The Boilermaker 15K Road Race was established in 1978 by Earle C. Reed. Reed was looking for a way to give back to the community that had supported his family's business, Utica Radiator (ECR International). Earle convinced his father Bob Reed, President of Utica Radiator, and the company's Treasurer Jim Benson, to underwrite a new local long distance road race, which Earle dubbed "The Boilermaker." With additional assistance from the cofounder F.X. Matt II, president of F.X. Matt Brewing Company, the first Boilermaker was run on July 16, 1978. Earle Reed served as Race Director from 1978-2000, Bob Ingalls from 2001-2007, and Jim Stasaitis took the race over in 2008.
It wasn't the first local road race, but it quickly became the most popular. The Boilermaker continues to strive to be the best 15K race in the United States, attracting athletes and fans from all over the world. The race began with 876 runners and a budget of $750. Now in its 41st year, the Boilermaker draws more than 19,000 competitors and sponsors at support levels of $5,000 and up. The organization has also expanded its focus to play the role of catalyst in improving the physical and emotional well-being of the community through the Boilermaker Urban Initiative.