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Boilermaker Road Race returns: Mekonnen sets record; Romanchuk wins again

Posted 7/10/22

The 45th Boilermaker has set down its 2022 winners.

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Boilermaker Road Race returns: Mekonnen sets record; Romanchuk wins again


The Boilermaker Road Race returned to its traditonal second Sunday in July in Utica and didn't disappoint. 

The winner set a fast pace in the 45th Boilermaker, which featured sunny and cool weather with low humidity. When the race started at 8 a.m., temperatures were close to the low-60s.

The elite racers also returned and Jemal Yimer Mekonnen set the standard, winning the 9.3-mile race in a blazing time of 42 minutes, 38 seconds.

That's a record, according to the Boilermaker website. The previous race record was 42:40. That record was set in 1996 by Joseph Kimani.

Mekonnen, a 25-year-old Ethopian, who was coming of a third-place finish at Peachtree Road Race Monday in Atlanta, also earned $7,000 in prize money for his Boilermaker victory. 

Mekonnen finished just ahead of 29-year-old friend Edwin Kimutai, of Kenya, (42:39) as the pair battled back and forth for much of the race. Sam Chelanga, who was born in Kenya but lives in the United States and was a late addition to the race, finished third as the top American in 43:09. 

The women's winner was Rosemary Wanjiru, who jumped out to the lead at the start and finished in 48:53. 

She claimed $7,000 for her Boilermaker win. Because she was the 2019 Bloomdsay winner, she also claimed a $10,000 Super Bonus as part of the Professional Road Racing Organization (PRRO) circuit championship. 

Veronicah Nyaru Wanjiru was second in 49:14. Mary Munanu was third (49:30). 

Wheelchair winners

Daniel Romanchuk, 23, of Champagne, Illinois, took first overall in the Wheelchair division with a time of 31 minutes and 33 seconds, according to unofficial results.

That surpasses his old record in the Boilermaker of 31:45 from 2018. 

The standout wheelchair athlete -- who has piled up wins at various races in recent years -- won the Boilermaker for the fifth time. 

He's one of three to win the Boilermaker wheelchair division five times. 

Utica's Hermin Garic — last year's winner  — finished second with a time of 35:25.

Jenna Fesemyer, 25, also of Champagne, Illinois, placed first in the woman's division with a time of 43:01. She was also first in the 2019 race. 

Philadelphia resident Emilia Perry, 29, followed with a time of 48 minutes and 18 seconds.

Jenna Fesemyer, 25, also Illinois, was first in the women's wheelchair division with a time 43:01.

That surpasses her time when she won in 2019 in 43:07.

5K winners

Michael Hennelly, 22, of Suffern came in first overall in the Utica 5K National at 16 minutes and 4 seconds. Tricia Longo, 32, of Waterford, placed first in the woman's division with a time of 17 minutes and 49 seconds.

To see more Daily Sentinel coverage of the 45th Boilermaker, visit:


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