Photo Gallery | 2016 June Third Thursday
PITTSFIELD — What started as a way to promote Pittsfield as an environmentally friendly community, the Green Mile Road Race has become an anchor for the healthier Third Thursday in June.
The 7th annual 5,280-foot contest drew 157 runners Thursday evening who hoofed it down North Street from Park Square to Maplewood Avenue and back — the entire length of the city's route for the monthly block party from May through September.
Sponsored by the Berkshire Running Center, the race kicks off a series of events to encourage exercise of all kinds and wellness during the second Third Thursday each year.
"The race is the impetus behind having a healthy Third Thursday — who can't do a mile, even if you walk to the finish," said Kent Lemme, Berkshire Running Center co-owner with wife Shiobbean Lemme.
Despite the number of runners was down from 222 last year, Mrs. Lemme says the Green Mile gets people pumped for the 5-kilometer Pittsfield Independence Day Run.
"This race is such a great dress rehearsal for the Fourth of July," she said.
For Third Thursday attendees who prefer exercise that doesn't involve pounding the pavement, Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness instructors taught free classes for kids and adults throughout the festival.
Regina Burgio lead one of the earlier classes of eight women and one man, stretching muscle they probably hadn't used for some time. In one movement, Burgio had the students twisting their hips with arms extended.
"Try not to whack your neighbor," she said.
Hans US Tae Kwon Do of Pittsfield drew the most onlookers as they watched children and adults students go through various martial arts moves. Six year old John Fox, enrolled at crosby Elementary School in Pittsfield, has been practicing Tae Kwon Do for the past several montsh.
What has he learned?
"Perseverance, self-control, humility ... confidence," he said with some coaching from his mother.
Dominique Fox loves the impact Tae Kown Do has had on her son.
"The discipline he learns he brings home with him," she said.
Health and well being may have been the focus of Thursday's downtown block party, but food and beverage indulgence was prevalent on North Street.
Organizers of last Saturday's inaugural spring Berkshire Craft Beer festival at The Common on First Street sponsored a beer garden to extend it's charitable efforts.
"It shows people we're still around — the beerfest is all about fundraising," said co-organizer Jim Bronson.
Bronson noted the majority of the money raised Thursday night and the $15,000 collected on Saturday will primarily help out local food pantries.
If the sweet tooth was aching for fudge, soft and hard candies, Catherine's Chocolates of Great Barrington was on hand selling tasty treats, as they have for every Third Thursday the past four years, according to owner Matthew Sinico.
Sinico finds some people who remember when Catherine's had a downtown Pittsfield shop 25 years ago and have rediscovered the candy maker thanks to Third Thursday.
"People say, ' I can't wait another month, I've got to go to the store,'" he said.
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233