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Boilermaker Breaks Barriers with Access Program

Apr. 13, 2022

  • New program fosters diversity and inclusion by eliminating potential barriers to local immigrant, refugee, underprivileged and underserved communities.
  • Boilermaker partners Wolfspeed and The Sneaker Store to provide a select number of complimentary event registrations and running shoes.
  • Applications are available via various local agencies or directly via boilermaker.com.

UTICA- Officials at the Boilermaker Road Race announced the start of the Access Program, a new program aimed at breaking down barriers to road racing for local immigrant, refugee, underprivileged and underserved communities. The Access Program will provide a select number of first-time runners with a complimentary entry into any of this year's events, including the world-renowned 15K presented by Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield and 5K road race presented by Utica National, in addition to footwear and training assistance, through partnerships with Wolfspeed and The Sneaker Store.

"The Boilermaker was conceived as an event to give back to the community by Earle Reed in 1978," said Mark Donovan, Boilermaker president. "As we enter our 45th year, it's clear that this race that has become ingrained into the community is so much more than a race. With the generous support of our friends at Wolfspeed and The Sneaker Store, we hope to build on this legacy, fostering participation through diversity and inclusion."

In its first year, the program will cover entry fees, a select number of sneakers for those who demonstrate a need, and a self-directed training program designed to get participants ready to run safely ahead of the July 10, 2022 races.

The overarching goal of the Access Program is to improve access to the Boilermaker's namesake events by reducing barriers. By providing entry, assistance acquiring appropriate footwear, and training guidance and resources, all free of charge, the program builds on a key tenet of the Boilermaker organization: that running and road-racing can change lives and no one should be excluded.

"Running is often touted as a sport with relatively few barriers – throw on a pair of shoes, step outside, and start. We know, however, that it's often not that simple," said Vikki Townsend, community outreach manager for the Boilermaker. "Well-fitting, quality sneakers can be expensive. Participating in races can feel frivolous if resources are limited. Training can seem daunting. The Access Program addresses these limitations head-on because we believe strongly that road racing is a transformative activity that everyone should be able to participate in, if they wish to do so, regardless of financial status."

For the inaugural iteration, Boilermaker officials have recruited the assistance of several local organizations that serve the community, providing a wealth of services to various underserved populations. "Our Community Outreach programming is intended to keep pace with the ever-changing makeup and needs of our community," Donovan said. "Utica is home to many incredible organizations that have served this community for years. By partnering with them, we've been able to more deeply understand the local populations they serve and build trust, ensuring this program is readily visible and accessible to those who will benefit from it." Please visit boilermaker.com for more information or to download an application for the Boilermaker's Access Program.

CAPTION INFORMATION

COMMUNITY OUTREACH- Boilermaker President Mark Donovan, introduces the Access Program at a press conference this morning. The Access Program, the Boilermaker's newest Community Outreach initiative, is aimed at fostering diversity and inclusion by eliminating potential barriers to local immigrant, refugee, underprivileged and underserved communities.

COMMUNITY PARTNERS- Shelly Callahan, executive director of The Center, speaks about the Boilermaker's Access Program at a press conference this morning as Mark Donovan, president of the Boilermaker looks on. Boilermaker officials are enlisting the help of local organizations, including The Center in the planning and execution of the program, which fosters diversity and inclusion by eliminating potential barriers to local immigrant, refugee, underprivileged and underserved communities.

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Recognized as the "Best 15K in the USA", the Boilermaker Road Race is in its 45th year. The Boilermaker, a proud member of the PRRO Circuit, is the premier event of Boilermaker Weekend. The race consistently attracts elite runners from all over the world, including Olympians and world record holders, and features distance running's most enthusiastic fans, as well as the sport's best post-race party, hosted by The F.X. Matt Brewing Company. To register for other Boilermaker events visit the official Boilermaker website at boilermaker.com. Hotel accommodations and information about other local attractions can also be found on the site.