Boilermaker Blog

Looking From The Inside In – Part II

Here is my continuation from my last blog looking at the 2009 race from an insider’s perspective.
• The Volunteers. They are everywhere and do nearly everything! For every volunteer you might see as a runner there are thousands behind the scenes making Boilermaker Week happen. The race packet stuffers, the sandwich makers, the orange slicers, the start/ finish line set-er-uppers (my word)and the race course pick-er-uppers (and still another one of my words) to name a few. People that give up nights with their family or take vacation time to support our participants; these are the backbone of our organization.
• Crowd support. One of the biggest disappointments with not getting to run the race on Boilermaker Sunday is to not experience the energy of the spectators. To get that adrenalin rush knowing that people are clapping for you! The amount of spectators encompassing the entire 9.3 mile course is very unusual; which makes this race very special.
• A smile and a thank you. One of the great things about being on the committee and at the start line is I see the runners faces; as a participant I saw the back of my fellow runners heads! Call me a ‘smile vampire’ but there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing that look on people’s faces as they hit the start line and the unabashed joy as they cross the finish line. For the past three weeks I have received the nicest e-mails about the race. I love the ones from people outside the area. Some examples:
‘I came from Alexandria VA to run the race and it was the best organized most fun race I’ve ever done.’
‘I’ve been wearing my finishers pin all week in Florida.’
‘I cried when I got my pin at the end…thank you City of Utica-GREAT GREAT GREAT!’
• Speaking of the city… No race of this magnitude could survive without a good working relationship with the City it exists in. Over the years we have had Mayors from the Democratic, Republican and yes Rainbow Party (not Rainbow; the musician who wanders the streets of Utica but rather Ed Hanna). The support from the Mayors Office, Department of Public Works, Police/ Fire, and Parks Department has been outstanding! Likewise the support at both a County, State and Federal level have helped keep this race first-rate.
• My family. I want to thank my wife and kids for their patience with my work schedule. As you can imagine as the race approaches the demands on my time grow dramatically. For the games I didn’t attend and the dinners I missed, you get me back for the second half of the summer!

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