A Race Like No Other : Utica Boilermaker 


“I don’t want your time.  I want your best. ” 2014 Tough Mudder

For the 6th consecutive year I head to Utica for the greatest 15K race in America.

Every year, on the second Sunday of July local Uticans and running enthusiasts are joined by the most elite distance runners in the world for the annual Boilermaker

If you have been following my blog you know that I have been working very hard to get in shape for this event.  Not focusing so much on time but completing it without walking.

I may have finished this race 5 times before but I have only ran start to finish one time back in 2012.

I will touch on the pro and cons of straight running and using the run/walk method some other day.

Starting Line and Mile 1:

15,000 runners file into their starting areas  based on their running speed. as the national anthem is played.  8am on the dot, the gun fires while the Rocky Theme plays in an endless loop

As I reach the starting line on Culver Ave, I pass the street corner where I took my driving test to get my license all those years ago.  All East Utica Residents are out to cheer on their local runners.  I see one of my first managers from the grocery store on the side lines.


9,2 mile guy

Mile 2 The International Mile:

As you past the one mile mark to enter what is known as the International Mile.  Here you are met by volunteer organizations singing and dancing in support of the runners.

Irish Dancers, Egyptian Belly Dances, Etc all make appearances and it’s always a great site to see.

Mile 3 The Parkway:

After we pass the local Community College, MVCC we turn unto the historic Utica Parkway.

This is where the über rich of Utica live, but they all come out to show their support by handing out $100s of dollars in popicles  to the runners.

I’m still holding up well.  I’m going slow and steady because I know the worst part is coming

Mile 4 Valley View Hill

Hardest Part right here.  We hang a left and start heading up a steep hill towards the Valley View Golf Course.

Once you make the right onto the course you have to clime the most brutal switch back in the entire course.  I know that if I can make it up this hill without stopping,  I can do the entire race.

This is where I put my head down and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

When you hit the top you are on top of the world as you are met with the picturesque view of the Mohawk Valley, guess that’s where the golf course got its name.

Mile 5 – Return to the park way and South Utica

Down the hill and out the back exit of Valley View.    Make the left back unto the Parkway and don’t forget to pet the snake that’s waiting on the outside of the Utica Zoo entrance.

Now, we head into South Utica where I spent a lot of time growing up.  Just down the street is my grandmas house as well as my old school and church.

Mile 6 -Burrstone Road

Face a little bit of a hill here as we turn on Burrstone Road.  Just down the road is where I had my first job bagging groceries and played all my years of baseball.


Mile 7 Utica college

Make a right and there is St. Luke’s Hospital on the left where my brother Cameron was born and on the right is Utica College when I attended college.  Seems like forever ago.

And there it is “Michael Haddad’s Water Station”.  Dedicated to my cousin who went to Utica College and died of cancer at a very young age.


Mile 8 Yorkville

Here is where the fan support really picks up.

The entire race I make it a point to give “5” to anyone offering it and say hello to everyone I know. (Something I used to avoid)

The firefighters have the sprinkles out for a little cool down

Mile 9 Homestretch 

As we come to West Utica, my abdominal cramps start getting out of hand.  I need to take a 10 second breather to get it to stop.  But then I sprint for a good 15 second to make up the lost time and because I continued to run afterwards without stopping I don’t consider that a failure.

Now, I can see the finish line right outside the Saranac Brewery as I pick up the pace.

The announcer calls out my name as I finish my 6th Boilermaker and 2nd without stopping.

My wife and son are there to meet me as I bask in my own glory.

All my hard work has paid off.   Until next year Utica.



Author: billshappinessproject

I was near the end of 2016 when I realized that my life was totally out of balance. I was 30 and I was working my life away. I did not have strong relationships with my wife, family, or friends. It was around this time that I came across THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin. It was then that I decided to launch my own year long project towards personal happiness for the entire year of 2017.

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