Sunday I was in Binghamton, and a local TV channel showed the 31st annual running of the Utica Boilermaker 15K road race, now a serious world class international running event, in which Kenyans take many of the top spots. For example, Catherine Ndereba, one of the world's best female marathon runners, was in this race. The winning time was roughly 4:40 per mile.
Now, the question is........if this was the 31st running, the first running would have been 1978. Now, I think the summer after my freshman year, which would have been 1977, several Dr. K Striders including myself, my younger brother Michael, and Eric Kaplan, ran a Utica Boilermaker 10 mile road race. Of course, this was the famous race in which the Striders copped a team victory, generating contoversy and a protest from Mark Peters (whom I think was the race director), due to our enlisting of Tom Carter as a Dr. K Strider.
Was this 1977 race, simply a pre-cursor to the first Boilermaker Race? The TV coverage mentioned that the previous race director had died recently, but it wasn't Mark Peters. Also, if you count 1977, this year would be the 32nd running of the event?
I looked up the race history, and it appears that the 1977 10-mile version simply did not count or make history (see below). It would have been nice to think that the Striders had won the very first running of what is now a serious international event.
Maybe due to the contoversial team finish, or the fact that it was 10 miles instead of a 15K, wiped it from the historical records.
The Boilermaker 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 Boilers (now ECR International). The 15K road race began with just over 800 runners and a budget of $750.
In 1983, renowned distance runner, Bill Rodgers, not only participated but won the race with a time of 44:38. Rodgers elevated the race by bringing both national exposure and credibility to the event. Since then, the Boilermaker has attracted top elite runners from all over the world, including Olympians and world record holders. The consistent professional management of the race has resulted in its reputation as the best 15K road race in the country. In fact, the Boilermaker has been named by the Analytical Distance Runner as the most competitive 15K road race in the world.
Today, the Boilermaker 15K road race hosts at least 10,000 runners per year. Boilermaker Weekend, which offers events for participants of every age and skill level, has grown to include fitness and special events, such as a 5K Run, 3 Mile Walk, Youth Run, Health and Fitness Expo., and more. Designed around the weekend’s crown jewel, the Boilermaker 15K Road Race, Boilermaker Weekend promotes a healthy lifestyle with a focus on fun, family, and community spirit!