Online registration for popular New England road race now open at www.FeasterFive.com

ANDOVER, Massachusetts – The Feaster Five Road Race is commemorating the 25th year for the popular Thanksgiving Day event in Andover by adding an online store featuring Feaster Five t-shirts, arm warmers, hats, hoodies and mugs, race organizers announced Thursday.

Registration for the Nov. 22 Feaster Five, one of New England’s largest road races with a field of 10,000, is now open at www.feasterfive.com.   

“We like to do something different each year, so to mark 25 years we are introducing an online store to allow entrants to celebrate a quarter of a century of this great race,” said Tom Licciardello of the race’s host running club, the Merrimack Valley Striders. “We’re also giving each runner a 25th anniversary commemorative technical shirt by Saucony - in addition to the traditional apple pie.”  Every finisher receives an old fashioned apple pie provided by Table Talk, a long-time New England favorite.

In addition to the online store, the Feaster Five website now features videos of the 5K and 5-mile courses as well as a training program for first-time runners provided by the Merrimack Valley Striders.

Hosted by the Merrimack Valley Striders and managed by DMSE Sports, the Feaster Five Road Race’s 5-mile and 5K races will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the Kid’s Fun Run at 7:45 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22).  All three races – which welcomes walkers as well – begin near Brickstone Square on Main St. in Andover at the corner of Rt. 133 and Rt. 28. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Ironstone Farm, Merrimack Valley YMCA and the Merrimack Valley Striders.

The race offers a “family friendly” early entry discount fee of $30 for both the 5K and 5-mile races through Oct. 28 for entrants over 12 and $20 for youths under 12. The Kids Fun Run entry fee is $5, regardless of when sign up occurs. 

Race Director Dave McGillivray of DMSE Sports – who also directs the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, the New Balance Falmouth Road Race and the TD Beach to Beacon in Maine – advises runners to sign up soon to ensure a spot among the field limit of 10,000.

“Milestone races tend to generate higher than normal interest and with the Feaster Five as popular as it is to begin with, getting signed up early makes a lot of sense,” he said. In 2011, a total 8,524 runners crossed the finish line in the two races.

Among the VIPs, Feaster Five will again welcome New England running legends Joan Samuelson and Bill Rodgers at the 2012 Feaster Five Road Race with meet and greet opportunities at the Expo on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at the Merrimack Valley Y.

Samuelson won gold in the first women’s Olympic marathon in 1984 and remains a worldwide icon for women athletes; Rodgers is an Olympian and four-time winner of both the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon.

The 2012 race will continue to feature a family division contest, where families of 10 or more receive prizes. Families who wish to participate can now register online at www.FeasterFive.com by choosing a team name and captain. The team captain can either register and pay for other family members or allow other team members to register online under the family team name. Organizers encourage families to register early.  Last year, the Irwin family once again won the family division with 46 members.

Prizes for families will include a Christmas tree and a spiral-sliced ham for the five largest family teams and a spiral-sliced ham for the next five teams. Dunkin’ Donuts gift certificates will also be given to the top 10 families who have 10 members or more.

The Merrimack Valley Striders, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1979 to encourage and enhance running at all levels – from beginners to seasoned marathoners to members who run to improve their health. Though founded in the Merrimack Valley north of Boston, the running club has members from as far away as Florida and Arizona. For additional information, visit www.mvsruns.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.

The Feaster Five Expo – featuring a variety of sponsors and vendors – will be held Nov.19-21 at the Merrimack Valley Y, 165 Haverhill St., Andover, in conjunction with on-site registration, bib number and t-shirt pick-up.

The Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company is the title sponsor of the event and the gold sponsor is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Silver sponsors include Table Talk Pies, Bagel Boy, Holy Family Hospital, and Tallman Eye. Bronze sponsors include Woodworth Motors, Brickstone Square, Costa Fruit & Produce, Whirlaway Sports Center, Fuddruckers, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Burton’s Grill, Pridestar EMS, Eastern Bank, Cape Cod Chips, Seacoast Coca-Cola and Enterprise Bank.

Volunteers also are 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.  

For additional information and to register, go to the race website at www.FeasterFive.com.

Founded by Dave McGillivray in 1981, DMSE Sports is a leader in sports event management, specializing in creating, marketing and producing mass participatory athletic events throughout the U.S. and abroad. In addition to the Feaster Five, DMSE manages more than 30 major road races per year, including the BAA Boston Marathon, the TD Beach to Beacon in Maine, the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod, the Finish at the 50 at Patriot Place, Run for the Dream in Williamsburg, Va., the Bellin Run in Green Bay, Wis., and the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, among others. For more info, visit www.dmsesports.com.