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Heat, humidity causes biggest issue at 2013 Boilermaker

By GARY LIBERATORE

BOILERMAKER 2013 (WKTV) - Officials say the 2013 Boilermaker race went smooth, except for some higher than normal number of people suffering from the heat.

At a press conference held Monday morning, officials called it a year of positives, despite the heat. They said the issue going into the weekend-long event was safety, in light of what happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, now three months ago as of Monday.

However, race officials in Utica say that with the work of 20 different local, state and county police agencies, not only being front and center, but behind the scenes as well, everything went off without a hitch. They say everyone listened and did not bring backpacks or coolers. So the number of times police and their police dogs were searching things was kept to a minimum, and they could focus their eyes and ears elsewhere.

The issue that turned out to be the one with the biggest impact was the weather on Sunday morning.

Right after the beginning of the 5k, the cloud coverage went away and the humidity went way up. A total of 287 people had to be treated at the Boilermaker medical tent.

Many other runners suffered some sort of health ailments but did not go to the tent to get treatment. With that in mind, the actual number of people affected by the heat may be a lot higher.

The 287 patients in the medical tent this year was a full 100 more seen than last year. It is not the largest of all time (a record set in 2007), when officials say it was even more humid and more than 550 people sought treatment.

Boilermaker Medical Director Dr. John Detraglia says the medical tent became quite busy on Sunday with many new runners, "I think this year, just as a general rule, people were not in the best shape they could be in. I think part of it was, we didn't have really good running weather the month or so before the race. I think that conditioning is key, and I've always encouraged people if they don't think they're ready, don't run the race."

Boilermaker Executive Director Tim Reed says despite the heat issues, the race overall, was a huge success.

Reed says with all of the extra attention on safety this year, he feels that will only help in the years to come, "I think it's going to serve us very very well in regards to, not necessarily even talking about an incident like Boston, but if we were talking about a meteorological event, or a fire, if we were talking about any of those things that could effect the course in any way, shape or manner, we were in much, much better shape in 2013 than we were in 2012."

Reed added, all of the hard work paid off, "I had said prior to April 15th (the day of the Boston Marathon bombing) , this was going to be the toughest race we were going to do, just because of the amount of stuff that we were doing that we were going to have to handle. And then having April 15th occur and everything that we had to do to react to that obviously made it much more difficult."

During Monday morning's press conference, Reed applauded not only the Boilermaker security staff, but the 20 local, county and state law enforcement agencies that made this 36th Boilermaker just as safe as the first 35.

Utica Police Captain Wayne Manolescu, who played a big role in organizing the security for Sunday's race, also spoke Monday morning.

He says this was definitely a good weekend, "It's a big learning block for us to move forward. We're hoping that all of these assets are going to be there again in the future and now we know where we have to tweak things to make it run a little bit better."

Boilermaker Race Director Jim Stasaitis says some logistical things may have to be improved upon for next year, including changing the parking situation at the Kids Run on Saturday at the Masonic Care Community, and also taking a look at the way deferrals are handled.

A deferral means if a runner gives enough warning, they can back out of the race and use their registration fee for the next time they register to run.

Stasaitis says there were way too many deferrals this year, "You don't know cousin Suzy is getting married, we just got the invitation, ok we can't make it that weekend. Ok, so we give everybody a chance to defer until next year, but this year we really got slammed this year, almost 1000 deferrals between the 15-K and the 5-K races, so we have to look at that."

Stasaitis says anyone who did get a deferral has to register again before the race is closed out next year, just like everyone else.

He says no decision has been made on when registration will open for the 2014 Boilermaker.

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