WHEELCHAIR WINNER DANIEL ROMANCHUK,
BOB KOPAC PHOTO
On the Sidelines of the 2017 Utica Boilermaker
BY BOB KOPAC
UTICA, NY--July 9, 2017--the 40th Utica Boilermaker! Since
my wife Lynne, previously had run four 15K Boilermakers including
the 30th, I was interested in what changes were in store for
The 2017 Boilermaker featured an increase in prize money to
over $100,000. The wheelchair prize money more than doubled to
$37,600. In an effort to attract more American elite runners,
the Boilermaker increased the prize money for the first American
male and the first American female from $3,250 to $7,250 each.
Mile 2, formerly the International Mile, has been renamed
the Unity Mile. According to the Boilermaker race brochure, the
Unity Mile has ... a broader and more powerful mission:
To showcase, via the city's largest event, the cultural diversity,
accepting attitudes, general awesomeness and of course, unity,
that makes Utica such a special and unique place.
One noticeable change was increased security. I was unable
to obtain press credentials as a freelance writer, unlike previous
years when I had written articles and even gotten a cover article
published in Marathon & Beyond magazine. Instead of taking
photos at the finish line, I had to find another location. I
considered the Unity Mile, but I did not want to drive. Instead
I walked from our hotel towards the finish line area hoping to
find a good position.
A scant 15 minutes before the 8am 15K start, I saw a few stragglers
boarding a school bus to go to the starting line, even though
the time for the bus service was 5:30am to 7am. Some runners
There were many road closings and access restrictions. I passed
a dump truck blocking a side road to the finish area. A volunteer
stood before the truck. I asked her, Are you the first
line of defense, then the truck?
Due to the security restrictions, I had to walk a circuitous
route, eventually ending up on Court Street at Lenox Street on
the downhill right before the finish line. I was within spitting
distance of the finish line; knowing runners and their proclivities,
that may not have been a good thing.