie—and everybody gets one! It’s your race, your family’s race--8K, 5K, Kids K.

The Feaster Five Road Races—Family, Tradition, Convenience…..and Pie

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Friday, 17 November, 2006

The Feaster Five races provide a terrific opportunity for runners of all abilities—and walkers too—to participate in a holiday tradition for the whole family. They are for the entire clan, including those visiting from the far reaches of the country. They will run in Andover, Massachusetts on Thanksgiving morning, November 23.

You never have to worry about what day this terrific traditional happening falls on, because it is always on Thanksgiving. And you don’t have to worry about beating a certain time to get your delicious, full size apple pie. All 7,000 or more participants will get one to take home for desert after Thanksgiving dinner.

There are five options to get everyone involved: The Kids’ K will start things off at 8:00 a.m. and those 12 and under will run distances between ¼ and 1/2 mile. Then the big kids will blast off for the simultaneous start of the 8K and the 5K, with runners’ and walkers’ divisions (no real walker “division”) in both. There is a prize for the largest number of family members (see the race Website for details).

What a way to start off Thanksgiving; run with like-minded folks out to get some exercise and participate in one of New England’s most enjoyable traditions. It matters not whether you are a world class runner, or a first-time walker; everyone is treated equally, and everyone will have their time recorded and posted here on the internet for all to see. And all times will be exact, despite the large numbers of participants. Granite State Race Services will use Championchip computer timing.

This celebration is managed by DMSE, Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises. Dave, Race Director for the Boston Marathon, and his team bring their incredible logistical talents to bear on these runs in Andover. They make it a smooth transition from parking, through racing, to departure. Imagine giving out 6,000 shirts and 6,000 pies! And every runner or walker is treated as the most important person in the entire event. DMSE has been managing these events since 1994. They are expert at moving people through so it never seems crowded.

The Feaster Five is hosted by the Merrimack Valley Striders running club, and volunteers will be everywhere. Thank them when you get the opportunity—they will be working hard for you. MVS will be offering for sale their attractive, engraved souvenir Thanksgiving glasses. This helps to support the many club activities and competitions.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company head a strong list of supportive sponsors who make this tremendously enjoyable event possible.

Run and Done
Everyone can run and return home early for Thanksgiving dinner. There will not be any drawn out awards ceremonies. The top three woman and men will receive their awards on the spot, but other age groups—top three in each—will have their awards mailed. Age divisions will be applicable in both races, with 12-and-under, 13-19, and traditional ten year age groups through 80+.

Last year Andover residents won both the women’s and the men’s 8K, with Terri Ann McGettrick taking her fifth title in 30:38. Matt Pimental zipped in at 25:55. Past winners have included Olympians Joan Samuelson and Lynn Jennings, and notable talents such as Lisa Senatore, Kara Hass, and Miae Jacobs. Terrific athletes having won the men’s race include Dave Dunham, Casey Moulton, Chris Teague, David Hinga, and Scott Bagley. There will be fast times, and there will be slow times for both races, but all will be enjoyable times with a festive, holiday spirit.

Not only will you get a pie when you finish, but you will also get a commemorative, multi colored long sleeve T-shirt before you start—if you are among the first 6,000 to register for the 5K or 8K, that is.

Feeling Great
There are two challenges that will make you feel terrific when you finish this event—the run or walk is of course an ideal way to begin a day that is all about food, and food in plenty. Additionally, the charity for this year’s event is the Merrimack Valley Hospice, which helps those in need and specializes in end-of-life care. This organization is vital to the community. As you and your family enjoy your race, your reunion and your holiday celebration, remember those families struggling through the final chapter in a life. Please see pledge details on the race Website.

Registration—Online, by Mail, or In Person
Online registration is available (through 9:00 p.m. on November 19), and is the most convenient way for you to participate in this terrific tradition. Mail-in applications are available on the Website if you prefer. And you may also register in person.

Race packet pickup and registration will be available at the Guesthouse Inn and Suites (it is also the designated race hotel with special low rates for participants). Hours for both packet pickup and registration will be: Monday, November 20 from noon to 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, November 21 from noon to 7:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, November 22, from noon to 6:00 p.m. Should you miss that opportunity, packets will be available on race day from 7:00 to 8:15 a.m. at Woodworth Motors, which is located near the starting line.

Family team designations must be made by November 18. Contact to register/identify your family members. Remember, all families officially entered will be recognized with the largest family receiving an attractive prize, and time on the course is not relevant.

The Guesthouse Inn and Suites is just off Interstate 93, Exit 47—right at the bottom of the ramp on Pelham Street.

The Courses
The 5K and the 8K will start simultaneously at 8:30 a.m., with the start line on North Main Street (Route 28) just south of the intersection of Route 133. Both will head south through the center of Andover, with the 5K splitting off to the left for a more direct loop back to the finish. The 8K continues further south on Route 28, then also takes a left for a counter-clockwise loop back. The two courses rejoin about .7 miles from the finish, which is a wide right turn into the wide parking lot of Brickstone Square. There are maps of both on the race Website. They are most unusual, in that they start together and end together.

Bands along the courses will add to the festive atmosphere. Both are certified distances, with mile markers clearly visible.

The Kids’ K will be run on the track adjacent to Balmoral Street, just meters from the starting line of the big races.

The best way to get to the races on Thanksgiving morning is to take Interstate 495 to Exit 41A, Route 28 South. As you head south on Route 28 you will be directed to parking—most parking will be within about half mile of the start and finish, so allow plenty of time.

Special Tradition on a Special Holiday
Get yourself out for this one and enjoy the holiday morning. Better still get the entire clan out for a jaunt through the pleasant streets and byways of Andover. This event is convenient—easy to get to, completed early, and an ideal way to start the holiday. Get those miles in before the big meal, and feel much better for it. For additional information visit the event Website, or e-mail The Feaster Five Road Races bring you tradition, family enjoyment, and holiday spirit in the Baystate.

Thanksgiving began in Massachusetts with the Pilgrims and the Native Americans celebrating their abundance at Plymouth Colony. The tradition continues in Andover, Massachusetts with a colony of runners. Be a part of it!



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