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43rd Annual Boilermaker Transitions to a Virtual Event due to COVID-19

Jun. 15, 2020

2020 Boilermaker Road Race: Virtual

The 2020 Boilermaker, originally scheduled for July 12th and then postponed until September 13th, has transitioned to a virtual event due to safety concerns associated with COVID-19. The historic 15K presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and the Utica National 5K will be held as virtual races to keep the Boilermaker spirit alive during these challenging times.

As was done for the determination to postpone, this very difficult decision was made in concert with our medical support team, the NYS Department of Health and most importantly, with the safety and well-being of our runners, volunteers, staff and our community in mind.

"Endurance runners do not quit early in the race, they perservere until they know when it's no longer prudent to go on. Since our postponement, we have been working with and following the incredible work being done throughout the road race industry, in conjunction with CDC guidelines, to determine how or if events could be held safely. In our case, virtually every ingredient that makes the Boilermaker so special, from our size to our national and global participation and to our community involvement, works against us in the face of COVID-19. Ultimately, after exhausting our efforts to "finish the race" so to speak, we could not adequately protect our runners or our community and as we have stated from day one, if we could not put on a safe event, we would not proceed" said Mark Donovan, Boilermaker President. "That being said, we are thrilled to be able to present the first ever, virtual Boilermaker, which will serve as an exciting and unique experience for Boilermaker Nation. If you're already registered for the Boilermaker, you will have a full array of options to choose from. If you had not yet registered, we welcome and encourage you to learn about the virtual event and join us. We cannot wait to see you all in person in 2021, in the meantime, we continue to urge everyone to stay safe, stay positive, stay at home when you can and long may you run".

What is a Virtual Boilermaker?

  • Participants from around the world will run their 15K or 5K at their discretion (time & location) between September 1st and September 13th and report their time back to the Boilermaker no later than noon on September 13th via their RunSignUp account.
  • Participants can run on the course of their choice including a treadmill or a track. They are encouraged to run their 15K or 5K on a course that is safe from a physical perspective and to ensure that they follow all proper social distancing guidelines and traffic laws in place for their region, state or country.
  • Participants will receive a historic commemorative pint glass, race bib, finishers medal (15K only) and finishers pin (5K only) from the Boilermaker.
  • Over the next few months, the Boilermaker will be sharing countless interactive opportunities that will make participation in this virtual event an incredibly unique and special Boilermaker experience.
  • While not required, participants are encouraged to use the RaceJoy app to document their run and submit their results to the Boilermaker via their RunSignUp account. More information on this to follow.
  • The following programs will be a part of the Virtual 2020 Boilermaker
    • Charity Bib program which has raised over $600,000 since its inception for the Boilermakers various nonprofit partners
    • Wheelchair division sponsored by Sitrin Healthcare and NBT Bank
    • Corporate Cup Challenge sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
    • High School Challenge sponsored by Ball Aerospace
    • Traditional age group awards

All currently and previously registered participants were sent e-mail communications this morning detailing the situation. They were provided with several choices on how they would like to proceed, how to make those choices, and how long they will have to make their decision.

Below is a summary of the the important information needed by current Boilermaker registrants or those who wish to join us for the 2020 Virtual Boilermaker.

Current participants have until June 30th at noon to select one of these options through their RunSignUp account:

  1. Participate in this unique virtual Boilermaker experience
  2. Receive a refund of your registration fee minus a small processing fee
  3. Transfer current registration to 2021 at no additional cost
  4. Donate registration fee to the Boilermaker to help the organization through this unprecedented challenge

Prospective New Participants:

  • Registration is open now! Simply visit boilermaker.com for more information and to register
  • Pricing is as follows and will remain in place until each race caps out:
    • 15K presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield ~ $60 (race cap = 14,500)
    • 5K presented by Utica National ~ $50 (race cap = 4,500)

Expo and Other Boilermaker Weekend Events:

  • Due to safety concerns related to COVID-19, the following events are affected as noted:
    • The Boilermaker will not be able to host it's traditional physical Expo.
    • The Utica National Kids Run will not be run as usual. Work is being done on potentially transitioning it to a virtual event as well and any updates will come at a later date.

For more detailed information, visit boilermaker.com.