The Bolder Boulder 10K is one of the biggest running races in the world. Held on Memorial Day every year since 1979, it is one of the largest and most spirited races in the U.S. Here are a few reasons to put it on your bucket list.
1. Because You Can!
The Bolder Boulder 10K is special for a lot of reasons, but the biggest reason is that it’s an event that virtually anyone can do. If you’re a fast, seasoned runner, you can race to your heart’s content with some of the fastest runners in Colorado in the A or AA starting wave. If you just want to take your time and finish, you can do that too. You can jog the course easy, run in a costume or enter one of the walking waves.
2. Celebrate the Colorado Lifestyle
There are few events that scream “Colorado” more than the Bolder Boulder. Since its inception in 1979, it’s been a celebration of fitness and fresh air for all ages and ability levels. Colorado is regularly named one of the fittest states in the country (and Boulder as the fittest city), and running 6.2 miles across Boulder is certainly indicative of that. Getting a glimpse of the Flatirons and finishing in the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field football stadium are icing on the cake.
3. Spring Into Summer
Make the Bolder Boulder one of your late-spring fitness goals and then use that fitness to launch you into summer. If you can finish the Bolder Boulder, you’re probably ready to tackle other races, hike a 14,000-foot peak, go backpacking this summer or train for a fall marathon.
4. It’s only a 10K.
While marathons and half marathons often get more attention, the 10K is an ideal distance to run for any level of runner. Heck, it’s only 6.2 miles—short enough that it will go by quickly, but long enough to feel the satisfaction of finishing.
5. Starting Waves
The Bolder Boulder invented the concept of starting waves for a mass participation race. While joining more than 50,000 runners in a race across Boulder might make some runners feel a bit claustrophobic, the smartly segmented starting waves, with 60- to 70-second gaps in between, help keep runners more evenly spaced. You can qualify to seed yourself in one of the faster waves or you can join a wave for joggers, veterans or walkers.
6. Memorial Day Weekend
With the Bolder Boulder 10K and Boulder Creek Festival as marquee attractions, Boulder is in fully glory Memorial Day during weekend. The Bolder Boulder hosts the country’s largest Memorial Day celebration. Festivities include a touching ceremony to honor military veterans and Air Force jet flyovers. Plus, there are several starting waves are dedicated to current and former members of the U.S. armed forces. If you’re visiting from out of town, there’s no better time to visit Boulder than Memorial Day weekend.
7. Slip ‘N Slides.
The Bolder Boulder was one of the original races with bands and other sideshow attractions along the course. In any given year, there are at least three or four places to splash down a Slip ’N Slide. (The best one is near 14th and Cedar just past the 5K mark.) Other attractions include belly dancers, rock bands, jugglers, Elvis impersonators, bubble machines and a variety of other fun elements that will take your mind off your tired legs.
8. Beer and Bacon!
In recent years, spectators along the Bolder Boulder course have been known to offer a variety of snacks and beverages, including beer and bacon. Whether or not you indulge in some of those unofficial aid stations is up to you, but you’ve got to fuel up!
9. The International Team Challenge
Watching the top international runners zip through the Bolder Boulder course to finish inside Folsom Field is a thrill for anyone. But it’s always more satisfying to watch those world-class runners knowing that you ran the course earlier that morning—the international teams start nearly two hours following the final walking wave of the morning.
10. Everybody Does It
The Bolder Boulder is the fifth largest road race in the world—typically attracting more than 50,000 runners—but it still feels like a local, community race. Chances are you have friends who have done it or at least you’ve seen pictures. It would be a shame not to be able to brag about your finish with the rest of them.