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First ever Boolermaker draws more than 400 kids

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Boilermaker officials are busy all year long preparing for the biggest annual event in Utica, but this year they took time out to hold another race, the first ever Boolermaker Halloween Kids Run.

It was held at the Masonic Care Community, which used to host the Friday and Saturday events during Boilermaker weekend, but because of inclement weather during recent years, the Friday and Saturday events were moved to M.V.C.C. where there is a very large indoor space at the Robert R. Jorgensen Athletic and Events Center.

Masonic Care Community Executive Director Rob Raffle said he was thrilled when Boilermaker officials asked him if Masonic would get involved once again and host this first ever Boolermaker.

Raffle even had his own young kids get involved on Saturday and says the message of this event is a good one, "Teaching them wellness, the importance of staying fit, taking care of themselves eating well, and also getting to wear costumes and getting to run a little it."

Boilermaker Director of Special Events Judy Ingalls says when the idea was floated around for such an event, everyone in the Boilermaker family jumped on hand quick, "There's a lot of talk about childhood obesity, so the theme is 'Getting fit doesn't have to be scary".

Just like the Boilermaker, the Boolermaker has a health and fitness expo of its own.

Besides having people talk to kids about good nutrition and exercise, representatives of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Oneida County Sheriff's Department were on hand doing child id fingerprinting and talking to kids about safety.

Ingalls says the message of safety is a good one this time of year with trick-or-treating coming up, "it's dark, kids are out in costumes, we just want to make sure they are safe and not talking to strangers."

Kids were also given healthy snacks and some local dentists handed out floss and toothbrushes.

The Utica Zoomobile was set up and there was plenty of facepainting, which many of the youngsters took part in.

Ingalls says more than 400 kids took part in this event she says will now take place each year.

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