Boilermaker 2011, aka The Utica Brrrlermaker
BY BOB KOPAC
With temperatures on race day July 10 predicted to reach the upper 80s, it seemed it would be a typical Boilermaker 15K boiler of a day. However, that morning the runners lined up in atypical 55-degree weather, reportedly the chilliest Boilermaker ever, causing the announcers to call it the Brrrlermaker. Even the humidity was low, making for ideal running conditions. This raised pre-race chatter about possible course records.
One record did fall this day. Amanda McGrory of Savoy, IL shattered the womens wheelchair course record by over four minutes, finishing in 39:11. Wheelchair athlete Krige Schabort of Cedartown, GA won the mens division in a time of 33:16, a 3:35 per mile pace. The 5K run was won by Sam Anderson of Brantingham, NY in a time of 16.38, while Cassandra Goodman of Phelps, NY won the female 5K race in 18:16.
Kathrine Switzer provided 15K course coverage of the female runners, while Roger Robinson was one of the announcers reporting on the male runners. Roger, a New Zealander and this years winner of the Les Diven Award for outstanding media coverage of the Boilermaker, mentioned during the Runners Forum at the Race Expo that he was the first non-Utica resident to receive the award, drolly saying, Probably because of my upstate New York accent.
The 15K started out at a fast pace, with the lead men covering the first mile in 4:48. The men then slowed down somewhat as they encountered the Boilermaker hills. The mens pack dwindled from 14 to eight and finally to two runners: Peter Kamais of Kenya and Ridouane Harroufi of Morocco.
For the womens race, the first mile was a very fast 5:11, and the race quickly became a race between two women: Alice Timbilili of Kenya and Belainesh Zemedkun Geb of Ethiopia. Because men and women started together, Timbilili was able to pace herself with the men. Her competitor surged at the end but fell five seconds short as Timbilili won with a time of 48:40. This was Timbililis second Boilermaker win, having won in 2009, just as Kamais had done.
The 4,000 5K runners and 13,000 15K runners enjoyed their race, based on the smiles seen at the finish line. 5K runners Mark Clement and Stephen Kaminski and 15K runner Payton Lareaux were fortunate that it was not a typical Boilermaker scorcher, as each ran in a head-to-toe body suit; their outfits must have made it very difficult to drink at the water stops.
See http://tinyurl.com/2011BoilermakerByBobKopac for more Boilermaker photos.