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Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay and Kenya’s Caroline Rotich, were the 15K Boilermaker winners

Gabriel Geay was surprised. Not so much so that it cost him the 2019 Boilermaker Road Race, however.

The 22-year-old Tanzanian held off an unexpected challenge from Mohamed Red El Aaraby, outkicking the Moroccan veteran over the last mile, and winning the 42nd annual 15-kilometer classic in 43 minutes, 36 seconds Sunday.

Geay cut four seconds off his winning time of last year in becoming the first back-to-back male open champion since John Korir put wins together in 2003 and 2004. El Aaraby was three seconds back in 43:39.

“He surprised me,” Geay said. “He’s a strong guy.”

Geay had more than enough, however, to get the best of El Aaraby, a Boilermaker newcomer who set the Beirut Marathon record of 2:10:41 in November.

Caroline Rotich, 35, the 2015 Boston Marathon champion, took the female open title with a time of 49:08, just edging out Iveen Chepkemoi by several strides and one second. Rotich, like Geay, earned $7,000 for her win.

Abdi Abdirahman, 40, and Kate Landau, 42, both of the United States, ran 46:31 and 52:39, respectively, in winning masters titles. They both earned $2,000. Haron Lagat, 35, was the top American male, finishing in 44:21, fifth overall. Belainesh Gebre, 31, lead the American women with a time of 51:03, sixth overall. They earned $3,000 apiece.

None of the times approached Boilermaker course records.

The race started after a delay of about 22 minutes because of homicide investigation off of Culver Avenue. It began under mostly cloudy skies, with a temperature of 69 degrees and some humidity.

A group of about 20 runners separated themselves from the pack almost immediately after the gun went off, with Terefa Debela Delesa of Ethiopia and Stephen Kiptoo Sambu of Kenya setting the pace, as they would for much of the race. The pace was somewhat leisurely, with the first mile taking 4:46.

The lead group was down to eight runners once they reached the turn into Steele Hill Road and Valley View Golf Course, with Geay pressing ahead for the first time. The climb and descent — the fifth mile, downhill, was covered in a little more than four minutes — left it a four-man race, with Geay, El Aaraby, Delesa and Sambu fighting it out. They were still together turning onto Champlin Avenue, but Geay pulled out at Mile 7, and only El Aaraby went with him. They were shoulder to shoulder as they motored to eight miles, past and then made the turn onto Whitesboro Street.

Shortly afterward, Geay began to open things up — two strides, three strides, then a few more.

“I thought maybe I should push,” he said. “I was worried he might come back, but he didn’t.”

Geay opened it up to 30 yards coming down through the wildly cheering crowd on Court Street, and had no trouble cruising in for the win.

“I needed some speed at the end,” said El Aaraby, who was running his first Boilermaker at age 29. “He has more speed than I do.”

(07/15/2019) ⚡AMP
by John Pitarresi
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Boilermaker 15k

Boilermaker 15k

The Boilermaker 15K is the premier event of Boilermaker Weekend. This world renowned race is often referred to as the country's best 15K. The Boilermaker 15K is recognized for its entertaining yet challenging course and racing's best post-race party, hosted by the F.X. Matt Brewing Company, featuring Saranac beer and a live concert! With 3 ice and water stops every...

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The Boilermaker 15K Road Race has reached its cap for participants again this year

The 15-kilometer race — Utica’s premier summer sports event is set for Sunday, July 14 — reached its cap of 14,500 spots on Tuesday afternoon, Boilermaker officials announced. Each of the Boilermaker’s 4,500 spots in the 5-kilometer race have been claimed since mid-April.

“We’re certainly happy (to reach the cap),” said Boilermaker President Mark Donovan, who was officially introduced as Boilermaker president on June 6 in 2018. “Those that want to be here (in Utica for the race) lock in March.

Everyone else is seeing what their schedule looks like and what life throws at them before they commit.”

While the total number of spots in the 15K has changed in recent years – the cap was set at 14,500 beginning in 2017 -- the Boilermaker has sold out of spots for each race dating back to at least 2011. Last year, the 15K reached the cap in early July.

“It is such a unique event,” said Donovan when asked what it means for the event to reach the cap again. “It is a community thing and people talk about it and the experience. Everybody’s experience is different and it is fun. I bet if you asked 10 people about their experience on (race day), you’ll get 10 different answers.”

(06/24/2019) ⚡AMP
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Boilermaker 15k

Boilermaker 15k

The Boilermaker 15K is the premier event of Boilermaker Weekend. This world renowned race is often referred to as the country's best 15K. The Boilermaker 15K is recognized for its entertaining yet challenging course and racing's best post-race party, hosted by the F.X. Matt Brewing Company, featuring Saranac beer and a live concert! With 3 ice and water stops every...

more...
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Mary Wacera wins the Boilermaker 15k for the fourth time

Mary Wacera of Kenya won her fourth Boilermaker 15K with a time of 50:01. This tied her with four-time Boston Marathon winner Catherine Ndereba as the winningest female open runner in Boilermaker history. Monicah Ngige and Vicoty Chepngeno, both of Kenya, rounded out the women’s podium with times of 50:03 and 50:04 respectively. Gabriel Geay of Tanzania took the top spot in the 15K Men’s Open race with a time of 43:40 while 2016 Men’s Open champion, Teshome Mekonen Asfaha of Ethiopia, finished second and Edwin Kibichiy of Kenya took third. (07/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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Ethiopian Buze Diriba Kejela has just confirmed she will be running the Boilermaker 15K

The Elite Field for Sunday’s 41st running of Utica’s Boilermaker 15K has gotten stronger.  Buze Diriba Kejela, 24-year-old from Ethiopia has already won three major road races this season — including the New York City Half-Marathon, the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run in Washington, D.C., and the Lilac Bloomsday 12K Run in Spokane, Washington. Diriba Kejela ran her first Boilermaker 15K last year and finished fifth in the Women’s Open field with a time of 49:40. Wacera, the Boilermaker champion in 2014 and 2015, won her third title in four years with a time of 49:18, and she will join Catherine Ndereba as the only four-time winner with another victory Sunday. Diriba Kejela was one of 11,077 women running the New York City Half-Marathon on March 18, and she won that race with a late sprint past American Emily Sisson in a course record time of 1:12.:23. Sisson was only one-tenth of a second back at the finish. Two wins on the Professional Road Running Organzation (PRRO) Circuit — which the Boilermaker is a part of — has put Diriba Kejela in contention for the 2018-19 PRRO Championship bonus. On April 8, she won the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run in 53:45; she had finished second in the race the previous two years. On May 6, she finished the Bloomsday 12K with a time of 39:25 and won that race by a single second. (07/06/2018) ⚡AMP
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Boilermaker winners plan to return, Mary Wacera going after a fifth win

“This is my race.” That’s what Mary Wacera was saying here last July, after winning the women’s open title at the Boilermaker Road Race for the third time in four years. Now, according to the 2018 Elite Runner Field released by the Boilermaker, the 29-year-old Kenyan is planning to return to Utica for this year’s July 8 race. And if Wacera wins yet again, she will join Catherine Ndereba as the only four-time Women’s Open champion. The Elite Runner Field is subject to change, but both of last year’s Boilermaker winners — Wacera and Silas Kipruto of Kenya — are expected to return with hopes of defending their 15K titles. Wacera, the Boilermaker women’s champion in 2014 and 2015 and the third-place finisher in 2016, won last year’s race in 49 minutes, 18 seconds. Ruti Aga Sora was the runner-up, just two seconds back, and the 24-year-old from Ethiopia is also coming back this year. (07/02/2018) ⚡AMP
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Volunteer of the Year Joe Wilczynski has also run all 40 Boilermaker 15k's

This year’s Boilermaker Volunteer of the Year is Joe Wilczynski, who has been the coach of WKTV’s Go The Distance for all 22 years of the training program. “He’s very deserving of this and we were honored to give it to him,” said Boilermaker Race Director Jim Stasaitis. Joe has run every single Boilermaker 15K since the race’s inception, making him one of the ten Perennials who have run all 40 Boilermakers, for a total of 372 official Boilermaker miles logged. “If you added up all the mileage with the running he does, with the Go the Distance group starting out with the 10-week, 12-week course, he's probably run it more than a hundred times,” Stasaitis said. Joe is the heart of the Go The Distance program, inspiring a new generation of runners each year. Many of them go on to join the Mohawk Valley Hill Striders running club, which was created by Joe and other former Go The Distance runners. Joe serves as president of the club. “He gives the proper instructions to all these beginners, and actually, there are some veteran runners who could probably learn from him," Stasaitis said. “Joe was there every step of the way with me,” said Rose Butler, a Go The Distance volunteer who was a member of the 2006 GTD class. “He helped me complete the Boilermaker. I couldn't have done it without him.” More than 200 people have crossed the Boilermaker finish line thanks to Joe’s guidance. But he would never take the credit, because that’s the kind of guy he is. “He is a huge supporter of the running community, huge supporter of all the runners. All the people with Go The Distance and the Mohawk Valley Hill Striders,” Stasaitis said. (06/27/2018) ⚡AMP
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Boilermaker Road Race has announced a new president, Mark Donovan

The announcement comes nearly a year after longtime race president Tim Reed’s retirement last summer, and only a month before this year’s Boilermaker Sunday. Race founder Earle Reed announced Donovan’s appointment Wednesday morning, assuring the community he and his organization had “got the guy.” “We got a man who’s got corporate ability,” Reed explained, “he’s eager to learn and wants to work in the race.” Reed added that Donovan shares his passion for continuing the legacy of the Boilermaker as a staple of local tradition. Donovan began his remarks by thanking Reed for “setting a high bar” for the race going forward, as well as Boilermaker staff for their help and support in the transition. Originally from Albany, Donovan has worked in the commercial insurance and medical device industries, in addition to providing marketing strategies. This experience complements the role, says Donovan. “We don’t need another race director. We need someone else to help with expanding and engagement,” he explained. “The last thing that team needs,” Donovan said, referring to the race organizers, “is for me to start questioning things. “Going into this year’s race, my goal is to experience it from the inside,” he added. Echoing Reed’s words, Donovan asserted that the Boilermaker is “more than just a race.” He cited the impact on local morale the event had when he first arrived to Utica in the mid 1990s, which saw the closure of several major area employers.   (06/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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