SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The popular Bright Nights 5K Road Race made its annual return Monday night, drawing in hundreds of runners from all over New England.
Runners were ready to kickoff the holiday season with some friendly competition. And the festive costumes did not disappoint with participants getting creative with their holiday running outfits.
22News spoke with Judy Matt, President of Sprit of Springfield, who said this year’s highly anticipated Road Race sold out within days.
“Within less than a week! And people just love it. It’s a ‘fun run,'” said Matt.
The Bright nights Road Race has seen thousands of runners cross the finish line since the race first stepped off in 2006.
“The Bright Nights 5K Road Race has earned the distinction of being Springfield’s favorite race,” said Matt continued. “Runners come from well beyond Springfield to participate.”
One of the 500 runners participating Monday night, told 22News they were carrying the torch for their friend.
“This young man had over 100 races under his belt… he’s a home and I wish him well… so I thought I ‘d come out and support him,” said John Tyler of Longmeadow.
And a mother-daughter running duo, lucky enough to score their spot in the race, had a moment to bond over.
“I just turned 50 last week and I told [her] as my present, I wanted her to do it with me,” said Nikki Grozio of Wilbraham.
Nikki’s daughter, Taryn Grozio, added, “I just love my mom so much and I am going to do this for her even though it’s really cold!”
All proceeds from the 5K Road Race event will help support the Spirit of Springfield.
Awards were presented to the top runners in each age bracket of the race. The Bright Nights lighting display was closed to cars Monday night due to the race, and will also be closed Tuesday night. It is expected to reopen on Wednesday night.