One For The Record Books

The 32nd running of the Boilermaker is now over. Our office is now busy putting things away, answering e-mails and getting the bills paid. I’m really looking forward to getting back into a normal sleep routine. I have, unfortunately, inherited from my Mom ‘the worry machine’ where I wake up thinking about possible problems.
Did the race go on without any hitches? No; however when you look at an enterprise that involves tens of thousands of people over a multi-day period it ‘ran’ very well.
Today I’d like to look at the race from the perspective if I was an outside observer. I attended every function during Boilermaker Week; here are some of the highlights in no order of importance.
• The Flag Raising Ceremony. A new event for this year that took place on Monday of Boilermaker Week. The 36 flag poles mounted on the Utica Auditorium came alive with the national flags of the countries who have participated in past Boilermakers. I have often said ‘my best ideas are someone else’s’; this was one of them.
• The Road Runner Mile. This event is only two years old but has generated some real excitement. On the college girl’s side the winner’s time was 38 seconds faster than the previous year and on the high school boy’s side Chris Stogsdill ran a blazing 4:15.
• Expansion of the Expo. One of our central focuses this year was to create an Expo that would interest anyone in the community even if they were not a runner. What you missed if you didn’t come to the Expo; Child ID/ fingerprinting by the State Police, a culinary tent featuring cooking demonstrations every hour on the hour, ‘virtual’ bike races, a pancake breakfast for 1,700, and non-stop music courtesy of the Utica Music Fest.
• The Annual Portrait Unveiling. Traditionally we incorporate some element of the Boilermaker course with a portrait of that year’s Hall of Fame inductee. But no inductee did not mean no portrait. This year our artist incorporated images from the 2008 runs in Afghanistan and Iraq with the finish line of the Boilermaker. The unveiling was a very moving ceremony with the vets of this run autographing copies of the painting.
• The finish. The men’s and women’s finish was very dramatic. On the women’s side they were both so close to each other bearing towards the right side of the finish line that neither headed where the finisher’s banner was on the left! The men’s finish transformed from a 9.3 mile race to a 100 yard dash as Ridouane Harroufi in 2nd place turned on the afterburners and vaulted to first place.
• The flyover. The ‘last pass’ by the 174th Fighter Wing also known as The Boys from Syracuse. The unit is being transformed to a predator drone group. Standing on the stage with the military while the band sang ‘I’m Proud to be an American’ and the F-16’s thundered over the stage made me cry.
My next blog will look at the race from the view of an insider; clearly a different view.
Do you have ideas that could enhance the Boilermaker experience? Contact me at: treed@boilermaker.com.

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