An estimated crowd of 80,000 to 90,000 to watch a 5-kilometer race before a parade makes that race appealing to all types of runners.
"The runners enjoy running in front of a huge crowd," Independence Run organizer Mike Hogue said Wednesday. "Most races runners run by themselves. [At the Independence Day race], spectators really cheer them on. All varieties of runners run and it's popular for people waiting for the parade."
Approximately 1,400 runners are expected to compete in Berkshire Medical Center's 29th annual 5-k run in Pittsfield on Friday.
The race starts at 9:30 a.m. north of Wahconah Park (near the intersection of Pecks Road and Wahconah Street) and will run along the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade route before finishing back at Wahconah Park.
Race day registration is not permitted, but Hogue expects to receive several more entries today.
Berkshire Running Center owner Kent Lemme is a veteran of the Independence Run. While it's unknown if last year's winners, Kevin Quadrozzi and Emily Mareb, will be competing on Friday, Lemme said the competition is something he really enjoys.
He added, however, that the large amount of runners and the muggy July heat can be challenging to run in.
"The weather is usually very hot, humid and sticky even at 9:30 in the morning," he said. "The start of the race gets a little congested and you have to get in your spot and work around [other runners]. But it's a nice, fast course with a lot of good competition."
The award ceremony directly follows the conclusion of the race. There are award categories broken down to nine different age groups, ranging from 10 and under to 70-79.
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