MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) – Ian Dobson overcame a 20-yard deficit to win the 70th running of the Manchester Road Race on Thursday, becoming the first American to win the race since 1993.

Dobson, 24, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., had a winning time of 21:39 in the race, which was just under five miles and drew thousands of participants despite Thursday’s cold rain and buffeting winds.

Dobson’s winning time barely edged Canadian Simon Bairu (21:40). Bairu, who was born in Saudi Arabia, led for most of the race. Alistair Cragg of Ireland, who finished second last year, was third (21:42) on Thursday.

Before Thursday, the last American to win the race was John Gregorek in 1993. Since Charlie Duggan won in 1980, Dobson and Gregorek – a four-time champion – are the only Americans to win in Manchester.

Dobson, a nine-time All-American runner at Stanford, was in a pack of runners that trailed by 20 yards after the first two miles. But Dobson and Cragg broke away from the pack and began gaining ground on Bairu.

Dobson passed Bairu for good with about 400 yards remaining in the race.

The women’s champion was Shalane Flanagan of Marblehead, Mass., with a winning time of 24:30. Flanagan, 25, was running competitively for the first time since August 2005 after being sidelined with a foot injury.

Mary Cullen of Ireland was the second women’s finisher for the second straight year (24:33). Amy Rudolph, a five-time Manchester Road Race champion and former Providence College runner, was third (24:43).

AP-ES-11-23-06 1355EST


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