JULIE HOUGHMASTER OF SACKETS HARBOR, NY LEADS
A PACK OF RUNNERS.
BOB KOPAC PHOTO

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 women’s wheelchair course record by over four minutes, finishing in 39:11. Wheelchair athlete Krige Schabort of Cedartown, GA won the men’s 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 year’s 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 men’s pack dwindled from 14 to eight and finally to two runners: Peter Kamais of Kenya and Ridouane Harroufi of Morocco.

 

BOILERMAKER 15K WINNER BY ONE SECOND, RIDOUANE
HARROUFI IN 43:30.
BOB KOPAC PHOTO
Mile after mile the two runners raced strategically through the streets, neither runner breaking far away from the other. In the last mile Harroufi stayed right behind Kamais. With 50 yards to go, Harroufi used his strong finishing kick to sprint past Kamais and win by one second in a time of 43:30. This marked his second Boilermaker 15K win, having first won in 2009 by a similar margin of time.

For the women’s 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 Timbilili’s 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.

 

WOMEN’S WINNER ALICE TIMBILILI (48:40).
BOB KOPAC PHOTO
Dane Rauschenberg, an ultramarathoner, author of See Dane Run, an advocate for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and one of the speakers on the Runners’ Forum at the Race Expo the day before the race, finished the 15K in 59:39. This showed he could do well in a short race – short for him, that is, considering he once ran 52 marathons in 52 weekends and recently ran a 200-mile race. Afterwards he wrote in his blog at http://www.danerunsalot.blogspot.com why he enjoyed the Boilermaker 15K, “There is a pride in the race which is rarely seen outside of small towns anymore. It is nestled deep in the notion that something large is owned by all.” And this pride of community causes thousands of runners to return each year. As race director Jim Stasaitis said, “Give them a good experience and they’ll come back.”

See http://tinyurl.com/2011BoilermakerByBobKopac for more Boilermaker photos.