HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Thousands of people made their way to Holyoke Saturday for the annual St. Patrick's Day Road Race.

The Road Race and Parade are undoubtedly tradition for many and attracts people from near and far.

Holyoke was a sea of green Saturday as runners and spectators made their way to the Paper City.

Among them included Ross Wilcox, who is running the 10K for the second year in a row.

"I'm not a great runner, but," Wilcox tells us. "I'm out here really just to have a great time."

For others, they were hitting the pavement for the first time.

"It's my first time running it so," stated Easthampton resident Zach Carpenter. "I'm just hoping I don't die of a heart attack."

He tells Western Mass News that the route isn't necessarily tricky, but it does come with a lot of hills, something that runners, like the Carpenters, say they can look past.

"You kind of know this, because," continued Carpenter. "It's a lot of hills, but it's always kind of fun. It's a lot of fun, [and] everybody's cheering for you. You can't beat it."

"We're here to run," says local resident Jay Witback. "We've got Eric here. He's ready and running. It's all up here. You don't need to be these guys with the six packs. We have one, big keg and we're going to haul it over the hill."

Many head to the race to have a good time, but others use it as an opportunity to raise awareness for issues, such as one group, who go by, "Not Your Average Superheroes".

"Many people have disabilities, but," said Captain America. "We're trying to show that everybody has a different ability, and we're trying to empower individuals of all different abilities."

Whatever their reason, many say they're just excited to take part in all of the exciting energy that takes over Holyoke for the day.

"After you get done running," stated Wilcox. "You stop into one of the local pubs, [and] drink a beer so I'm very excited."

The St. Patrick's Day Committee of Holyoke tells us that a total of 6,500 runners took part in Saturday's event.

With the Road Race complete, preparations are underway for the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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