Utica – New York’s most popular road race took place on Sunday, July 8 with runners from around the world descending on Utica for the 35th running of the Utica Boilermaker 15km, which is one of the largest 15km races in the United States. The overall men’s winner was Tilahun Regassa, of Ethiopia, who broke away from the rest of the top runners and cruised to a 32-second victory with a time of 43:01. The women’s winner was Mamitu Daska, of Ethiopia, who won by 18 seconds over Risper Gesabwa, of Kenya, with a time of 49:26.
The top local area runners were Mark Andrews and Audra Naujokas-Knapp both from Rocheste. Andrews finished 23rd overall and was the 2nd fastest masters runners with a time of 49:36. Only Viachelsav Shabunin, of Russia, who finished with a time of 48:39, was a faster master’s runner.
“The race was painful,” Andrews said. “Early in the race I got passed by a group of runners which included Shabunin, and a few minutes later another group came up on me. I decided try and hang on and to tuck behind that group and run with them.”
Andrews, now 41, has had a tough year fighting nagging Achilles tendon issues.
“My Achilles was hurting during the race, and it was a very humid day out there,” he said. “The conditions were just tough today.”
Andrews hung tough and earned $1000 for his 2nd place masters finish, which was an improvement from last year when Andrews finished 3rd.
Audra Naujokas-Knapp finished 36 overall for women and was the 5th fastest master’s runner, earning her $200.
“The race hurt from the start,” Naujokas-Knapp said. “I have run this race over 10 times, and this was probably one of the toughest years.”
Naujokas-Knapp, who coaches the Brockport High School Cross Country and Track and Field teams, recently won the masters title at the Father’s Day Medved ALS 5km Race with a time of 18:52.
“Usually I can use the first 5km of the race to warm up before I really start racing, but today it was hard from the start,” she said. “The humidity just made it very difficult to breath.”
The top Americans runners were Tuscon, Ariz., resident Ian Burrell, who finished 11th overall with a time of 46:08, and Kathleen DiCamillo, of Providence, R.I., who finished 7th among women with a time of 51:24. Fred Joslyn of East Syracuse – who has frequented the Rochester racing scene, winning the 2010 Johnny’s Running of the Green, finishing 3rd at the Bergen 5km last year and recently finishing in the top 10 of the Medved Lilac 10km – finished 16th with a time of 47:20. Colin Leak of Syracuse, who is Joslyn’s teammate on Stotan Racing, finished 13th in a time of 46:20.
Maegan Krifchin, who won Rochester’s Medved Lilac 10km in May and also recently placed 2nd overall for women at the USA National Half Marathon Championships, was entered in the 15km race on Sunday but did not finish due to the hot conditions. Krifchin decided to be cautious, having injuring herself a couple of weeks ago. Krifchin finished 4th overall and as the Top American at last year’s Boilermaker 15km.
Rochester native Jeffrey Eggleston who now lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., traveled back to his home state of New York for the race but also didn’t finish well due to the hot and muggy conditions.
“I felt awful out there,” he said. “At times I felt like I was having a heart attack out there I just could not breathe.”
Eggleston trains at altitude in Flagstaff or in Tuscon where there is little humidity, and the different conditions in this part of the country can have a different effect on runners.
“Sometimes athletes who travel to different climates, their body reacts differently,” explained Jeff Yorke, who represents Shadrack Kosgei who finished 3rd overall with a time of 43:36 and Linus Chumba who finished 6th overall with a time of 44:38. “Some of these athletes who ran today that aren’t use to running in humidity have adapted to the climate because a lot of the top athletes today have been racing on the east coast recently such as the Peach Tree 10km.”
The Peach Tree 10km is a race that is held on July 4th in Atlanta, GA and is the world’s largest 10km race that attracts over 60,000 runners.
Former Suny Geneseo Cross Country standout Lee Berube finished in 19th place with a time of 47:58 at Sundays Boilermaker. Berube was an All American in Cross Country and Track & Field and finished 2nd at the Division III National Championships in November 2011.
The top Livingston County resident was Bryan Rose, of Honeoye Falls, who finished 599th with a time of 1:06:12.
The race had 14663 finishers between the 15km and a 5km, which was held 45minutes prior to the start of the 15km.