For the 38th year, the city held its annual St. Patrick's Road Race on Saturday afternoon.
According to our media partner Mass Live and The Republican, while an estimated 7,000 runners took on the 10K course, fewer than 6,000 finished the race.
There were tens of thousands on hand to cheer on the runners and take in the atmosphere.
"Every year it gets better and bigger," said Mayor Alex Morse. "It is just a testament to what is happening in the city of Holyoke, the parade committee and everyone who has organized such a great weekend."
Morse was one of the thousands of on-lookers at Saturday's race. The event has become an annual tradition, attracting families from across New England.
"I have been coming here since I was born," said Anna Walker.
Walker and her family make the trip every year from Maine to the Paper City for St. Patrick's Day weekend. It is a tradition that began with Walker's mom, who grew up in Holyoke. She said it is something she is happy to pass on to her own child.
"Now that I am a mom, it has been such a great thing to bring him down and instill the love of this area," Walker stated.
Walker is no stranger to the road race itself. The 10K course is one that she has tackled before.
"There is nothing like running the road race, because of the people that live in the area," said Walker. "The people that live on the race course make you feel welcome and cheer for you."
"When I first started doing it back in high school, it was 600-700 runners," said John Pronovost, a Granby, MA, resident. "That was it."
Pronovost now sticks to cheering on the thousands who rush by at the start of the race. He said the event is really just a kickoff to a weekend long celebration.
"It is just a great time to celebrate Holyoke and Irish tradition," Pronovost stated. "The road race is just an added bonus."
As for the race itself, everyone who crossed the finish line had their time recorded.
This year's first place man and woman happen to be boyfriend and girlfriend.
Alistair Cragg crossed the finish line in just under 30 minutes.
The South African native now lives in Providence, RI.
His girlfriend, Amy Hastings, finished the race in just over 33 minutes.
Saturday was the first time the Olympians ran in Holyoke and they were impressed.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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