The Bolder Boulder is one of those races that if you are a runner in Colorado, you have to go to this event. It’s the biggest running event in Colorado and voted America’s Favorite 10k! It’s, I want to say, the 3rd largest 10k in the country. Don’t quote me on that though.
It’s just a great event all around – and that’s saying a lot from me because with over 50,000 people, I don’t usually like being stuck in a crowd that large! But no matter if you’re a competitive runner, casual, social, or a walker, this race is perfect.
For that many people, you must have a wave system, and they do it perfectly. It’s always well-organized and tons of volunteers to help. They have a great transportation system in place (recruiting the local buses to help out), and a huge expo at the end.
The course is kinda difficult; pretty hilly and lots of turns, but it’s manageable. There is entertainment the whole way with bands, belly dancers, gymnastics, houses with slip and slides, beer, jello shots, bacon, cupcakes, and Doritos.
But the best part is when you finish in the stadium. With a quarter-mile left, you run up a steep, short hill and end up in Folsom Field, where the CU Buffalos throw a football around. There’s a ton of people in there and you make a horseshoe finish, with the sounds of everyone cheering for you! It’s an amazing and empowering moment.
The Bolder Boulder is also all about Memorial Day. There is a big Memorial Day celebration after the race finishes and elites have gone with a fly over, para gliders dropping in to the stadium and more!
This is the 5th time I have run the Bolder Boulder, but not 5 years in a row, I skipped one somewhere in there…
In 2010, I ran it with my dear friend, Joanna. In 2011, I ran it with a guy I was dating at the time. 2012, I returned by myself after I started Racing the States and crushed all my previous times with a 53:03. I skipped the race in 2013 when finances were tight. I returned last year when I got a free race entry from 3W Races for running as an Ambassador and lolli-gagged around the course to finish in 55 min.
This year, I returned. Another free entry from 3W Races, and I crushed my previous course record of 53:03 to kill it with a 51:53!
I debated between running it for fun and taking part of all the free jello shots and slip and slides, but decided to try for a PR. After all, I did PR on this course in reverse at the Heart and Sole 10k last year. Although, I was looking for a PR today, I told myself I would settle for a Course PR. And that’s just fine with me. This course is hard! This year, with a decently fast qualifying time, I got to register for wave EB, a 7:15am start. The first wave starts around 6:55am, I think, and EB is the EARLIEST I have every gotten to start, which means slightly fewer people on the course to dodge!
I started off conservatively, with the idea of finishing strong. I felt really strong for the first half. I slowed a bit with the hill at the midway point, but with 2 miles remaining, I picked it back up and felt incredibly strong, flying by people. It was right within the last quarter-mile, that I described above, that I was struggling, and tried to give it all I had.
I very happy with how it played out. After visiting with a ton of friends and some of the kids I coached at Green Mountain that also ran the race, I jumped over to the expo where the company I work for had a booth set up. Seeing how busy it was, I jumped in to help and hand out some prizes for the spinning wheel.
Exhausted after tearing down the booth once all the racers left, I was driven back to my car and straight home to my couch! I was super tired!
If you live in Colorado and haven’t done the Bolder Boulder, you should give it a whirl. If you are looking for a great destination race, it’s worth the trip, even though it’s only a 10k!