Despite the brutal heat and humidity, the eight of us set out to race, and the eight of us all finished strong. Congratulations, everyone!
The Boilermaker is a 15K road race featuring some of the most elite runners in the world. On Sunday, the 2 Fat Nerds crew competed with the best. The race that was an untouchable mythological beast throughout my childhood proved to be every bit as challenging as anticipated, but also one of the most fun events I’ve run to date. The whole city of Utica came out to support the runners along the entire nine mile stretch, cheering and spraying us with water at every opportunity. And their support was needed.
We woke up bright and early at the Herkimer Motel on Sunday. I immediately stepped out side and could feel the humidity, though it was still relatively cool out. We all got into our running gear, and off we went to the start line. The 11,000+ runners who would end up finishing was an impressive site to see, with hundreds of people in line for porta-potties or using the nearby wooded area/buildings to relieve themselves. When the gun sounded, it took us over twelve minutes to cross the starting line, but once we were on our way, the excitement of the group was amazing.
The first few miles went fast, and the rolling hills of the Utica parkway system seemed to fly by quickly enough. The first major hill went by quickly and was relatively pain-free. I was much more concerned about it than I really needed to be, which was a wonderful feeling. At mile four, I gave a big sweaty hug to my Aunt Linda, and it was awesome to have their support early, as we didn’t anticipated them until mile eight. Unfortunately, during this exchange, I dropped our Gu Chomps . . . the only bag of energy chews we had for the race. This turned out to be an issue later.
Continuing on, the race was full of water stops, sprinklers, and mobile showers. We were absolutely soaking wet with sweat and water—anything to keep as cool as possible.
The miles wound down, and we finally came across what we had all been waiting for: Tutu’s water station! For many many years, long before any of us ran at all, my grandma Tutu has volunteered at the 8.5-mile water station. We were so excited to see her, so I gave her a big, soaking-wet hug too!
Each one of us made sure to get water from her, and shortly after, we found the bulk of our cheering section waiting for us. They got some nice pictures of all of us!
Jono and Ellie on the left in orange and teal; Dad and Sue in the green on the right!
From there, it was a straight-on shot to the end, and I couldn’t have been happier to finally cross the finish line with Ellie, hand-in-hand. However, for me, that’s when everything kind of started going south in a hurry. We weaved our way through the street to get a couple of bottles of water and some orange slices, and I was getting pretty woozy from the heat. I am pretty good at knowing when I’m getting to be a bit sick, and I told Ellie I needed to get out of the main crowd and into the shade. While doing so, my vision started to go dark and she kept me walking through the crowd, which I really couldn’t see. Finally she got me sitting under a bush and soaked me with cold water (about a bottle and a half went on my head and neck). It helped quite a bit, but I was definitely feeling it. For about fifteen minutes, Ellie worked to get me back from a rather delirious state, and finally we made our way back to our sno cone meeting place. After a few minutes in the heat, I felt it coming on again and my vision started to go. Ellie walked me over to the medical fire truck area where I stood in the shade, next to a bunch of EMT’s just in case. I didn’t end up needing them, but I probably could of used their help. Once my mom found us, she put a nice, cold package of Go-Gurt around my neck to cool me down further.
Sadly, I didn’t enjoy any of the free beer, but overall it was still an extremely positive experience. Despite the heat and what followed, it was an absolute blast to run with so many friends and family and to have so many there to cheer us on. With Aunt Linda and family and Aunt Terri and family there to support us, as well as Tutu manning the water station and Dave, Brooks, Adrienne, and mom all there too, I realized that we have the best supporting team we could have asked for. It was awesome to run with the Sneeringer family as well, who all did amazingly well and have given me something to strive for in future races.
So with that, I suppose everyone probably would like to know the official race results! Here they are, in order of chip finish times.
- Jeff – 1:24:43
- Gene – 1:31:19
- Suz – 1:43:13
- Mike -1:43:14
- Ellie – 1:44:15
- Jono – 1:44:15
- Susie – 1:47:03
- Dad – 1:47:03
A fantastic job done by everyone involved, especially my Dad, who found out he would be racing only three days prior to race day. An amazing accomplishment, truly.
Though I do not know if I’ll be racing the Boilermaker again next year, I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. It was by far the best race I’ve ever run, and I highly recommend all runners to add it to their “Must Race” lists. You will not be disappointed. Just be ready for the July heat . . .