HOLYOKE — Runners at the 42nd Annual St. Patrick’s Road Race ran in milder than normal temperatures with the sun shining on Saturday afternoon — and that was just the beginning.
After everyone caught their breath and hydrated enough with water, the party began in downtown Holyoke.
But before the celebration, some local runners performed well at the race.
Shane Quinn, of Providence, Rhode Island, won the race with a time of 30 minutes, 24 seconds.
But right behind were pair of UMass runners and a former Amherst College harrier.
Blake Croteau, 22, of Westfield, was second in 31:29, while fellow UMass teammate Samuel Conway, 20, of Wilbraham, was fifth in 32:37.
Dan Crowley, 23, of Ludlow, who ran at Amherst College, was third in 31:52.
Sam Morris, 24, of Deerfield, was sixth in 33:46. Ivan Cordero, 30, of Northampton, was 14th in 35:04.
Westfield’s Apryl Sabadosa placed 22nd overall (36:01) and first among women.
Serena Sarage, 19, a South Hadley graduate and current UMass runner, was fifth among women and 97th overall with a time of 40:48. Fellow South Hadley graduate, Melissa Hine, 27, was 10th among women in 41:48.
Among the nearly 5,000 runners in the field, there was a coach-player combination from South Hadley using the 10-kilometer course lined through Holyoke as a barometer for the upcoming outdoor track season. More specifically, the distance running.
Nick Davis ran with his top distance runner Joe Werenski. The goal for the duo was to have Werenski stay with Davis for as long as he could.
After the first mile Davis and Werenski’s pace was 5:41. During the next half-mile, Davis felt discomfort in his hamstring.
“I locked up,” Davis said. “I had to bow out and let him go race.”
Werenski had a goal of beating last year’s time. He didn’t just beat it, he destroyed it by two minutes (37:37) and placed 39th overall.
“I am happy I am at a level where I can run with him,” Werenski said. “It’s good to see growth. It sets a good tone for my season.”
Werenski attributed his improvement to running more consistently and simply logging more miles.
“I have been mixing in speed work,” Werenski said. “Running with my friends and teammates is always good too.”
Werenski will compete in the mile and 2-mile during the outdoor track and field season for the Tigers.
“It was encouraging,” Davis said. “The pace he kept was tough and he beat his time from last year.”
Werenski runs a few road races a year.
“I like the atmosphere here,” Werenski said. “There are not a lot of people at most races. There are a lot of people cheering at this one.”
Finishing among the top 20 women were Stacy Tabb, 39, of Easthampton (16th, 42:49), Meriza Werenski, 21, of South Hadley (17th, 42:54), and Taylor Blow, 19, of Westhampton (20th, 43:10).
“I have run the race the last four years,” Blow said. “It has become a tradition to get out there and just enjoy the day and the run.”
Werenski just finished a stellar swimming career at UMass.
Ron Jacobs, 51, of Amherst, placed first in the male 50-59 age group, finishing 26th overall in 36:25.
Jim Reis, 72, of Northampton, was 322nd overall and first among males 70-99 in 46:12.
When the runners finished, the party started. A sea of green dominated the streets of Holyoke, and the beers flowed for hours.
Bands played, Irish music blared from speakers near the finish line.
Green tutus and kilts look common sights, and even Superman made an appearance in the crowd.