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The Times
Tim Reed, executive director of the Boilermaker 15K Road Race, shares all things running-related.
Boilermaker Strong
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About this blog
By Tim Reed
Tim Reed is executive director of the annual Boilermaker 15K Road Race in Utica, N.Y.
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Aug. 7, 2014 6:30 p.m.
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June 26, 2014 3:05 p.m.
April 18, 2014 11:15 a.m.

On April 15th 2013, at 2:45 pm, two bombs ripped through the packed finish line crowd of the 117th Boston Marathon killing 3 and injuring over 250 others. Over 27 hospitals were involved in treating the casualties that bore injuries akin to being found in a warzone. Sixteen people would become amputees; three losing both legs. Now, a year later, we have seen the countless stories of sadness and resilience of those whose lives were permanently altered on that Monday afternoon on Boylston Street.

The Boilermaker has always had a strong affinity with the Boston Marathon; many of the shining stars of Boston (Rodgers, Switzer, Beardsley, Samuelson) are featured in the National Distance Running Hall of Fame. Many of our local runners have over the years run what is perhaps the most iconic race on the planet. After the bombings we sold Boston Boilermaker shirts and sent 100% of the proceeds (over $10,000) to the One Fund set up to support the victims.

My belief is that every tragedy can often come the seeds of inspiration.

This cruel winter brought with it more than bitter temperatures it created a severe blood shortage in our community. People simply stayed home rather than braving the sub-Arctic weather to give blood. As a result we are over 200 units behind where we should be. While not as overtly dangerous as a pressure cooker bomb this shortage can, unexpectedly devastate a life or lives. Imagine a family member is in a car accident and their blood type wasn’t available? As the saying goes:’ tears of a mother cannot save her child. But your blood can.”

What a cool gift blood donation- your body just creates more to replace what you gave. How often in our lives are we given the chance to give a gift that costs us nothing (OK a small pinch and 30 minutes of our ‘precious’ time) but is priceless to another human?

So how bad do you want to want to run the race?

Everyone who either gives at the April 25th drive at the Radisson Centre from 11:00am-4:00 pm, will receive a vintage Boilermaker pint glass (give a pint get a pint glass). In addition (drum roll please) we will be giving away two free entries to get into this year’s sold out race! The free entry is good for either the 15k or 5k races. I know there were one or two local runners out there who didn’t get into the race as I received a number of emails from disappointed runners. We will only be able to take 60 units of blood so while walk ins are welcome it would be best to call 1 800 Red Cross and schedule an appointment.

If this race has proved anything it is that this community has a remarkable, seemingly unlimited, capacity to give. Hopefully the same person who gives a cup of water to person they don’t know on Boilermaker Sunday is willing to give a pint of blood to someone they don’t know on April 25th.

Hey, blood is like the Jelly of the Month Club made famous in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; it really is the gift that keeps on giving!

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