One of the toughest Boulder natives is heading over the hill. This year marks the big 4-0 for the Bolder Boulder.
This 10K race is one of Boulder’s most famous annual events, drawing about 50,000 runners and 100,000 more spectators. It’s more than just people running. The Bolder Boulder is a citywide celebration, with live music and performers along the course, wild costumes, health-centric vendors, a tribute to veterans and more.
And it’s even more exciting this year, in celebration of its 40th year. The whole thing goes down on Memorial Day, May 28.
The catch? This year’s celebration will be a surprise party — for the participants.
“We have a few really cool things planned that we’re not sharing that people should be excited about,” says Stephanie Winslow, marketing communications manager for the race. “Some will be a surprise on race day to participants.”
And no, she won’t even give a hint.
OK, she will share some of the highlights, but not the big climax. First, you can expect a lot of BolderBoulder legends to return this year: former pro racers, staff, employees and people who made it what it is today.
This year’s race also has an extra special Memorial Day tribute to honor people who lost their lives in service. Race organizers are bringing in three veterans of the 10th Mountain Division to tell the stories of those who are gone. Two of the service people served in the division after World War II, and the third joined the division in the ‘80s and served in Desert Storm. Both of the WWII veterans had long careers skiing and were inducted into the Colorado Skiing Hall of Fame.
The pro race this year is extremely competitive, says Winslow. Everyone’s eyes will be on runner Mamitu Daska, who has won five BolderBoulder races. If she wins this one, she will hold the record for the most wins in the pro division.
The performers on the sidelines will also catch participants’ eyes. You’ll see the regulars: belly dancers, the Elvis impersonator, the Boulder High School pep band, Zumba dancers. A highlight is Miss Tutu, who has been on the street cheering on the race in her tutu since the first ever race.
“Everyone knows her on the course,” Winslow says.
Sideline acts are a combo of longstanding participants and some new faces.
Another fun nod to the history are the race tees, which are inspired by the first year’s race shirt, with a ringer-style neck and sleeves and the old logo. They have a retro look (which would go great with short shorts and tall tube socks, if you want to take the birthday theme all the way, hint, hint).
“It’s definitely going to be a celebration but it’s still everything people expect and love about the BolderBoulder: a well-run, organized race,” Winslow says. “We’re looking forward to having people come out and celebrate with us.”
A Look Back
The BolderBoulder started in 1979 with 2,400 runners. Back then, it finished in North Boulder Park. The end of the race moved to the University of Colorado in 1981.
Want to learn more about the history? Check out the Bolder Boulder’s Facebook page. Every week for 40 weeks before the race, the BolderBoulder’s page has featured different stories about the race’s history.
“It’s one race, but it’s 50,000 stories,” Winslow says.
An example from the Facebook page:
“This week’s #40YearsBOLD story is about a man who was very special to the BolderBoulder. Larry Hancock was truly a self-made man. Born in 1925 in a small town in southeastern Colorado, Larry dropped out of High School, lied about his age and joined the military to fight in WWII. Upon his return, he got his G.E.D. and went to work to support himself and his family as a carpenter, for his entire life he referred to himself as ‘just a carpenter.’
“Anyone who knew Larry knew he was much more than that and in 1981 the BolderBoulder grew to a level where it needed a moving grandstand for press, coaches and race officials. Founder Steve Bosley and Larry bought an old trailer home they thought might work. Larry took a chainsaw and cut the frame for the race’s first ever press truck from the house. Larry’s knowledge of engineering and construction was the key to building the “Whale” that we still use today as our press trucks (several iterations later but still the same concept) for the #BolderBOULDER and International Team Challenge men’s and women’s races.
“Larry was also an active man and was a long-time participant of the race. He was diligent and persistent in his training was always energized by the finish in Folsom Field. Sadly, Larry passed away in 2006, but the work he did behind the scenes continues to live on.”
Also look for a special commemorative book, “40 Years Bold,” a comprehensive history of the race, made in partnership with the Boulder Daily Camera. You can buy this book online, at the BolderBoulder store on 29th Street, at the Boulder Bookstore, McGuckins Hardware or the Daily Camera.
Use the hashtag #40YearsBold on social media to tag your Bolder Boulder photos.