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Archive for the ‘Guest’ Category

Corporate Cup Camaraderie

June 2nd, 2017

The following is a guest post from Boilermaker Corporate Cup Director, Cosmo Costellano. 

Does your company have an employee team running in the Boilermaker Corporate Cup Competition?  If not, there is still time to register, and it is totally free! Countless studies have proven the importance of a fit workforce ranging from reduced absenteeism, greater productivity to reduced insurance premiums. There is no doubt that the company that exercises together builds a greater team mentality as well as camaraderie.

But are these the only reasons to enter a Corporate Cup team this year- No! Participating in the Corporate Cup is just plain fun!

Each team runner receives a commemorative Corporate Cup Mug. Many teams select one of the Boilermaker T-Shirt printers to outfit your team with runner’s singlets to proudly display your company logo in the race. A Corporate Cup after work event is held within two weeks after the race to award each of the top three teams in each category with a trophy plaque to display. Enjoy food, beverages and a chance to win free registration for Boilermaker 2018.

In addition to our own fun, we are pleased to award three charities with $500 each year.   The charities are selected at random during the awards event from charities designated by each of the company teams. You have a chance to not only run well but do well for the community.

Competition categories are established for male, female, coed and masters teams and also large, medium, and small size companies. There is a competition category for every business.

The bonds developed among the runner-employees last long after the Boilermaker event. Most of the teams competing return year after year, and friendly rivalries have been fun to watch. Browse through past results at

There is still time to field your team for 2017. The deadline is June 30th, so do not delay.

Pick your reason:

  • promotes healthy activity and team-building among employees
  • company visibility in Utica’s largest sporting event
  • free gift for each employee runner
  • Invitation to awards ceremony
  • gifts to charity
  • it’s fun
  • it’s free

Whatever reason, please join us.  Your company’s participation is a clear win-win — in terms of health, morale and productivity, and community involvement.

All employee runners of all levels are welcome.  To encourage participation, just the top three or top five finish times are used for the team score. Additional employee runners add to the fun and camaraderie.

Download the rules and registration form now at  We’ll be looking for you at the finish line.





Meet Jacob, 2017 Wheelchair Challenger

May 19th, 2017

The following is a guest contribution from Gary Roback, Co-Director of the Boilermaker Wheelchair Division. It includes a letter from Jacob Moore, a 2017 Wheelchair Challenge competitor. 

It seems like everyone that volunteers, races, walks or watches the Boilermaker has a particular part of the event that they thoroughly enjoy.  For some, it’s the challenge.  For some, it’s the enjoyment of helping others or being part of something much bigger than oneself.  Still for others, being a part of the Boilermaker is a passion.  In the early 90’s my wife, my two kids and I started as goody bag “stuffers” and we all got hooked.  We then ‘graduated’ to helping stuff race packets with bibs and safety pins.  A few years later an opportunity evolved within a relatively new committee – the Wheelchair Division.   Ever since the first time I ran the Boilermaker in 1983, the ‘chairs’ were the most inspirational, powerful part of the entire event for me.   There was just something about what I saw that drew me in.  So when the opportunity came up to join that committee, I did just that.  One of the first tasks I was asked to do was, along with Richard Panetta, develop what became known as the ‘Wheelchair Challenge’.  With runners, getting a quality pair of running shoes, although they can be expensive, is typically your major investment (other than your time and effort).  Wheelchair racing is a bit different.  You can’t easily do a wheelchair race without a racing wheelchair.  However, even the most basic racing wheelchair costs about $2,500 causing a financial barrier to some that made participating just a dream.  Our primary motive was to help break down that financial barrier by creating the ‘Challenge’.  We would award a custom built racing chair to an athlete that had the drive, desire and passion to complete the 15k Boilermaker in an everyday wheelchair.   Many times winning the chair is more than just a prize, it can represent a positive life changing experience. It can help people adjust to whatever life throws at them.  It represents the power of the human spirit. And to that end, the program has been a great success.  To date, we have awarded 28 custom built racing wheelchairs to Challengers.


Once again in 2017, we will have an athlete pursing the Challenge.  His bio below clearly shows he has the passion and desire to be successful.  So if you see Jacob on the course on Boilermaker Sunday, cheer him on. To Jacob, the challenge represents a whole lot more than just winning a chair.

As a kid growing up with Spina Bifida I never looked at something and told myself that I could not do it as well or better than others. Often times I was right and also often I was shown I could be just as wrong. Thing is though I never let someone tell me I could or couldn’t do something, and I always challenged myself and pushed as far as I could.  Spina Bifida as a child and for most of my adult life  was never really seen as a set back to me. I played baseball as a pitcher and 3rd baseman. I played water polo every summer as a kid all the way through high school and also I swam varsity in high school.  After high school I started biking. I very much valued the times where I could just get on my bike and go. Pop on some music ride down the canal. It was peaceful, relaxing and I still to this day value the times I was out on my bike and witnessed things I normally would not have. The sunsets, the wildlife and even some of the people I met while riding who all had stories too. I miss it all

About 4 years ago in November I noticed that I was kicking my left heel into the ground. I was trying to “wake it up”. It felt like it had gone to sleep, my foot was going numb. I noticed this routinely would happen. Slowly this started moving up my leg. Christmas came around and I told my family of my concerns about this. The numbness was spreading. I Could no longer walk up or down the stairs. We had to move our room downstairs. It was also around this time where if I wanted to walk just about anywhere I would have to use my girlfriend for support. For example holding onto her shoulders so I could walk somewhere. About a week into January 2014 I sat in a wheelchair and to this day it is the only way I can get around. Later in the year of 2014 I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis of the spine. The doctor who diagnosed me said it is only the 2nd time he has ever heard of it attacking the spine. Of course it was the first time he had diagnosed it.

My interest in racing and also doing the Boilermaker Wheelchair Challenge are similar.  I am 40 years old. I am overweight and as far as activity goes I only recently started to try and get active again. I want to challenge myself again. I want to say to myself I can do that. Then I want to go out and do what I said I can do. In the end I want to do this for myself. I want to be able to say to myself and to my family that I challenged myself and that I did not back down and I saw it through to the end.

In the end maybe I am being greedy but I feel like competing in The Boilermaker and finishing  it represents me grabbing back some of my independence that I may have lost the last few years. In completing this and in preparing for this I also believe it will help me in the long run for adjusting to life in a wheelchair. Yes, I have been in a wheelchair for a while, but you don’t just get used to it. It changes you, and in the end maybe this challenge is part of the change.

Jacob Moore

Why I Run

April 28th, 2017

The following is a guest post by Randy Van Wagoner, President of MVCC, Gold Sponsor of the Boilermaker Road Race and host of the Boilermaker Health and Wellness Expo. 

I consider myself an athlete, but I never ran without a ball.  I played a wide variety of sports growing up, but when I went to my one and only day of middle school track practice, I stopped after the first half mile and left to wait for my mom to pick me up.  I didn’t see the fun in running.  Without some kind of ball, I didn’t have a ‘why’ to run.  So I didn’t.

My running world changed in 2007 when my family and I relocated to the Mohawk Valley region. I was encouraged to run in MVCC’s annual Ted Moore Memorial 5K walk/run event, so I asked my oldest daughter who was still in elementary school at the time to run with me.  We survived it, and better yet, we had a fun time running together.  As we learned about the Boilermaker Road Race, our entire family began running in the 5K each year for that event.  We had all enjoyed running down Court Street to the finish line with the crowds cheering along both sides of the street.  It was like getting the full Boilermaker experience but only running one-third the distance.

In 2010, Steve Zogby gave me the encouragement to run the 15K Boilermaker.  He said, “C’mon, you should do it.  All you have to do is make sure you can run six miles and the crowd will carry you the rest of the way!”  I’ve since said those very words to multiple people trying to pay it forward because I’m so glad I took Steve’s advice.  I ran the 15K that year and thought I checked it off my bucket list.  I kept running the Ted Moore and Boilermaker 5K races with my family each year and thought that was enough for me, but over time my ‘why’ became abundantly clear.

We have a Wellness Council at Mohawk Valley Community College and I attended a workshop on well-being that covered research conducted by the Gallup organization. I made a commitment to improve my physical well-being and set a goal of running the Boilermaker 15K again in 2016.  As springtime came, I found myself enjoying the reflective time to run and quiet my mind.  I became more centered and focused at work and more present in my interactions with others.  I also became more aware of my diet and began eating a little better, which led to lowering my weight, which led to feeling better each day.  My ‘why’ I run became to feel better and be better.

I ran the Ted Moore 5K last spring and ran my best time ever.  We had over 200 people participate and had our largest fundraising effort ever for the Ted Moore Scholarship.  It was a great day for the MVCC community.  Late last summer, our oldest daughter and I ran in the Crim Festival of Races 10 mile race in Flint, Michigan where I grew up.  We were part of a Boilermaker Road Race group that traveled there in a show of solidarity with the City of Flint and their water crisis.  The only two road races who sent people were the Boilermaker and the Boston Marathon – a pretty powerful statement.  My ‘why’ I run added to support great causes and connect to the best of being human.

I began running every time I traveled somewhere and mapped out interesting runs to see parts of cities I might not otherwise see.  I ran my first-ever Race to the Canal 5K and ran along the Erie Canal.  My ‘why’ I run now includes to see interesting sights and places.

On Boilermaker Sunday 2016, my family and I once again worked our morning routine like clockwork with all the friends, rides, pick-ups, drop-offs, and meet-ups.  My wife and youngest daughter ran the 5K, as ever, and our oldest daughter and her friend ran the 15K, and I did as well.  I find the local adage to be true – if we could bottle the sense of community pride that’s evident on Boilermaker Sunday, the other 364 days around here would be incredible.  Running down Culver Ave, Memorial Parkway, Champlain Ave., and Whitesboro streets is so uplifting with so many friendly faces.  The views from Valley View are phenomenal and the feeling of running down a crowded Court Street through the finish line is exhilarating.  My ‘why’ I run now is attaching to something bigger than myself.  It’s about being part of this community and touching a unique collective experience that can’t be replicated.

I would love to go back and tell my little 7th grade self ‘why’ people should run.  I’m forever grateful to this community for helping me discover my own ‘why’.  As the Ted Moore walk/run celebrates its 20th anniversary and the Boilermaker celebrates its 40th anniversary, I hope even more people discover their ‘why’ and turn out in record numbers!


Boilermaker Square at Butler Park – Lou Matrulli, Boilermaker Square Director

January 10th, 2017

How many of you reading this message have run the full 15K race course? Next question – How many have walked the 15K miniature race course in Butler Park? OK, final question – Do you know what Boilermaker Square at Butler Park is all about?

With that out of the way – Here is your history lesson for the day.

The venture began in 1997 when a group of Boilermaker volunteers met to discuss how a vacant and seldom used Utica City park could be developed to honor and memorialize their 15K race. The location was ideal, near the finish line and adjacent to the post race party. The Boilermaker Race Committee adopted Butler Park, developed a plan to renew and revitalize the land and return it as a gift to the Community, as the Boilermaker celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Boilermaker Square at Butler Park was created.

The original concept included the development of a walkway in the shape of the race course route, tree plantings with a specific grid pattern, and decorative pole lighting.

The main feature is a 4 foot wide – red brick path – forming an exact miniature replica of the 15K Boilermaker race course as it winds its way through the City. Along the way are brick pads designating major landmarks such as the F.T. and T.R. Proctor Parks, MVCC, the Zoo, Utica College, and 15 others important Utica features. Engraved brick pavers, with personal messages from donors line the two sides of the pathway and the borders of several of the landmarks. Two of the landmarks are dedicated to the winners of the Les Diven Media Award and Volunteer of the Year Award. The Start line, Mileage markers and Finish line are also engraved and placed along the course.

Soon after developing the concept, a Boilermaker Brick Drive was initiated and several hundred bricks with engraved messages were accumulated. By late 1999 construction was started. Grading of the entire Park, subbase for the brick pathway was placed, decorative light poles were installed and more than 40 trees were planted. Nearly all of the work was completed with donated labor and materials from local contractors and material suppliers.

Today more than 1,900 inscribed messages have been selected by Boilermaker supporters and installed along the pathway with just as many blank spaces left to be filled. Are you one of them? If not, here is how you can participate.

  • Bricks are sold at the 2 day Health and Fitness Expo in the Boilermaker Merchandise Store.
  • Bricks are sold along with other merchandise at the Post Race Party.
  • Bricks are available for purchase from the Boilermaker web site.

Each brick includes your personal message:

  • Standard Brick is 4 inches by 8 inches. Cost $30 each.
  • Up to 3 lines of engraving.
  • Each line contains 14 letters/spaces maximum.

The engraved bricks vary from reading like entertaining scripts to memorials for loved ones, but each is a personal message created from their heart. From runners to spectators, to volunteers to race supporters they each have purchased an everlasting piece of Boilermaker history. Here are some examples from recent purchases:





For the Committee members and volunteers, Boilermaker Park has been a labor of love. The process to sell the pavers and install the engraved product has been long and enduring. We have been happy to have those who have supported our efforts by creating their individual lasting memories.

For more information, contact me at

Running – Cindy Dardano, Boilermaker Volunteer Coordinator

January 3rd, 2017

I was never a great athlete. In my mind I was but in reality I wasn’t. I was just average. I tried many sports. I skied, skated, swam, played tennis and golf and cycled my little legs off but I never excelled. It didn’t mattered how good I was though, because I just enjoyed the experience. The glory and accolades were all in my mind. Then one day I discovered the pure joy of running. I wasn’t a fast runner. I never was in contention for a medal; I just loved the feeling of it. I loved the races. I loved the Boilermaker. I loved all the great friends. I loved running alone. I loved running in a group.  I loved running on an early summer morning…just me and the birds. Nothing could beat running through the snow on a crisp Sunday morning with The Beatles blaring on my headphones (Yes, headphones. Yes, The Beatles). I loved running in new cities I visited. I loved running. Then the bottom fell out.

As a teenager I had dislocated my knee a few times and I never realized that such a traumatic injury would result in problems as I aged. I ran 12 Boilermakers, my favorite race.  I even met my husband during the 1996 Boilermaker. A few years later my knee was no longer runnable (if that’s a word). No more Boilermakers. After 19 years I have finally accepted the fact that I will never be able to run again…ever. I am thankful to be healthy otherwise. I can walk, and exercise but I can’t do the one thing I truly wish to do….lace up my sneakers and run. I do have running dreams all the time. I can actually feel the wind in my face. When I wake-up it takes me a while to shake the reality of it and to realize that it was only a dream.  All is not lost, I did find a solution of sorts. I am working part-time here at the Boilermaker Office.  Now I deal with runners, listen to runners, read about runners, see runners, wear running gear but I am still not a runner.  I guess it’s the simpler things in life that mean the most. That first summer when I hung up my running shoes was the worst. But that too passed.  I am blessed to still be involved in this sport and working for the Best 15K in the Country. Happy 40th Boilermaker!  By the way, I still always buy the top running shoe….just to walk in….just because in my mind I am still a runner and always will be.