Wilhelm "Willi" Frederich, 85, will be running his 50th Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day

An 85-year-old retired master craftsman and cancer survivor will achieve what organizers are calling a "remarkable" achievement when he lines up to start the 2019 Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving morning. It will be Wilhelm "Willi" Frederich's 50th appearance in the famed race.

Frederich, a retired contractor and master craftsman from Ellington, ran in his first MRR in 1968. He has finished the 4.748-mile run every year since then with the exception of 1999 and 2000. He missed those races due to illness in the family, race officials said.

Frederick's own illness did not stop him last Thanksgiving,. Frederich, who was then battling bone cancer that is now in remission, braved the 14-degree weather with a zero wind chill and covered the road race course in a wheel chair equipped with a hand crank.

He plans to walk and jog the course next Thursday, accompanied by 10 family members and friends. Frederich will be easy to spot on the race course. He will be wearing one of the special red, white and blue numbers bibs that the road race committee issues to its longtime entrants. Frederich and his running mates will also don special yellow jerseys emblazoned with "Team Willi" on the front.

This is a fantastic accomplishment," said Dr. Tris Carta of the Manchester Road Race Committee. "We are very proud of Willi Frederich, and all of our perennial performers."

posted Saturday November 23rd
by Chris Dehnel