Boilermaker Road Race runners set quick pace in ideal conditions
UTICA — The 41st annual Boilermaker Road Race held a quick pace which ultimately crowned a new men’s champion and saw the second woman become a four-time winner on a cloudless Sunday morning, July 8.
Gabriel Geay from Tanzania won the men’s 15-kilometer race just in his second running of the Boilermaker. He finished the race in 43 minutes, 40 seconds. His first Boilermaker Road Race came in 2016, when he finished in eighth place.
“It was a tough course,” Geay said after the race. “It was good conditions for running.”
Gaey pulled away at the eight mile mark to seal the race. “That was my plan, to pull away at the eight mile mark.”
Geay was coming off of a victory in the Boston 10K ran on June 24. “I was in good shape since after the Boston 10K.”
John Crain was the top American runner to cross the finish line with a time of 44:15. Clinton native Matthew Lacey was the top local finisher, coming in with a time of 51:17. Rome’s Josh Olney finished the race in 51:48.
Mary Wacera won the women’s race with a time of 50:01 in successfully defending her title. Wacera also became the second women to win the Boilermaker four times.
Catherine Ndereba was the first woman to win the race four times. With her win on Sunday, Wacera has totaled over $70,000 in prize money from the Boilermaker.
The top area finisher in the 15K was Clinton’s Catherine Beck, finishing with a time of 56:37. Holland Patent’s Ashton Villeneuve finished the 15K in 1:00.50. Oneida’s Amanda Hatfield finished with a time of 1:02.03. Gianna Cappocia was the first Roman to cross the finish line in 1:05.26.
“Being a four-time winner feels great and amazing,” Wacera said. “The weather was perfect and it was the ideal weather for racing.”
Wacera said that it was a tight race throughout. She trailed Yuka Takashima of Japan coming into mile six and then Wacera made her move.
“I believed in myself and I knew that I could do it in the final kick,” Wacera said. Wacera also said that she will be back next year to defend her title and surpass Ndereba for the most wins.
“I love Utica, I love the crowds and the people at the finish,” Wacera said. “I’m looking forward to coming back.”
American runners Kevin Castille and Dawn Grunnagle won the Master’s Division. For Castille, it was his fourth title, completing the race in 45:37 and Grunnagle completed the race in 53:23 for her first title.
In the wheelchair race, Americans Daniel Romanchuk and Amanda McGrory continued to show their dominance. Romanchuk set a course record, completing the race in 31:45 for his third straight victory. He also broke Saul Mendoza’s record of 31:49 set in 2004. McGrory won her seventh straight wheelchair race, completing the course in 40 minutes flat.
Rome’s Jason Robinson, the recently crowned track and field state champion at Westmorerland Central, placed 13th with a time of 38:26.
Boonville’s Tyler Fauvlle won the 5K race, finishing in a time of 16:12 and Amanda Behnke if Bloomington, Ind. won the women’s 5K with a time of 17:56.