Men’s and Women’s Course Record Holders Highlight Elite Field
July 7, 2023 (Utica, NY) When runners take to the starting line of the Boilermaker Road Race 15K presented by Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield on the morning of Sunday, July 9, not only will they be lining up with elite, professional athletes, they’ll be facing both the men’s and women’s open division record holders.
Jemal Yimer of Ethiopia is returning to defend his 2022 Men’s Open Division crown. Yimer won the 2022 event in 42 minutes and 38 seconds, smashing the 12-year-old course record by 8 seconds. Second place last year by two seconds, Edwin Kimutai of Kenya is also returning to the 2023 Boilermaker. Yimer and Kimutai staged an epic back-and-forth battle for much of the race which was ultimately decided in the final half mile.
Charles Langat of Kenya is another strong contender for the men’s championship, after winning the Peachtree Road Race10K race in Atlanta on July 4, beating Yimer and three others by one second.
On the women’s open side, the field is wide open after last year’s champion Rosemary Wanjiru of Kenya decided not to participate. Kenyans Veronicah Wanjiru and Mary Munanu return after finishing second and third respectively in last year’s Boilermaker. 2023 Bloomsday winner Yeshi Kalayu of Ethiopia, highlights an incredibly strong field that could be won by a number of participants.
Edna Kilpagat of Kenya, who holds the women’s course record (47:57) she set in 2010, returns to the Boilermaker, this time in the Master’s (over 40) category. While a top 10 finish in the open category is well within her capabilities, Kiplagat could realistically break the Women’s Master’s Record of 50:40 set in 2002.
In addition to the international runners, this year’s Boilermaker features a number of American Elites, all of whom are eyeing the open championships. On the men’s side, Sam Chelenga of Colorado and Reid Buchanan of California highlight a strong contingent which also includes US Olympian Shadrack Kipchirchir of Colorado. Chelanga finished third overall at last year’s Boilermaker in 43:09.
Marybeth Chelanga of Colorado and Aliphine Tuliamuk of Arizona headline this year’s American women’s hopefuls going into this year’s race.
The Men’s Open Wheelchair Division is wide open this year, with Utica’s Hermin Garic, Canadian Josh Cassidy and Californian Miguel Vergara expected to compete for the crown. Garic and Cassidy are past champions of the event, while Vergara comes to the race leading the standings of the newly created Rolling Thunder Triple Crown Series (TCS) which will be decided at the Boilermaker.
2022 Women’s Wheelchair Open Division champion Jenna Fesemyer of Illinois will look to defend her crown, but will be challenged by Yen Hoang of Illinois and Michelle Wheeler of Texas. Hoang’s strong finishes at the Peachtree and Cedartown Races have her atop the Triple Crown standings heading into this weekend.
The TCS is a points-based championship series that combines the results of the Boilermaker with the Peachtree 10K, and the Cedertown 5K to crown a winner out of 34 participants.
“We have an incredible field of elite athletes for this year’s Boilermaker,” said Boilermaker race director Jim Stasaitis. “Every year on the second Sunday in July, Utica, NY becomes the center of the road racing world and the ability for everyday runners to match up against the best road racers on the planet is something truly unique to our sport.”
Stasaitis noted the importance of spectators along the course for both the elite field and the amateur athletes as they navigate the streets of Utica.
“We’re hoping to see a full crowd line the streets of our course to share in the excitement this Sunday,” Stasaitis remarked. “Every year, the professional athletes are amazed by the crowd support that they receive. It’s something that makes our race very unique and special.”
The 46th running of the Boilermaker Road Race will take place on Sunday, July 9, 2023.