Utica, N.Y. - More than 500 people signed up to take part in this year's 2018 Erie Canal Half : A Boilermaker Event, and 439 actually took part and finished Sunday morning in some very rainy conditions.
Race Director Jordan Peters says he was really happy with the turnout, considering the conditions. At times, along with the consistent rain, there were heavy downpours.
Participants could choose from either the half marathon, the 5K or the two person relay, which consisted of half of the half marathon with and exchange point for the two runners on each team near Lock 20 in Marcy.
The Erie Canal Kids' Run on Saturday was canceled due to the rain.
Peters calls runners here in the Mohawk Valley, 'tough', "These runners, they’ll run through anything, we’ve learned that. We'll run through anything other than lightning, that’s the only thing that could’ve canceled this race and we we were lucky to have avoided that today. These guys are diehards."
The races, which are all sponsored by Commercial Travelers Life Insurance Company in Utica, began on the north side of the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Whitesboro Street, and this year for the first time, they all ended inside the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Peters says the Boilermaker Road Race partnered with the Utica Comets to make this exciting new finish happen, "This is our dry off area, as well as a place to revel in their accomplishments and get there finisher's medal. We've got some Saranac products for sale, we really try to make this a Boilermaker-esque type of post race party, obviously not of that scale but we're trying to emulate that a little bit."
With Saturday's rainy conditions, a dry inside place to finish was welcome.
Women's half marathon winner Amy Roberson of Sauquoit loved the new venue. She says the conditions to run in were kind of rough, but she'll take them, "They weren't ideal, real rainy, I stepped and lots of giant puddles, but I think I’ll take it over the blazing heat, it’s kind of a tossup which is better."
Men's half marathon winner Geoffrey Hale of Utica also liked the new finish area. He says he has been training hard for the recent Boston Marathon, so he was ready for this half marathon.
Hale says he likes to train as often as he can and credits his co-workers and a former coach with getting him out and running this spring, "I had a coach in high school and his famous quote was, seven days without running, makes one weak."