Last weekend it was back to my hometown of Holyoke, Massachusetts to celebrate the high holiday of St. Patrick’s Day in a city once known as Ireland Parish. Needless to say, the Irish heritage of Holyoke runs deep in a city that prides itself on a St. Patrick’s day weekend complete with a 10k road race and a parade that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city to partake.
The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day 10k is one of the finest 10k races you will find that takes runners along a course that features some challenging up and down hill stretches and through streets lined with revelers cheering runners along the way. Groups will break out with Irish tunes playing, a bagpiper plays just shy of mile 4 and supporters hand out water and Gatorade along the way. (Just past the Mile 5 marker is an unofficial quick beer stop where a shot of beer can help refuel for the final mile, as well.)
As I am training for a marathon, I had to add on a couple miles so ran three miles down to the starting line of the race. I arrived in plenty of time to see the pre-race performance by the Mummers who had a great crowd cheering them on as they played their Irish tunes to fire up the crowd.
Though some significant snow hit the area the week before the race, the course was in relatively good condition. There were some spots where running became a bit narrow and some spots seemed thinner than normal with crowds due to snowbanks but overall the course was in decent condition.
I finished the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race with a time of 55:10, good for 8:52/miles. Adding on some miles before the race, I was happy with the pace and look forward to returning for next year’s run.