Thomas Hovey, designer of Boilermaker Road Race course, dies at 91

A multi-sport standout athlete, and 'father' of the Boilermaker Road Race course, died on Nov. 5 at age of 91. He is a member of the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame.

Posted: Nov 11, 2020 8:22 PM

WKTV - Thomas Hovey II, known as the 'father' of the Boilermaker Road Race, died at age 91 at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown on Nov. 5.

Born on October 3, 1929, Hovey grew up in Worcester, Massachussetts before moving to the Mohawk Valley as an adult to work for the General Electric Company in Utica, and later Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome.

In his athletic career, he was renowned for his abilities in distance running, golf and, later, speedskating.

He was responsible for the measuring and designing the Boilermaker 15k Road Race course through the city of Utica prior to its inaugural race in 1978. He also lead the charge in the Boilermaker obtaining its USATF (United States of America Track & Field) certification.

Completing its 43rd year, albeit held virtually in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Boilermaker is now the largest 15k road race in the nation with over 14,000 runners participating each year.

Hovey was also a Boilermaker winner in his age group, and won five marathons while completing over 70 marathons throughout his career.

He also won two national cross-country championships in the 1980's.

As a golfer, Hovey established course records at seven golf courses across New York State and Massachusetts.

He was a two-time winner of the Greater Utica Men's Open at Valley View Golf Club, at age 37 in 1967 and at age 52, in the senior division, in 1982.

Hovey also served as the assistant golf coach at Hamilton College.

His final act as an athletic participant brought him to the international stage as he qualified for the 1987 Senior Olympics at Lake Placid for speedskating.

He competed in the 400-meter and 1500-meter races and earned a silver medal in the 1500-meter.

Hovey was inducted into the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, as an athlete and promoter.

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