In what's becoming something of a tradition here at 'in the valley' headquarters, we made a run to Holyoke to get our third look at the annual 10k Holyoke St. Patty's Road Race. It's always a big turnout for the race, in the thousands; and I'm always fascinated to see so many people together at one time, especially united in the same task. Our first viewing three years ago tallied in at over 3000 participants, the next year was over 4000, and true to form, this year's would be over 5000 runners.
We forewent our usual South St./Route 5 viewing intersection and tried to get a little closer to the starting line, but that turned out to be a destination for the earlier birds, because it was major traffic lock up by the time we got there. With only a few minutes before the start of the race, we ended up backtracking a little and staking out a viewing spot in a raised parking lot just outside of downtown. We were set up just as the long wail of the starting horn could be heard in the distance, and just a couple minutes later the lead elements came trotting by, thickening by the minute.
Being nearer to the start, the main mass of runners were still relatively bunched together and soon caming pouring in, thick as gravy. Mostly green gravy.
Within minutes it was the sea of humanity we had come to observe.
One thing we noticed this year were several war veteran tributes, sprinkled in among the mass.
They recieved an extra volley of applause from the side line crowds. Some appeared to be veterans themselves or otherwise in the service, marching in uniform with their rucksacks; while others appeared to speak for their family members or friends.
...some kept their war messages in keeping with the day's events...
With race three in the bag, we continued on north for a Saturday afternoon of biking on the rail trails (a blog post on that coming up) with Sunday seeing our return to Holyoke, for a look at their big parade (ditto on that)...