Colder Boulder Smolder

The Bolder Boulder is a marvelous Memorial Day event, with over 40,000 citizens running a densely-spectated 10K course around the town towards a hero finish that has them all entering the University of Colorado’s 53,000 seat Folsom Stadium via the team tunnel, to cheers and big-screen finish-line stardom. Not content with doing their splendid job of managing the logistics on that one, the BB crew also offer a December run, the Colder Boulder, with an unusual format.

For those who run the BB and then enter the same year’s CB, they sort you into starting waves of folks who finished within two-minutes of each other. That means you toe the line with a whole pack (there were 92 in my wave this year) of folks pre-selected to run at very near your pace – more or less the way it always is for those pesky elites at the front of nearly every other event. Now, nothing says you have to get all competitive about running the CB, but if you do happen to feel the urge, there’s a built-in pace group all around you.

CB is also a much smaller event (it’s December, it’s 5200’ above sea level, it’s Colorado, so, yeah there is that…) but still has the same Bolder Boulder vibe. Pre-race milling-about is inside the cavernous Folsom Fieldhouse (right next to the stadium) and you get to use the same restrooms the football teams do, troughs and all (sorry ‘bout that part). It’s warm inside, with coffee and stuff, and the waves are really well organized so you can choose just how much or how little time to spend warming-up out-in-the-cold (Dog never said being a runner makes sense). Once your wave goes off, the course weaves around the picturesque CU campus and if you can raise your head from watching the footing and navigating the pack, there’re glimpses of the fabulous the Flatirons only a few blocks away. Temperature this past year was in the low 30’s, but dry and calm, so great conditions for running hard in a singlet and gloves, as long as you managed that warm-up wisely. (That’s the smolder part in the title; with good planning, this  could be your fastest 5K of the year)

Don’t get to use the stadium for this one, but you do get to run through a wide opening into the end of the field house and sprint down a chute with spectators on both sides, so still a pretty rewarding finish. Followed by refreshments, gear pick up for those winter layers and a chance to watch the next wave come in while you cool-down without having to worry about getting cold.

So if you’re within tripping range of Boulder, try it out, and if you’re a race director somewhere else, consider the Colder Boulder format as a fun variation to keep your runners energized between the big events.

Thank you Bolder Boulder crew!

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