WORCESTER – On Saturday, more than 600 runners lined up on Temple Street in Worcester on a bright, sunny afternoon to take place in the 11th annual Canal Diggers 5k race.
The event was organized by the Worcester division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish-Catholic organization which promotes Irish heritage as well as engaging in various charity projects.
Sponsors for the event included Fallon Health, CSX, the Worcester Railers, and Harpoon IPA, which served beer to tired racers and those there to support the runners. Coordination was also done with Worcester Pride, who had a parade on Main Street later in the day, to ensure that the two events did not conflict.
For Brendan Moran, co-chairman of the race, the event is not just a chance to commemorate the city’s Irish heritage, but also to showcase the numerous developments taking place in the downtown Worcester area.
“This event celebrates, the past, but also the rejuvenation of the downtown area,” said Moran. “There’s really something here for everybody.”
From Temple St. to Green St. and Water St., from Major Taylor Boulevard to Main St. and Franklin St., the runners on the course made it through the 5K and the cool weather to the finish line where they were welcome with a festival of pizza, beer, soda, and traditional Irish music.
Founded in 1898, the Worcester division of the Hibernians moved to it’s current location on Temple Street 11 years ago, and has organized the Canal Diggers 5k ever since. It works in promoting several charities, including the St Francis Xavier center located across the street.
The winner of the race was Brendan Robertson, 23, of Westborough, a first-time runner in the 5k, who completed the race in a little under 16 minutes.
“It feels good,” Robertson said regarding his victory. “I’m glad I got to do it. Today was great weather for a race.”