My First Bolder Boulder Experience
Here I recap my first Bolder Boulder, which I did in 2014 at the age of 47.
I’ve been running for about 10 years now. A 5K here, a 5K there. I’m not avid about it, but I do like the feeling I get after a good run. It’s a feeling of victory: “I did that”. Doing the Bolder Boulder, gave me the even better feeling of “I CAN do that!”
I hadn’t put much thought into running the Bolder Boulder. It’s a lot of people, it’s twice as long as any other event/race I’ve done (10K), and…it’s Boulder! But my girlfriend at the time’s family is crazy about it- they’ve participated in nearly every Bolder Boulder since 1978 – and they got me to enter. Her dad said, “Dave, this will be the best event you’ve ever done, as well as the hardest”. He was absolutely right!
We got up at 5:45am (on a day off!) to head to Boulder. As we drove along The Diagonal towards Boulder, we could see buses full of folks being shuttled to the event. Over 50,000 people took part in the Boulder Boulder; traffic was nuts! I began to feel the energy of the event. We got to the CU campus, and all these people are milling around- runners, support personnel, volunteers. There were 92 waves going out into the streets around Folsom Field that day, mine would start at 8:59.
My heart began to pound. I honestly became a little emotional. I think it was the whole idea of all these people- of all ages, of all abilities- coming together to take on a challenge.
My warm-up was walking from the stadium to the starting line- about a mile. Throngs of people were heading in the same direction on a beautiful morning. I got to my start area a full 45 minutes before my start time. I looked around and saw a great day: People in costumes; people dancing to the music that was playing; people geared up to hit the streets! As wave after wave of runners were started, my section moved closer and closer to the starting line. The excitement builds. The music gets louder. The runners/walkers begin to frenzy. there’s a little speech from one of the Bolder Boulder founders Frank Shorter. A guy on a trumpet played that song they play before a horse race.
Then, BAM! The starting pistol! Whoops and hollers erupt! We start going! “This is awesome” I said to myself. Getting ready, I was kind of bummed I didn’t have my mp3 player; in the end, I wouldn’t have even have turned it on! There is SO much happening along the route, you’re entertained nearly every foot of the course! I saw a Blues Brothers band; belly dancers; a Slip ‘N Slide, more bands; a guy playing bongos; kids spraying people down with water; I smelled bacon! One of my favorite parts was when I made one of the last turns, a band was playing ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe; just as I passed them, they hit the chorus; boom- “It’s the final countdown….” And I just got so pumped! ‘Whoooooo! Yeaah!!!” I began to sprint with my index finger raised high! I felt great!
The very last leg of the Bolder Boulder, before you reach the track of Folsom Field is a pretty steep grade upwards. It’s perfect. It makes you earn it. Then, there you are- making that lap around the stadium. The cheers. The cowbells. Pure excitement! Just plain awesome. I didn’t set any records, but I did set my own personal record for a 10K: 01:13:54!
The day includes the annual Memorial Day celebration inside the stadium – which included a fly-over by 12 old planes and skydivers who parachuted with our military’s flags onto the field! Too cool. Way too cool!
To think: The Bolder Boulder has just been waiting for me for all these years. I cannot recommend participating highly enough. Whether you run, watch or volunteer.
The t-shirt said it all-RUNBelievable!
Here’s some great video of the Memorial Day ceremony!
I’ll see you there next year. And the year after that. And the year after that…