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On the Sidelines of the 2017 Utica Boilermaker


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 40th.

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 never change.

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.



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