Boilermaker Blog

One Amazing Day


There are times when being President of the Boilermaker is one very cool gig. Like hearing the gun sound on Boilermaker Sunday and watching the thundering herd beginning their 9.3 mile journey. How about witnessing the sea of humanity from the stage at the Post Race Party?
Sometimes it’s pretty heady stuff.
Then there are some events that are much more subtle, yet as awe-inspiring; one of them happened on March 15th.
But let’s back up…
This year, for the first time, the Boilermaker held back 200 bibs to support a charity bib program. I’d love to say we invented the concept but programs like this have existed for years even spawning companies who support fundraising web pages and expedite pledge gathering. Some large races literally raise tens of millions of dollars for selected not for profits.
We decided to take baby steps with our program so we did as much as we could internally to maximize the amount of money that would go to the charities. While we didn’t want to bang runners over the head with a huge pledge target we wanted it to be a number that would be meaningful to the charities of choice; we settled on $500 a runner. While not a math major, this would generate a minimum of $100,000. In addition, we decided to ‘sweeten the pot’ by offering free Boilermaker registrations for future races as well as additional donations to the group they were running for to the top three pledge raisers. Hey, this race is all about healthy competition!
In order to apply as a charity of choice we asked a few questions such as:
-Do you have a physical presence in our region? (This area made the race; we really want the money to stay here!)
– What will do with the money to make a measureable difference? (This is an unplanned windfall; how will you make the area better?)
– Are you really, really sure you can handle this? (We’re giving you the bibs for free but you need to handle the administration.)
Twenty five charities expressed interest; in the end, ten were selected. They serve a very diverse population group (check them out at boilermaker.com).
This brings us back to March 15th; that was the date of the formal awarding of the bibs to the various charities.
While handing the bibs to the organizations in front of the media was a blast, I found the post press conference meeting much more satisfying. All of us had a chance to discuss how we saw this working; a couple of the organizations were old pros at this, some complete novices. As they spoke I saw this inaugural class melding into a team.
There are few times when you realize you are standing at the beginning of a historical moment, clearly the 800 some souls that ran the first Boilermaker in 1978 never suspected what the event would become.
I know my brother, the founder of this race, always has looked at the Boilermaker as a positive change agent for our community.
On March 15th I just knew that I was witnessing another of those significant historical moments for the Boilermaker- simply fantastic!

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