UTICA - More than 200 first-time Boilermaker runners have crossed the finish line thanks to the WKTV Go The Distance program under the direction of Coach Joe Wilczynski. The program celebrates 20 years this year. Each year, the Go The Distance Committee selects ten first-time 15K runners to participate in a 12 week training course. These people come from all walks of life, each with a special story.
Sue Wilczynski, Joe's wife, is the Go The Distance Hydration Technician. She will tell you that the first year she was the only water stop. Now, past runners have come back to volunteer and help where they can. Go The Distance now has a water stop at nearly every mile along the Boilermaker Course during training.
"It wasn't as developed as it is now. That's why I'm out here (on the course) doing it because I appreciated it so much when we did have a water stop," says Rose Butler, Class of 2006.
If they aren't handing out water, others have come back to run with the team.
"This group helps and instills confidence, the energy and the idea that you can do this," Dr. Marc Ritter, Member of the first Go The Distance team.
"This is Joe. This is Joe The Distance! These people are so important to him. Every single one of them. It doesn't matter if they've run with him for 20 years or 5 years of last week, it doesn't matter. He tries to take care of everybody," says Sue.