Rome entrants turn in strong performances
UTICA — Area runners flocked to downtown Utica on Sunday morning for the 41st Boilermaker Road Race, with several Romans placing among the top finishers in all three events.
With the lowest completion time of all participants from Rome in the 15K race, Josh Olney’s 51 minutes and 46 seconds run put him in 53rd place for the men’s open division and 63rd overall in the 15K event. Olney’s showing this year put him about 20 seconds behind his previous time of 51:25.
The first 15K runner in the women’s open from Rome to cross the finish line was Gianna Cappocia, who completed the race in 1:05:26. The Rome Free Academy standout placed 75th in the women’s open and 647th overall.
Ankur Desai, also of Rome, shaved almost three minutes off his previous time in the 15K race, completing the course in 54:28. The University of Rochester student placed 95th in the men’s open and 113th overall.
The 41st Boilermaker was Desai’s 6th time running the featured 15K race, having once previously ran in the 5K event.
“This year was a bit different for me,” Desai explained. “The past two years, I ran the race just for fun, as my college coach had a ‘no racing over the summer’ rule.”
“We restructured the training plan a bit and I got the green light to give it about 95 percent this year,” he said.
Desai added he intends to return for next year’s race — “I might just have to buy a plane ticket to experience one of my favorite weekends of the year.”
Ben Schmidt, also a Roman, finished this year’s race in 1:03:50, taking nearly 40 seconds off his previous time. Schmidt finished 460th in the men’s open and 522nd overall.
“Today’s raceways right on par with year’s past,” said Schmidt on Sunday. “The crowd was great as always.”
“Of course I plan on doing the 15K for many years to come,” he added. This year marked Schmidt’s seventh running of Utica’s biggest sporting event.
For first-time runner Matt Moore of Rome, the race lived up to its status as a mainstay of the local calendar.
“It was awesome,” Moore said Sunday. “great crowd, a lot of fun music, good time.”
Moore, whose brother joined him from Vermont to run in the event, said he “absolutely” plans on registering for next year’s run. Moore completed the race in 1:08:47, finishing 801st in the men’s open and 940th overall.
Roman runner Moriah Humiston completed her fourth 15K in 1:33:18, saying that she ran less competitively this year than in years past. “This year was the first year I reated the Boilermaker less like a race and more like a fun run,” she said.
Humiston said the Boilermaker stands out from similar road races because of the enthusiasm displayed by the greater community.
“Each year,” she said, “I am astonished by the community-like feeling of the Boilermaker.”
“It brings a feeling of pride for the area.”
Humiston finished the 15K race in 2153rd for the women’s open and 6211th overall.
In the 5K race, the top male finisher from Rome was Davone Hernandez, who came in second place with a time of 16:16. Hernandez did not run in last year’s Boilermaker.
The top runner in the 5K women’s division from Rome was Tessie Shaffer, who finished in 23:14. Shaffer placed 36th in the women’s division and 158th overall.
For Rome’s Mike Bartlett, who ran in the 5K event with his daughters, this year’s race was easier than usual.
“I’ve been running it 19 years,” said Barlett, “and this is the first year I’ve done the 5K.
“No pressure — it was a lot of fun,” he added. “I enjoyed it a lot.”
Bartlett completed the 5K in 38:14, placing 1454th in the men’s open and 3271st overall. He says he plans on returning to the 15K event for next year’s race.
In the wheelchair event, Rome’s Jason Robinson finished in 38:26, placing 13th in a field of 41. The 2018 state track and field champ from Westmoreland had previously completed the course in 55:51 during last year’s race.
Jacob Moore, also of Rome, completed the wheelchair event in 2:46:29, placing 34th in the men’s open division.