Before sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, families are lacing up for one of New England’s most festive road races

ANDOVER, Massachusetts — Race organizers of the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race are encouraging runners and walkers to register online at www.feasterfive.com before the 5 p.m. deadline Nov. 18. 

“Registrations are up this year, and since we cap the field at 10,000, we want to make sure we can accommodate everyone and have another smooth race,” said Dave McGillivray, race director and president of DMSE Sports. “We’re suggesting participants register soon and online, especially if coming from other parts of the state and throughout New England.”

If the field is still open race week, late registration will be permitted during bib pickup from noon to 7 p.m. Nov. 21 and 22, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Nov. 23 at the Merrimack Valley YMCA at 165 Haverhill Street in Andover..For additional information on race registration and bib pick up, go to www.feasterfive.com

The Expo will feature a variety of health and fitness products and vendors plus a meet and greet with New England running icons Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Team Hoyt from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at the Merrimack Valley YMCA at 165 Haverhill Street in Andover.

On Thanksgiving Day, 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. All three races – which encourage 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 and Merrimack Valley YMCA. Parking is available at Brickstone Square.

“Before families sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, they can lace up for one of New England’s largest and most festive road races,” said Tom Licciardello of the race’s host running club, the Merrimack Valley Striders. “The family division is one of the fun features of the race.” 

Awards are given to families with the most entrants and prizes 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. Gift certificates courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts will also be given to the top 10 families with 10 members or more. 

Family members register as individuals online at www.FeasterFive.com before Nov. 18 and then send an e-mail to dmse@dmsesports.com with their members’ names, ages, race/walk entered (5 mile, 5K, Kids Fun Run) as well as the name and contact info - email, phone and address - of a designated team captain.

This is the 24th year for the Feaster Five, one of New England’s largest road races where each finisher is given a free old-fashioned apple pie from Table Talk, a long-time New England favorite. 

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 Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company is the title sponsor of the event and Smith & Nephew is the presenting sponsor. The gold sponsor is Pfizer and silver sponsors include Holy Family Hospital, Mix 104.1, Table Talk Pies, Bagel Boy and Tallman Eye, Kiwanis and Boston Partners Financial Group. Bronze sponsors include Seacoast Coca-Cola, Cape Cod Potato Chips, Burton’s Grill, Costa Fruit & Produce, Fuddruckers, Whirlaway Sports Center, Popchips, Coldwell Banker, Brickstone Square, New England Eye and Facial Specialists, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nexamp, Enterprise Bank, Cascadian Farm, Nature Crop, Larabar, Woodworth Motors, Enterprise Bank, Smolak Farms, PrideStar EMS and Dunkin’ Donuts.

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, 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 Bank Beach to Beacon in Maine, the Harvard Pilgrim 10K at Patriot Place, Run for the Dream in Williamsburg, Va., the Women's Half Marathon Series throughout the U.S., and was recently named race director of the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod. For more info, visit www.dmsesports.com.