Every year at the end of May, thousands of people from the Centennial State and from around the world gather in Boulder, Colorado to share their love for running and enjoy the thrilling experience of a beautiful race. Bolder Boulder is a 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) road race, held annually during the Memorial Day, in the city of Boulder. The race is the second largest race in the country by attendance, regularly attracting more than 50,000 competitors. The record attendance was set in 2008, when 54,040 runners, walkers and wheelchair racers started the race. All racers wear electronic tags in their shoes, which allow the organizers to precisely time every performance. This technology, along with the massive attendance makes the Bolder Boulder the largest race in the country where all attendants are timed and the fourth largest in the world by the same criterion.
Presently, the race starts at the north end of 30th street, near Glenwood Drive and winds up through Boulder’s neighborhoods towards the finish line at the Folsom Field stadium. Runners begin the race in waves of a few hundred people, in order to keep the race manageable and create a better running experience for all attendants. In order to qualify for the first waves, which are reserved for the professionals and top athletes, contestants must provide proof that they can finish a 10 kilometers race in a certain amount of time.
The Bolder Boulder attracts some of the world’s top athletes, drawn here by the prestige of the event and the generous prize purse, since the race is one of the best remunerated competitions in the running world. The professional competitors run on the same course like regular attendants and compete in three persons teams, representing their nation.
Everyone can participate in the later waves, where there is no timing restriction. Everybody can run in the Bolder Boulder race, including children, senior citizens and disabled persons. Many racers like to wear costumes which set them apart from the other runners, a tradition which gives a colorful appearance to the competition. As the racers make their way through the course, thousands of spectators cheer them and encourage them. Among them, music bands and other performers create a relaxed atmosphere, specific to the way of living of the residents of Colorado.
The race finishes on Folsom Field Stadium, where Memorial Day activities are held after the end of men’s elite competition. The Bolder Boulder began as a way of honoring the military who sacrificed themselves protecting the homeland, and this tradition is carried on till this day. Some of the highlights of the commemoration festivities include the landing of flag wrapped skydivers, the flyby of U.S. Air Force fighter jets, as well as the ceremony that pays tribute to the present veterans.
Bolder Boulder is a magnificent race, which offers a unique running experience, both for professional athletes and casual joggers. The combination of high quality attendance, colorful traditions and beautiful scenery makes the race one of the best competitions in the country. This is why the Runner’s World Magazine has named the Bolder Boulder in 2010 the best 10 kilometers competition in the nation.