Records seem to break every few years in downtown Andover at the Feaster Five Road Race, now its 29th year.

Well, the 2016 event’s claim to the record book coincides with a recent viral video trend called the “Mannequin Challenge,” where people remain frozen in action like mannequins while a video is recorded.

Under the direction of race director Dave McGillivray, the more than 9,000 runners and walkers as well as the volunteers, medical personnel, police, firefighters and spectators participated, too.

“If it’s not a world record ... at least we know it’s a record for Andover on Thanksgiving,” said McGillivray.

It was a nice start to a whirlwind Thanksgiving morning in which the weather cooperated — a few days ago, there was a threat of snow before and during the race — and the races went off without a hitch.

Big winners

Allison McCabe, 34, of Cambridge, returned to the winner’s circle in the women’s 5K event after missing the last four years due to severe leg injuries that almost ended her running career. She ran an impressive 18:32.

Neal Darmody, 26, of Groton, won his first Feaster Five in the 5K event at 15:37. A year ago, he finished second in the 5-mile race.

Ruben Sanca, 29, of Lowell, won his fourth straight 5-mile race in 24:44 in the chilly conditions, just 10 seconds off his pace from a year ago.

Danielle Poto, 23, a North Andover native now living in Taunton, where she teaches Spanish in middle school, won her first Feaster Five, taking the women’s 5-mile event in 30:19.

Dick and Rick Hoyt were back, along with marathoning legend Bill Rodgers, as Feaster Five staples. While Dick has retired as the lead “pusher” for his son, the duo continue to hook up for this race which, he said, “is very special for us.”

More than 600 children took part in the Kids K, which starts about 45 minutes before the main event. The races range in age from 4 to 12.

Remember Jonas Figueroa

In his first Feaster Five, 4-year-old Jonas Figueroa of Andover made his mark in the Kids K race for boys and girls ages 4 and 5. Jonas blazed to an easy win in the 150-yard race. Smiling, of course, he appeared to have another five miles in him when he was through.

“He loves to run and always is smiling,” said his mom, Yvette Figueroa. “He wanted to wear his ‘Flash’ T-shirt underneath this morning. Because Flash is fast.”

The Figueroa clan included dad, Juan, and 12-year-old brother Charlie Nunez.

Another runner to watch is 10-year-old Jack Lallarelli, of Andover, who attends the South School. He finished second in his age-group a year ago, but ran away from the field early yesterday morning.

“I love doing this kind of stuff,” said Jack.

Feaster family rookies

Kate and Bryan Conley, who have lived in Andover for three years, ran their first Feaster Five.

They had a good excuse for missing the last few race days. They have four small kids — Luke (7), Keira (5), Noah (3) and Emilia (6 months) — and Kate was pregnant last year.

The three older kids ran in the Kids K.

“What a great time,” said Bryan, who is a native of Milton while his wife hails from Nebraska. “We will definitely do it again.”

Rare Benoit injury

Joan Benoit last week she suffered a bad lower leg injury and had to stop a training run back home in Freeport, Maine. She had to be carried then picked up by a car.

“That has happened only twice in my career,” said the 1984 Olympic marathon champion, a long-time Feaster Five entrant. “I was planning to run with my daughter (Abby) at the Cal International (Marathon) next week.”

Benoit’s daughter, 26, works at Nike in Portland, Oregon. Benoit called it, “the wrong Portland,” referring to her Maine roots.

Welcome back, Allison

Allison McCabe, 34, had been a winner or challenger in the 5K for several years before taking a four-year hiatus. The hiatus wasn’t planned.

McCabe, of Cambridge, had bad leg injuries which doctors, she claimed, misdiagnosed as tendinitis. She later learned he had suffered a labrum injury in her hip and later a severe hamstring injury. Both injuries needed surgery.

“I was told that I might never be able to run in a race again,” she said.

She was thankful to return to her favorite race, her first since the injuries.

“But I’m not used to being so cold and tired,” she joked afterwards.

Faces in the crowd

Feaster Five regular Gerry Callahan, of Andover, coaxed Kirk Minihane, his co-host on WEEI’s top rated Kirk and Callahan Show, to run. Minihane is an avid runner and hails from Winchester.

Kudos to both for running the 5-mile distance. Callahan was in at 44:58 while Minihane came in at an impressive 35:06, finishing 152nd overall.

Four-time Boston Marathon champ Bill Rodgers finished the 5-mile race in 41:00.

Among the other noted runners were:

Rick and Dick Hoyt (38:59); John Young, a dwarf who runs triathlons and marathons (39:59); Dan Roche of WBZ-TV (28:56), Steve Cooper of WHDH-TV (25:21) and WBZ meteorologist Barry Burbank (30:58).

Team Crimson

It was a great showing by the Crimson Aquatics Swim Club, which is based out of the Greater Lawrence Regional pool in West Andover. The club sent 40 of its swimmers, all wearing “CA” T-shirts, denoting the club.

“This is a tradition for us to do it together,” said Dan Shanahan, who helped organize the group for CA, which is run by Mike Spring.


This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you