Overall Rating
Overall Rating (13 Reviews)
4.7
(13 Ratings) 🏆 (13 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.1
SCENERY
3.8
PRODUCTION
4.8
SWAG
3.5
The Boilermaker is dedicated to leading the healthy lifestyle movement through exercise and fun. In 1978, the Boilermaker began as a 15K road race with 876 runners. Held in Utica, New York, the gateway to the Adirondacks, it is today a week long extravaganza drawing thousands from all over the … MORE
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Recent reviews

    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '22

    I have been signed up to run this race since 2020 but had to defer it last year since the date conflicted with other plans and now that I finally … MORE

    I have been signed up to run this race since 2020 but had to defer it last year since the date conflicted with other plans and now that I finally had the chance to run it was dealing with an injury. There was no way I was missing this race so I took off a month of running before and planned to walk a lot of it knowing I would be undertrained. My dad was initially going to run the 15K with me but due to health issues had to drop to the 5K. The race director was very helpful and let him transfer distance even though it was past the transfer deadline when we found out he couldn’t do the 15K so I appreciated that. Utica is about a 2 hour drive from Rochester. As there is morning packet pick-up technically I didn’t need a hotel but I didn’t want to wake up that early. Plus my parents were driving about 4 hours from NH as my mom decided to walk the 5K as well. I stayed at the Days Inn in Utica it was fine but the price of hotels is really jacked up so it was more expensive than it should have been but still in my price range. There is an expo at the local community college but again there is also race day packet pick-up. We went to the expo. It was a good sized expo. Similar to some of the medium size marathon races I have done such as Buffalo or Little Rock and probably the biggest expo I’ve been to for a race shorter than a half marathon. There were lots of booth and one had the cutest little therapy puppy to pet. Bib pickup was relatively. Bibs were assigned before hand and you lined up by alphabet but the person with the bibs had trouble finding the bib for the person ahead of me. Along with bib, the swag item was a glass with the race name. Generally I’d prefer a shirt, but they did not advertise shirt and just said there would be swag item so it is fine. There were additional shirts you can purchase. I also forgot to bring my handheld water bottle so bought one at the expo. Race morning is a bit confusing as it is a point to point race. I parked near the finish and took a shuttle to the start. This was smooth. My biggest issue with the start line is how the porta potties were lined up. They were kind of a square with an opening and not a line and the line was just chaotic with people going everywhere and stopped moving and I wasn’t sure I would make it before the start and found some bushes. There were lots of people using bushes. This should be fixed. Otherwise startline well organized with corrals by pace and went off relatively fast but spaced enough so it wasn’t too crowded. It is still quite crowded so don’t expect a PR and it is very hilly. The first half of the course is almost all uphill. It goes through a park some neighborhoods and then a golf course. Finally you reach the zoo and go downhill. The second half is mostly downhill with some rollers. My initial plan was to walk the uphill and run the downhill but being very undertrained walking all the uphill took a lot out of me so I ended up run-walking the downhill which was probably better for my foot anyways. It was also hot. Not oppressively hot but in the high 70s/low 80s and hotter than ideal running condition. The course is moderately scenic with pretty park and neighborhood views but what really makes it special is the spectators. This race had as many spectators as any half or full marathon I’ve done. It probably actually has the most spectators per mile as there were really no long stretches without them. If you like an exciting, high energy race, this is great. There were very frequent aid stations but one minor complaint is they just had water and ice and no electrolyte drink or gels. The only nutrition I got on the course was from spectators giving out ice pops. Since I was mostly speed walking it was fine but if I were really pushing myself I know I would have felt it. If I do this race again healthy I will definitely bring chews or gels with electrolytes. The finish line was nice but I did notice they were just starting to tear things down. There is a 2:30 time limit and while I was very slow today as expected I was over 10 minutes under the time limit. There were a lot of people walking with me so it was fine being slower during the race. The finish chute is super long maybe it needed to be that long for the middle of the pack but seemed excessive. You also get your medal. The medal is nice. It is a little smaller than the typical half medal which seems appropriate and had a nice design celebrating the 45th anniversary of the race. My parents got a pin for their 5K. They had water and chocolate milk in the chute. One other minor critique is all the food was at the finish party. I was starving as I didn’t eat breakfast since I didn’t want stomach issues and there was no nutrition on course. The post race party was jam packed and it took forever to find and get food which was mostly chips and cookies. There were a few other things but I didn’t want to wait in too many lines. I personally though the post race party was too crowded. I never have been a huge fan of crowds and having not been in crowds for over 2 years I like them even less but if you like crowded parties this race it for you. After grabbing the food I met my parents and we left for lunch. After the race we visited the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown about 55 minutes from Utica if you are looking for things to do if you are traveling to the race. While I didn’t love the hills, this had one of the best race atmospheres of any event I’ve done and I will definitely do it again if it works with my schedule.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    sdalessio FIRST-TIMER '21

    This was the first time I'd run this race and the only time it will be in the fall. Normally it is in July so much warmer. I also heard … MORE

    This was the first time I’d run this race and the only time it will be in the fall. Normally it is in July so much warmer. I also heard they usually give pins at the finish and not medals which repeat runners collect.

    Swag was ok – shirt cost extra but they had lots of cool merchandise at the expo. Medal for this year was nice and a nice soft hand towel at the end. Free beer (seemingly bottomless cup) and plenty of grocery store snacks at the end as in some people filled up banana boxes with snacks. LOL

    The best part of this race is crowd support. I went to the race with friends and we ran together. But every step of the way there were locals cheering, showcasing a local site of interest like the Utica Zoo or Utica College. There were 14 water stops more than miles in the race and wall to wall people. Definitely a fun atmosphere, lots of local Djs and other music. Even though we ran slow, the race flew by.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    drrobert909 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    Can’t say enough about this race. The city of Utica shows so much support for all of the runners. The expo is big city marathon quality. There are spectators throughout … MORE

    Can’t say enough about this race. The city of Utica shows so much support for all of the runners. The expo is big city marathon quality. There are spectators throughout the entire course cheering you on and partying. Plenty of water stations with cold Ice to help you during the usually hot weather. The race ends at the Saranac Brewery and the after party is huge. The only negative is there is no shirt unless you buy one. Instead of a medal they give you a pin…I have enough medals anyway.

    Recommend this race to everyone.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    slm4508 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    The amount of spectators for this race is ALWAYS amazing! So much support throughout the whole run! Tons of people - Lots of participation. MORE

    The amount of spectators for this race is ALWAYS amazing! So much support throughout the whole run! Tons of people – Lots of participation.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    1
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    lafavesb FIRST-TIMER '19

    This race is a very large 15k with a lot of people from around the world competing. Many locals show up to support all of the runners and there is … MORE

    This race is a very large 15k with a lot of people from around the world competing. Many locals show up to support all of the runners and there is never an area on the course where someone is not cheering you on. There are also many water stations along the course and free beer at the finish line with live music.

    Downside, you likely won’t PR, there are so many people that it is difficult to run your own pace. There should also be more port a Johns before the only decent hill on the course.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    abauer02 FIRST-TIMER '19

    I love how the town really participates and cheers us all on for this event. Lots of support, music at every corner, refreshments, Popsicles, and animals from the local zoo … MORE

    I love how the town really participates and cheers us all on for this event. Lots of support, music at every corner, refreshments, Popsicles, and animals from the local zoo to help keep us all motivated! Everyone is so energetic and awesome to run with. Great after party!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    KWatts13 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This race is great because of the community support. Throughout the entire race there are groups of people cheering you on which just makes the race special. There are more … MORE

    This race is great because of the community support. Throughout the entire race there are groups of people cheering you on which just makes the race special. There are more than enough water stations which is greatly appreciated as it seems like it is always the hottest day of the year for this race! The course itself is a little tough because of the “giant hill” and the number of runners. It was difficult to get a good pace because there are just so many people to weave in and out of.

    The atmosphere and after party are what sets this race apart from any other race. You will not find a better after party than this at Saranac Brewery.

    The organization and communication of the race was spectacular as well.

    The only thing I would change is instead of receiving a little pin, I wish we would get medals instead but besides that everything is incredible!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    2

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    neon8919 REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This race is held every July, and is a road race with the majority of the course in full sun. It is meant to be hot, humid, and grueling. 2019 … MORE

    This race is held every July, and is a road race with the majority of the course in full sun. It is meant to be hot, humid, and grueling.

    2019 was my second time doing it, and I was lucky with the weather again. It was beautiful race weather!

    The race itself is sponsored by the local brewery, which is awesome. I am from the Central New York area, and this race reminds we what is good about it.

    21 water/ice stops along the 9.3 mile course, PLUS course support from the community handing out popsicles, more ice, and the occasional beer.

    The crowd support this year was not as good as last year, but it definitely was still great.

    I was in the Green corral, which felt SOOOOO crowded for the first 4 miles, it wasn’t until I got through the golf course did I actually feel like I was running at my pace and gait.

    The course crowding is definitely my only complaint.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    The course itself starts with gradual uphills and downhills before a challenging and somewhat steeper climb around a golf course (mile 3-4 or so). Next is an even longer stretch … MORE

    The course itself starts with gradual uphills and downhills before a challenging and somewhat steeper climb around a golf course (mile 3-4 or so). Next is an even longer stretch back down onto a relatively flat parkway. Around this point, spectators are lining pretty much both sides of the street. Just after mile 6 is the last significant climb, this one over the Burrstone bridge. Shortly after you make the next turn, the final 2 miles head back downhill towards the finish. There is plenty of water, ice, and sprinklers if you need to cool off.

    The finish line is divided into two sections that lead into the post-race corral, with both leading a pretty long stretch toward the post-race party. Be sure to grab water, chocolate milk, fruit, or ice cream that they’re handing out.

    At the party, runners 21+ get free beer from the Saranac brewery. As part of the race swag, you get a Saranac glass commemorating the race. Shirts and other gear are available on the race website or at the packet pickup expo for purchase.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    RevKay REPEAT RUNNER '18

    This is a classic race. I ran it 13 years ago and could wait to run it again. Will be running this summer (2019). Well organized. Very tough uphill segment, … MORE

    This is a classic race. I ran it 13 years ago and could wait to run it again. Will be running this summer (2019). Well organized. Very tough uphill segment, but worth it. Great spectator support.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    jessica.jones REPEAT RUNNER '18

    The entire vibe and feeling around the Boilermaker is electric! From Prerace activties the days before the run, to the crowds of spectators along the course, to the after party, … MORE

    The entire vibe and feeling around the Boilermaker is electric! From Prerace activties the days before the run, to the crowds of spectators along the course, to the after party, this is one hell of a race!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    silvia.runs.meows REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I hope you make this a bucket list race if not a repeat race. The course is challenging, and the weather often makes it more challenging because it is often … MORE

    I hope you make this a bucket list race if not a repeat race. The course is challenging, and the weather often makes it more challenging because it is often hot, but there are popsicles, 20 water stations for 15k, and beer from spectators in some spots on the course. The energy on the course is comparable to that of big marathons (with a little bit of a down time at mile 4 to 5 on the biggest hill, but there are still spectators at the top) and you will be excited at the finish to have unlimited beer. Hydrate well and do some 4-5% incline hill runs to prepare for mile 4 and 7 of this course. I’ve run 1:23 in 2016 when it was cool and misty and I’m excited to come back every year and try to beat it. My current PR is 1:16 (on a hilly course in december) and nothing would make me happier than matching it on the renowned Boilermaker course! Plan to be dropped off at the start for easiest race day because parking is not easy and you’d have to go before 5 am to park.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    LisaMMallery Mar 20, 2019 at 11:53am

    I love this race. The towns people are amazing , they are along the entire route cheering us on. Offering Popsicles, ice and water. There are bands almost every mile.… MORE

    I love this race. The towns people are amazing , they are along the entire route cheering us on. Offering Popsicles, ice and water. There are bands almost every mile. It is a true community event. LESS

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    anawoj REPEAT RUNNER '03

    Having run the Utica Boilermaker 15k many times, I keep coming back every year because it's such a fun race. The highlights would be the crowd support and the post-race … MORE

    Having run the Utica Boilermaker 15k many times, I keep coming back every year because it’s such a fun race. The highlights would be the crowd support and the post-race party at the Saranac Brewery. For a non-marathon race, the Boilermaker 15k has some of the best crowd support I have seen… lots of bands, spectators, and aid stations line the 9.3 mile course (most of the local community comes out to watch). There’s a pretty big hill between miles 3 and 4 but also some good downhill stretches along the way. Crowds are five people deep for the last quarter mile leading up to the finish line… then you get directed to a huge parking lot behind the Saranac Brewery where they serve unlimited beer to runners wearing a bib and have several live bands and entertainment. They use to have an F-16 flyover while they sung the national anthem at the post-race party, but unfortunately, that has been cancelled… they did so a small plane flyover in 2014, though. The “swag” for this race is really the Boilermaker beer glass and the finisher’s pin at the end… not a ton compared to what you get in a marathon, but it’s a 15k after all.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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