Some of the sights at the iconic Utica Boilermaker Road Race are sensational. My vantage points the past two years - once on the back of the media truck a few yards ahead of the leaders and once dashing around in my car and on foot to catch glimpses of Beth in her annual run - afforded me some unique perspectives on an interesting cast of characters.

The pictures I snapped capture the essence of the people, places and facets of Utica's signature event.


Talented runners from across the globe, coming together in a city known for opening its doors to refugees. The first three females in 2016 were all Kenyans. No surprise. They don't appear to be even slightly winded, just seconds after finishing the race.

Credit: Dave Coombs, Townsquare Media

Wheelchair Athletes

It was truly amazing to see their fortitude and strength as they kept pace with the media truck at times.

Credit: Dave Coombs, Townsquare Media

Joyous and Healthy Participation

Nearly 15,000 registered runners take part. Here's my wife and co-host Beth, down the final stretch in 2015, looking only a bit more weary than the Kenyans.

Credit: Dave Coombs, Townsquare Media

Legendary Scribe John Pitarresi

The Hamilton College grad still pens Outdoors columns for the Utica Observer-Dispatch. He's written up every race, starting in 1978, right through 2016, when he sat next to me on the media truck...and laughed when I nearly fell out.

Credit: Dave Coombs, Townsquare Media

Ahhh, the Finish Line at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company
In this shot, a mass of participants complete their runs. The Kenyans at this point would already be showered and halfway home to Nairobi.

Credit: Dave Coombs, Townsquare Media

The Post-Race Party

Thousands of entrants meet up with thousands of spectators just beyond the finish line. Last time I ran in something like this was back in my college days and it involved a large quantity of alcohol.

Credit: Dave Coombs. Townsquare Media

Liquid Refreshments

My favorite part. These guys did have matching beer cans and grey running shoes, but maybe they were just posing as competitors. And, how comfortable could it be running in suits?

Credit: Dave Coombs, Townsquare Media

Can't wait to see the sights again this year. What are your favorite parts of the Boilermaker?