10 Reasons To Pre-Register For The Boilermaker
We’re officially FOUR months away from the Boilermaker and registration opened TODAY! It’s hard to imagine running a 15K (or 5K) on a hot July day when there’s currently snow on the ground and we’re about to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. But we’re here…and it’s time to register!
For those who don’t know, the Boilermaker is basically a holiday in Utica. It’s the second Sunday in July and one of the most incredible events I’ve ever been a part of. It’s often referred to as the nation’s best 15K (the post-race party helps) and there are so many reasons to sign up and run.
If you consider yourself a runner, this is an easy sell. But it’s important to know that many people who participate in the 15K (like me!!) are NOT avid runners. I’ve never done a half or full marathon and I probably wouldn’t sign up for any other race that’s 9.3 miles long. But there’s something magic about the Boilermaker…from the training and the crowds to crossing the finish line. I was SO nervous my first year and thought there was a 0% chance I’d be able to finish. But I proved myself wrong…three times and counting.
It’s easy to be intimidated by the Boilermaker, but once you get over the initial nervousness, it’s amazing and fun and you won’t regret it. To help further persuade you, I’ve put together a list of the top 10 reasons to sign up and pre-register for the Boilermaker!
THE SPECTATORS! When I was little, I used to go with my family to watch my dad run. I always looked forward to it because it’s cool to see people run by and cheer for them. It’s a totally different and amazing experience as a runner. The Boilermaker is a pretty long race, so motivation is needed. It’s borderline emotional to be running up the hill at Valley View and people are yelling and clapping and encouraging you. The first year I ran, I saw my parents right before the finish line and burst into tears. It honestly makes the race what it is, and I believe it’s why the Boilermaker is one of the best races in the country.
THE AFTERPARTY – DUH! Assuming those who are reading this are over the age of 21, this is the afterparty of all afterparties. The Boilermaker finish line is conveniently located at Saranac Brewery (FX Matt Brewing Company). If you’re not from the area, this is our local brewery with over 130 years of history and the creators of Utica Club. The post-race party takes over the back of the brewery and surrounding roads with literally thousands of people. The best part? Saranac serves FREE beer to all those who run. Nothing like a cold brew after a casual 9.3-mile run!
GET IN SHAPE! I know running gets you in shape, but I’m not sure I realized just how much it would affect me. It’s important to note that everyone is different, and it totally depends on how MUCH you train and your diet but in a general sense, you’re going to get in shape. It was exciting to watch and feel my body transform throughout my training as I felt my legs get stronger. It’s very motivational and running is nice because you can go before or after work!
CHARITY BIB PROGRAM! I learned about the Charity Bib program when I ran on behalf of The Root Farm. This program supports local nonprofits who are chosen by a committee of volunteers organized by the Boilermaker Community Outreach Director. Since its inception in 2013, the program has raised over $600,00 for area non-profits. My reasoning for running under a Charity Bib was multi-dimensional. First, I thought it was cool to support a local organization. Second, I wanted the motivation. I knew if I was running and raising money for a company, it would hold me accountable. Third, it was a great way for me to learn about The Root Farm. It may sound cliché, but it was a super rewarding experience that I highly recommend! You can learn more about the rules and regulations of the Charity Bib Program here.
BOILERMAKER EXPO! The Boilermaker Expo is a healthy lifestyle event that takes place on the Friday and Saturday before the race (7/12-7/13) at the Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) Utica campus. There’s something amazing about the expo. It’s where runners pick up their bibs, but it’s so much more than that! Local companies (like us) have booths where we pass out info and people can also buy race merchandise. Food trucks are parked across the lawn with vendors like Chobani, Utica Coffee and Saranac, plus live entertainment. And don’t miss the Pasta Challenge, Pasta Buffet ($7) and Runners’ Forum “Ask the Experts” on Saturday!
UTICA NATIONAL KIDS’ RUN! As I said, I remember looking forward to watching the Boilermaker when I was a little kid and thinking about running it someday. Fortunately, there’s a Kids’ Run sponsored by Utica National. Sign-ups are on Friday (7/12) from 12-3pm and the race is Saturday (7/13) from 8:15-10am. The race happens at MVCC as kids race around the campus. They have their own personal crowd cheering them on with parents and others attending the Expo! It’s a great way to get kids involved and thinking about health at a young age.
DEVELOPMENT RUNS! I’ve already told you I don’t consider myself a “runner”. Imagine my surprise when I first started attending development runs and then LIKING them. What are they? It’s an event that takes place every Wednesday from the beginning of May through September. They’re organized by the Utica Roadrunners and there’s a small fee ($2) to participate. You’ll receive tags that help you track your time each week and runners can do a 5K or 10K. Registration takes place at the Ski Chalet on the Memorial Parkway. There’s also a run for kids and free refreshments throughout the course. It’s a great way to support the Utica Roadrunners and train with a large group of people. I remember before my first Boilermaker that people said if you can complete the 10K development run through switchbacks, you can definitely do the real thing! This helped ease my mind and feel more confident going in!
FREE PASTA DINNER! I LOVE food, but I love it even more when it’s free. Do you know how happy I was when I first learned that if you sign up for the Boilermaker (15K AND 5K), you get a free pasta dinner the night before at Babe’s at Harbor Point or Carmella’s? It’s true and there’s NO catch. You’ll have to pay a little extra if you want meatballs or sausage but it’s one of the things I most look forward to. It’s fun to go with a few friends, indulge in some delicious carbs and relax. (And a friendly reminder to tip your servers for the whole value of the meal, not just on what your meatballs cost. They’re all patient angels on Boilermaker Eve!)
PRIDE! This is vague, but we ran a poll on Instagram asking people why they run and so many responded with something related to pride – for their hometown and community. Uticans (and those who live close by) love bragging about the Boilermaker. And why wouldn’t we?! It’s an insane event that brings the community together and supports so many local organizations. Now imagine how you’ll feel once you RUN the Boilermaker. It will hopefully make you proud of yourself and the city!
TRADITION & COMPETITION! This is the 42nd year of the Boilermaker and it only continues to grow and develop. The Boilermaker attracts elite runners from all over the world, including Olympians and world record holders. But what makes these elite runners come from all over to Utica, NY? The $100,000 in potential prize money! What I’m really trying to say is if you think you can beat some insane times, you could win money! But if you don’t, there’s still free beer.
Overall, the Boilermaker is an experience that is indescribable and is more than just a race. If you sign up, chances are you’ll never forget that time you ran a 15K in Utica. I highly encourage anyone who’s on the fence or skeptical to take a leap of faith and sign up. Use this blog as a guide to help train and get in shape and offer you incentives for finishing. I hope to see you all at the Development Runs beginning in May! Happy Boilermaker Registration Day!