Boilermaker Blog

Looking Back


The 35th running of the Boilermaker is over. I’ve had the privilege of being Executive Director for 5 of them. Certainly some major high points- record numbers of runners, some fantastic finishes, and outstanding weather. Then there are those not so great moments- timing problems, the loss of a presenting sponsor, and some not so outstanding weather.
While I do not consider myself a philosopher (heck, I need spell-check just to spell the word) I do have some ‘north stars’ (I know, I know- there’s only one) that I have tried to follow.
‘We can do better’-
While I love the complementary emails we see at the conclusion of the race, I probably spend more time looking at the ones that are critical of some aspect of the race. While we’ll never create the perfect weekend in July that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
This one is related to the next belief which is….
‘Let’s change’-
While I think (hope) the Directors of the race like working with me I think (know) that I drive them crazy with changes. I know the move of the Expo from the Masonic Care Community to Mohawk Valley Community College after a fifteen year run was initially greeted with a bit of anxiousness. In general we like routine and predictability in our lives- I get that. I also feel we need the new stuff to push both ourselves and the event beyond our comfortable borders.
‘It’s all about the fun’-
How do you get volunteers to show up at the crack of dawn? Why do soldiers run the burning desert of Iraq or the dust-swept mountains of Afghanistan to mimic our 15k race? There must be some sort of internal joy or self satisfaction to drive these people! When we talk about new initiatives the ‘fun factor’ will always play a role.
‘The Boilermaker is a change-agent’-
Over the past thirty five years over a quarter million people have run the Boilermaker. For some it was an easy sub-hour race, for others it was a grinding, tortuous, two mile excursion to Hell. For some this race has literally saved their lives as they have decided to run down the path towards a healthier lifestyle. If a fraction of the runners continue an exercise regimen after that second Sunday in July we have accomplished our purpose.
If we expend our focus beyond that of the runner I know that we have a pretty strong impact on boosting the local economy. I smile a little when I see the long traffic lines Boilermaker weekend- people have come here!
Finally, if the race in some manner makes we who live in this community feel a little better about where we live and what we can accomplish that is a very, very good thing. We sometimes are a bit to critical about this place we call home. If we are living on rocky ground we can either build something with these stones or throw them at each other- it’s our choice.
Opps, there I go starting to sound like a philosopher!

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