The 2021 Utica Boilermaker Road Race takes place on Sunday and while you watch the runners pass by, keep an eye out for the wheelchair racers!

Every year, I marvel at these awe-inspiring athletes, making their way along the 9.3-mile course in a racing wheelchair.

But the Sitrin Wheelchair Challenge takes it to another level.

A custom-built racing wheelchair is awarded to a Boilermaker participant who completes the 15K race in a standard wheelchair in under 2 hours and 15 minutes.

This year's Sitrin Wheelchair Challenge participant is Erin Schick, a social worker from Chester, NY in Orange County.

"I am applying to be the 2021 Sitrin Challenger because I am confident I am capable of achieving this goal. I believe that with an adaptive sports chair I can continue to seek greater strength and empowerment through exercise for many years to come. I look forward to the challenge," said Schick.

Schick completed the 2020 Long Beach 4 Mile Snowflake Race and the 2020 Virtual Boilermaker 15K.

Here's a look at the rest of the Boilermaker Wheelchair entrants:

Hermin Garic – Hermin was born in Bosnia but moved to Utica at an early age.  He was a Sitrin Wheelchair Challenger in 2005 and has been racing, and improving, every year since.  His rigorous training regimen has helped him rise to an elite level domestically and he competes in races across the country.  He has many victories on his record from 5k up to a marathon.  He recently (9/25/21) set the course record at the Cooper River Bridge race 10K in Charleston, SC, and the next day won the Falling Leaves 5k race in Utica.  After this year’s Boilermaker, Hermin will head to Boston to participate in the Marathon on October 11.

Stephanie Woodward – Stephanie is from Rochester, NY.  She was a Sitrin Challenger in 2019 and finished at 1:32:27, fast enough to win a custom-built racing wheelchair.  She has participated in other races since getting her chair in 2019, although opportunities in 2020 were very minimal.  She is returning this year to improve upon her time and to race alongside her husband, Ryan Chalmers.

Ryan Chalmers – Ryan is a seasoned racer and former Paralympian competing in races from 400 meters to the marathon.  He was a member of the powerhouse University of Illinois track and field team.  He’s completed multiple times in the Boilermaker.  Perhaps his greatest athletic achievement was his “Push Across America” in 2013 wherein he pushed in his chair from LA to NYC.  He currently resides in Rochester, NY.

The start time for the Boilermaker Wheelchair Race is 8:00.

WIBX's live coverage of the 44th running of the Boilermaker will begin at 7:30 Sunday morning.

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