Runners weren't complaining about the unseasonably cool temperatures Wednesday as they gathered near the intersection of 11th and Pearl streets for the West End 3K foot race.
"Perfect weather, perfect crowd," said Don Hayes, 81, a member of the Boulder Road Runners club that helped organize the event. Hayes finished the West End 3K for what he believes to be at least his 10th time.
The event, which begins the Downtown Boulder Race Series, brought together an estimated 260 runners ranging in ages from 4 to 84 for a fun, community-centric race up and down Pearl Street between 11th and Fourth streets.
After a day of overcast weather, the sun broke through the clouds just as the first waves of racers were warming up. Although temperatures never climbed much above 60 degrees, many runners welcomed the cool air.
Michael Nothem said he was a little cold before his wave lined up, but he felt it was perfect weather for running. Nothem, who just completed his freshman year at the University of Colorado and is part of the Boulder Track Club, said he had never heard of the West End 3K before a friend who could not make it Wednesday asked if he wanted to take his spot in race.
Although he wasn't sure what to expect from the course, he said he liked the idea of closing off west Pearl Street for a community race.
"I think that is awesome," he said.
This year marked the first time the West End 3K was hosted by its new owner, Downtown Boulder Inc., which partnered with sponsors including Newton Running.
Olympic marathon gold medalist Frank Shorter served as the event's co-emcee.
"I love that it is so easy to close down the west side of Pearl Street and have fun," Shorter said.
He said fun races like the 3K help "demystify" the sport and reduce the intimidation factor for younger generations looking to get involved in the running movement.
Casey Middle School student Teo Cariov, 11, certainly wasn't intimidated as he took first place in the associated West End 1.5K race for kids ages 4 to 11.
"I love running," Teo said. "It's the best sport. It's so natural if you're a human."
The 1.5K wave took place before the main race, which allowed the young participants to quickly fall in line for a few scoops from the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream cart while the parents and older siblings lined up for their waves. Teo's little sister, Sia, 7, also ran the 1.5K.
Avid runner Maygen Brown, 22, of Boulder, who finished second in the open wave for women, posting a time of 12:50, said the most impressive part was how many people came out with their young children, as well as how many older people participated.
"The sport doesn't discriminate," she said. "It's fun for everybody."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.