When you write a book of must-run races as I did most recently with Run This Place, and you don’t have a financier receiving hush money from events to influence you in to choosing theirs, there are a lot of factors to be considered in selecting the best of the best. Sometimes you think a race belongs but something about it just doesn’t grab you. Other times it is easy to make the decision and the reasons are abundant. The Boilermaker 15k falls into that category.
While this will only be my third time running this famed race, it only takes one effort of being in Utica on race day to know why so many people love taking part year after year. The challenging hills are made so much easier by the roaring crowds. The heat of July is cooled by the delicious drinks afterward. In between, the carnival atmosphere never overshadows that this is indeed a race where you want to give your all. If for no other reason than not to disappoint the throngs of people who have come out to cheer you on, you push your limits.
Runners currently are in the biggest stage of running this country has ever seen. Race after race is vying for your attention and your dollar. There are gimmicks. Enormous finisher medals. Mud. Soap.Electricty. In other words, if you want to find it, it is out there. But races like the Boilermaker just are. They exist because of the community of people who support it from soup to nuts and make every single runner feel special.
Why am I running the Boilermaker? Honestly, why aren’t you is the more important question.