UTICA– It was almost a Brewery Party without the beer during Boilermaker 2006.
Thousands of runners, spectators, volunteers and Central New Yorkers attended the annual Price Chopper Post Race Party after the Boilermaker road race.
The event marked the end to a week full of special events and activities surrounding the 15K race.
The crowd was entertained by Western New York Band Nick and the Nice Guys.
The event also included a flyover by two military jets, fireworks and plenty of Saranac Beer.
The tradition of giving free beer to runners at the end of the annual Boilermaker race continued thanks to a special law passed the very week of the race.
Matt Brewing Company, which planned to give away 50-thousand glasses of beer at the event, took action after learning the tradition might infringe on the state law prohibiting beer sales before noon on Sundays.
The Utica-based company enlisted the help of the area's two state lawmakers, then-Republican Senator Raymond Meier and Democratic Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito.
Meier and Destito spirited a bill through the Legislatureexplicitly allowing the giveaway.
The Thursday before the race, then-Governor George Patakisigned the bill into law.
The road race became a bit of a political race with both candidates for Governor of New York at the time, John Faso (R), and State Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer (D).
Among the topics discussed was the controversial NYRi powerline project.
And the race was on.
Making up a 30 yard gap in the final mile, Sammy Rongo of passed Wilson Kiprotich to win the
2006 Utica Boilermaker Road Race. Rongo ran the 15 Kilometers in an unofficial 43:15.
The lead pack dropped off to a four man run just past the two mile mark. At about the halfway point, Kiprotich of Kenya seemed to enjoy a comfortable lead and was on track to threaten the Boilermaker course record of 42:54.
But, Kiprotich faltered in the final mile and Rongo, who was a steady second for most of the race, had enough left to pass Kiprotich on
Just like the elite men's portion of the 2006 Utica Boilermaker Road Race, the elite women's race was decided in the last mile in 2006.
Ethopian Gete Wami beat Susan Chepkemei to take the title.
A trio of top women finishers crossed the finish line in a close single file finish with Gete Wami leading the way. Wami of Ethiopia ran the course in an unofficial 49:30.
Susan Chepkemei of , who held the lead for most of the race, finished second. Jemima Jelagat of was the third place finisher.
Mendoza, a winner of the wheelchair division in several past Boilermakers, was strong again across the 15 kilometer distance. Hailed as one of the top Mexican athletes of the 20th century, Mendozanow races out of Wimberly, Texas. He missed the 2005 Boilermaker after posting back to back titles in 2003 and 2004.
A little more than 10,800 runners registered for the race, with 9,407 actually finishing.