Today was the 33rd annual running of the Bolder Boulder the largeest 10k race in this country and the 5th largest 10k race in the world. This Memorial Day 56,000 people (the population of Loveland, CO.) descended on Boulder, Colorado to run, jog, walk, hobble or even race their wheelchairs through the streets of Boulder and into the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field to show they can complete a six mile course in whatever ability they have.
I guess that is what I think is so special about the Bolder Boulder. It’s not about racing or your time, although you can make it about that and there is a professional race that is associated with it. It’s really about getting out there and showing yourself that you can do it. That no matter what ability or inability you have, you can complete a 10k race and be proud of your accomplishment.
This week the local newspaper was filled with stories about people who were going to participate in the race. One family was planning a family reunion and part of the festivities would be the whole family being in the race. Some participants have done the race for the entire 33 years and would be coming back to do it once again. Grandparents walking with their grandchildren, people in a wide variety of costumes (King Kong made an appearance as well as Superman and Batgirl) and all along the route there was entertainment to make you forget that your legs felt like bricks. Elvis serenaded the crowds, belly dancers shimmied and shaked, garden hoses doused the sweaty participants and even a slip and slide was set up for those that wanted to really cool themselves off.
But above and beyond all the hoopla, the most important part of this event is to complete it. To keep going, keep trying, push yourself a little and get up off of your butt. Along the route people shouted encouragement, offered free hugs and high-fives, provided you with cups of water or gatorade and even told you that you only had one kilometer left to go and not to stop now. The streets were packed with people of all ages, sizes, skills and abilities and all with a common purpose – to show themselves that they could complete this race.
The person who runs the race, Cliff Bosley, told me once that his father started the race to get his children interested in physical activity. And he soon found out that he had no olympic calibre athletes in the Bosely household. So in order not to discourage them he structured the race so that the prize was completing not competing. He even offered trophies for the top 13 finishers. Why the top 13? Because inevitably a Bosely child would be near the top and it almost always was in 13th place. And the philosophy of the importance of completing underscores this race to this very day.
So on this day that we celebrate our men and women in the Armed Forces, it was so incredible to see 56,000 of your closest friends all cheering you on and celebrating your desire to improve yourself and to try. This is the second year that I participated in this race and I intend to keep on participating in it. I like what it stands for and I like that it provides me with the impetus to keep pushing myself to be better emotionally, mentally and physically. Congrats to all that completed the race – you definitely should be proud of yourself today! And thank you Bolder Boulder – you certainly know what is important and how to do it up right!