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Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race

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St. Patrick’s Day weekend calls for the annual pilgrimage back to the Western Massachusetts city of Holyoke which was originally known as Ireland Parish. With a deeply rooted Irish history, Holyoke is home to one of the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parades and a 10K road race that is not for the faint of heart. A hilly course keeps runners honest the day before the parade and allows runners to enjoy some pre-fried dough caloric burn!

The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race brings close to 7,000 runners to the starting line and takes runners throughout the streets of the city once known for the vibrant paper mills that gave Holyoke the nickname The Paper City. The race starts with The Mummers playing in downtown Holyoke and once runners cross the finish line a plethora of local watering holes greet runners and spectators alike for a cold beer to help re-hydrate.

This year, there was no snow to contend with on the race course and the weather on race day was cold and windy but certainly not completely unbearable. Some rather strong winds definitely were present while running and added a little complexity into an already complex race course. But a little wind and cold temperatures were not going to keep the runners from the starting line and it certainly did not keep the fans away from the race course! This year, the race seemed to be even more crowded at various points along the race course and water stops were plentiful, Irish music filled the air, bagpipes were being played, Jell-o shots were being shared and an all-around good time was being had. The experience of the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race is one that simply should be experienced by each and every runner across the New England region and beyond!

This year was not my best and not my worst running of the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day 10K and I finished the race with a time of 56:23, good for 9:04/miles. I ran the race pretty well and tackled the hilly and windy course with a consistent pace and felt good crossing the finish line and then tackled a solid four miles the next morning, as well.

There is something special about the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and you should certainly check it out next year if you have never run this race! Be sure to “Like” the race on Facebook, as well.

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