The St. Peter’s Fiesta 5k Road Race’s biggest draw is its atmosphere.

The 3.2 mile race course, which starts at Stage Fort Park and finished in front of the carnival at St. Peter’s Square, saw hundreds of fan lining the race course to cheer on the several hundred runners competing in the race.

The crowd and atmosphere definitely impressed the two winners.

“I usually run with head phones in but I took them out because the crowd was so good,” said Megan Lindstedt of Virginia Beach, the women’s winner. “I got chills as I approached the finish line.”

Mike Darnell, the men’s winner who won the race for the second year in a row, echoed her sentiment.

“This is such a fun race, I love the Fiesta,” said the Brooklyn, NY resident, who is in town to visit his girlfriend’s sister, a Gloucester resident.

“It’s a small city but there are a ton of people here. I love how the entire city comes out to this.”

Darnell found himself in a pack of elite runners with Gloucester’s Willy Piece, Beverly’s Dan Chruniak, a multiple time winner of the race, and Ipswich’s Dan O’Flynn.

At the two mile mark, Darnell says he grabbed the lead and maintained it to the finish line at 16:07, nine second ahead of Piece, 10 seconds ahead of Chruniak and 11 seconds ahead of O’Flynn.

“I just stayed with the pack and turned it on in the last mile,” Darnell said. “I felt good at the finish.”

Lindstedt, who is visiting Gloucester for the weekend, had a much easier time pulling away from the competition as she crossed the finish line at 18:52. Jennifer Boscho finished second at 20:40.

“I was with the pack until about a mile in,” she said. “Then I picked up the pace.”

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