Today, May 25, is Memorial Day. It’s also the day of the annual Bolder Boulder, a 10k running race that I’ve participated in the last few years. I’m not a runner, or really anything that could be construed as an athlete, but each year I hit the pavement and run the race.
The first year I participated in the Bolder Boulder was my senior year of college. One of the projects for one of my classes was to do something that I would normally never do, and seeing as how I hate running, the Bolder Boulder seemed like a good fit. I also had a few friends who had run the race over the previous years and from talking to them I knew the Bolder Boulder could be done casually, so there was no need feel bad about being a slow runner. Over a period of about two months prior to the race I trained my unwilling body as much as it would allow me to, and on the day of the race I finished with a time of 75 minutes, which is nothing to brag about, but for me I was just pleased that I finished the race without stopping to walk.
With the class project completed and my distaste for running still intact, it would be reasonable to expect that my first Bolder Boulder would also be my last, but it wasn’t. Having run it once, I knew there was something undeniably special about the race. As the nation’s largest Memorial Day event, you’re running along with tens of thousands of other people as what feels like the entire city is cheering you on. Bands are scattered along the racecourse, people set up slip-n-slides on their yards and the usual Boulder wackiness is on display. One year I got a cupcake from a guy who was handing out cupcakes to passing runners. As it turns out, it is very hard to eat a cupcake while running. Silly stuff like that and all the positive energy surrounding the race are much of what keeps me participating year after year. I also need the exercise.
The Bolder Boulder is now an annual tradition for me. I’m still not a runner, and my body has made it clear that I never will be, but you’ll see me coursing through the city this year and each coming year that I’m able to.