Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Utica, New York: Distance Running Hall of Fame

It's difficult not to see a Hall of Fame when visiting Central New York. Utica decided to get into the act when it opted to host the Distance Running Hall of Fame.

Why distance running? Utica hosts the Boilermaker race, a 15-kilometer event that attracts runners from all over the world. It's the biggest party weekend of the year for Utica, and so there's a good connection. As you can see on the sign in front of the Hall, the countdown to the next Boilermaker is already on. (The race has its offices on the third and fourth floor.)

Alas, like the Volleyball Hall in Holyoke, this facility obviously suffers from a lack of funds. We stopped in when driving by Utica on the New York State Thruway on a Friday afternoon. There is a little on-street parking in the area, but once we found a spot and walked to the Hall, we discovered it was closed. Oops. Guess the picture will have to do.

I've been in it before, though. There's the mandatory gift shop in the front, plus exhibits on inductees, Nike, and Bill Bowerman, the legendary Oregon coach. It's certainly of interest to runners, but doesn't take long to get through.

By the way, the same financial problems almost mark the website. Either there have been no inductees since 2006, or someone is asleep at the switch because that was the last update. (To be fair, in another section of the site a couple of more classes of inductees are mentioned in news releases.) The hours of operations aren't posted either.

This is a good idea, especially with the Boilermaker around, but it could use a nice big sponsor to help out. The Hall is reportedly looking for a new location, one with more space and a closer location to the big race itself.  Here's hoping the search succeeds.

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