When the Boilermaker Road Race starts, thousands of heart rates go up, including Jim Kennedy’s. He’s responsible for driving alongside the world’s fastest runners and it’s a job that requires a lot of concentration.
"I just can’t go full bore. I got to stay with the runners," Kennedy said. "A lot of times we like to be even with the runners. A lot of times we got to be out in front of them because the turns and stuff, so you’re feathering the clutch a lot and the hand gets a little tired at the end."
But there’s no time to think about how you’re feeling when you’re watching for potholes, grates, and debris in the road, and that’s just the beginning.
"I mean, I got to keep an eye, especially on the media trucks ahead of me, because like I said, they’ll slow up and I got to pay attention to them and I don’t run into them, but I also have to look in the mirrors at the runners to see how close they are to us because I don’t want to impede them. I don’t want to affect the race by getting in their way. You know that would be bad."
Being out in the open seems like it would be a nice cool ride, but think again.
"I’m only going in first gear the whole way, so the engine gets hot," Kennedy said. "You know everybody thinks it’s a nice cool ride, I’m not a runner, it’s not hot out, but the engine gets very hot and it’s fun, but it’s a job."
This job comes with rewards too. Unless you’re watching the Boilermaker on TV, there’s a whole lot you’re missing out on as a spectator or a runner.
"There’s a lot of sights along the way that we see. Some interesting things," Kennedy said. "You know there’s some characters out there and we see the reactions of the crowds."
The crowd reactions can be fun for everyone.
“You know, sometimes I pretend they’re cheering for me. I know they’re not, but it’s a lot of fun, and I’ve got the best view of the race. I watch the leaders the whole way and it’s a lot of fun."
So if you’re coming out to watch the Boilermaker on Sunday, be sure to cheer on Jim Kennedy. He’ll be working hard to provide the best race coverage on TV.
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