I've never been more proud to live in and be a Utican. I volunteered this year for the first time. I got up at 5:30 Sunday and left my house at 6:45 - on my bike. Every road near my house is closed for the Boilermaker, but at least I can ride my bike. So I rode up to the golf course and the DPW - found my friend Brenda. We got our shirts, got all of our cups of ice ready - 2-3 deep covering the table. Everyone talked about how they always run out of ice, and most of these people have been doing this for 15 years or so. We had a demonstration of how to handle the cups so as not to make the runners fight for them or get soaking wet. It was funny - but important too.
The wheelchairs started at 7:30am and the runners started at 8:00 am. The first wheelchair was just a little after 8 (I think ) and then the elite runners were around 8:15 - it's poetry in motion watching them. They don't even look at the water or the ice! LOL!
As the rest of the pack came through we all yelled "Ice, Ice, Ice" - you don't want a runner to grab a cup from you thinking they are getting water and they instead end up with a chipped tooth or choking. So for about an hour and 30 minutes that's what we did. The runners that got ice - 90% of them said "Thanks" - which I found amazing because they are so focused on running! Then you get those who thank you for volunteering! I just did it because I can't run and want to be a part of the excitement, the action, the camaraderie.
But here is the best part of all. I went down to the Brewery for the post Boilermaker party, I'd never been there before so I was curious. It was awesome - huge - totally cool and lol - "smelly"! I mean it in a funny way - but you have 10,000 or so people who have been running - you have the sun beating on them, add some beer and it's going to smell a little. I was walking around, ran into a few people that I know and talked to them and then I ran into a family from Albany. They saw my volunteer shirt and asked me where to find Tomato Pie! My mind blanked! I could not think of a place that would have it on hand on a Sunday morning! How horrible! But then I remembered Roma's and my friend S - who's husband works there. I got Roma's number and was able to give them directions to it from Schuyler street. It was a blast to try and help them. But then the wife said to me that she was very impressed with Utica and Uticans! "The Boilermaker", she said, "is one of the best organized and friendliest races that she has ever been a part of". This made me very proud to be from Utica! Utica gets a lot of bad publicity and stupid comments - but it is a great place to live, work and be proud of!
Thank you to all who volunteered, participated in and worked at the Boilermaker! Every year I am amazed by the great stories I hear of people helping others and just the whole 'family' feeling that the race invokes in people.