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Bolder Boulder Race Report

By on May 28, 2013

Now that my race season is starting to ramp up (I have a race every weekend between this past weekend and July 14), I decided it was time to start writing official race reports. So here it goes…

The 35th Annual BolderBoulder

Getting to the start
The biggest adventure of the day was finding the start line. This should have been the easiest part since it is right next to the Colorado Athletic Club in Boulder, which I have used multiple times to shower after a long jaunt along the front range. The only problem was there was no parking at the start but the email I got said there was a bus from campus. I didn’t want to pay the $20 to park on campus, so I parked at my current favorite part of Boulder, Chautauqua Park. To make myself feel better about parking there for free, I ran a short 2-mile loop from Chautauqua and then began the jog down to campus, stopping along the way for some much needed caffeine. 

When I got to Folsom Field, which happened to be the finish line and where the buses supposedly were, I only found a bunch of security people checking bags and waving people with the metal detector. They had no idea about any buses and wouldn’t let me through the Stadium to continue my walk to the start line. After much begging and pleading, and the help of some other runners who were similarly lost, we finally convinced one of the security guards to let us through the Stadium and walk us to the exit on the other side so that we wouldn’t have to dump out all of our drinks.

Once on the other side of Folsom Field, I continued my walk to the start line. At this point I had about 5 minutes until my wave was supposed to go off, which I realized I wouldn’t make, so I casually walked along the race course to  snap a few pictures of the front runners and wheelchair racers on the final mile of the race. 

If I had been on time or had succeeded in finding the buses, I never would have been able to watch them run. Once I finally made it to the start area, 6.25 and over an hour later, my opinions of the race changed completely. While trying to find the race start I had been alternatively frustrated and annoyed that there were no signs for a race that had over 50,000 participants.

The Race
At the starting line, there were people with signs for the different waves which corresponded to the bib numbers. I was F124, but since I missed my wave I started with the GC wave. As waves went off, the other waves moved up to the start line and there were volunteers ensuring people did not move to earlier waves. After a brief speech from the MC, the starting gun was fired and we were off. The course winds its way through downtown Boulder.
Although I have spent a lot of time in Boulder and the Boulder County Open Space and Mountain Parks, I haven’t been very adventurous when it comes to the actual city of Denver, confining my wanderings between campus and the 29th street mall. Since much of the course is through residential neighborhoods, I was surprised to see people on their front lawns cheering on strangers. The best part of the entire race was between miles 3 and 4, when there was a family handing out Fla-Vor Ice popsicles and a quarter of a mile later, someone had set up a slip-n-slide! Prior to the race I had entered a drawing where, if I correctly guessed my 4 mile split within 5 seconds without going over I was entered to win a $150 gift card. Since I was 2 minutes early to the 4-mile marker, I decided to enjoy my popsicle and take my turn on the slip-n-slide. Unfortunately that detour killed my goal of a sub-60 finish with an average HR of 150, but it was sooo worth it.

Along the course there were tons of bands, dancers, DJs, etc entertaining the runners and spectators. My favorite was a group in tutus that had been entertaining BolderBoulder runners since the 80s with hair band music and squirt guns. I didn’t get a picture of them, but did snap some pics of other characters along the racecourse.

All too soon I was entering Folsom Field to the cheers of thousands of people, making the turn around the track, and finishing the race. 

Post Race
Although I usually hate road races, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The mood of the race was festive complete with veterans handing out American flags to participants and a Memorial Day salute at noon. Besides the confusion about getting to the start, all the volunteers I encountered were extremely friendly and helpful. There was an overabundance of them, which help make everything flow smoothly. The biggest surprise for me was how well the race handled 50,000+ participants. I never once felt crowded while running and there were plenty of times when I was relatively alone. The post-race snack bag was filled with goodies. Unfortunately I don’t eat most of the food that was in the snack bag, but there were people collecting unwanted food to distribute at the local homeless shelters. 

I ended the day with a walk back to Chautauqua and another 2-mile jog, which brought my total for the day to 10.4 miles running and 6 miles walking to/from the race. The BolderBoulder far exceeded my expectations and I look forward to running it again next year.
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