Congratulations. The Bolder Boulder is over, all your training and racing for the big event finished.

Perhaps you're at a local coffee shop, sipping a soy latte and scanning today's sports section to see where you ended up. Or maybe marveling at how fast some of the age-group winners ran on Monday; sometimes seeing a 10-year-old break 40 minutes for this tough 10K, or 50-something wunderkind Doug Bell clock 35 minutes year after year, is as impressive as a full-time professional running 31 minutes.

Take a day to relax and enjoy the memories; you have earned it.

On Wednesday, you'll have a chance to get together and tell Bolder Boulder tales with runners of all levels at the second annual National Running Day celebration, set once again for Avery Brewing. The idea of National Running Day, according to Boulder Road Runners head Rich Castro, is to have "a formal day set aside to honor, celebrate and observe the sport that brings so many folks together around the world."

A release from the New York Road Runners, a driving force behind the event, said National Running Day was founded one year ago to "raise awareness of the benefits of regular running, from maintaining a steady weight to promoting heart health."

Castro adds that he believes running is the sport that brings "peers together on one day, in one place, at one time, and you find out who is best."

Bringing people together and promoting health and fitness are certainly what the Bolder Boulder does, which is why Memorial Day can lay claim to being Colorado's Running Day.


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Thousands of people ran or walked their first race ever on Monday, and for thousands more, it will be the only race they compete in all year. They plan, focus and train for the Bolder Boulder for months beforehand.

As I got ready for the race last week, watching the course take shape, the many tents of the Boulder Creek Festival being set up and the scores of people running to and fro in front of the four-mile mark at Casey Middle School, I was once again amazed that roughly a third of Monday's entrants were first-time racers.

That speaks so well of what the race means, as it continues to swell the ranks of runners. It is nice to have runners like Metivier, Torres, Carney and Vaughn racing up front in the International Team Challenge, but the essence of the race, and of running itself, remains the thousands of us who make up the bulk of the field, content to run our race, finishing well after guys like Carney have showered.

I saw this over the weekend, when U.S. Olympic marathoner Ryan Hall, the second-fastest U.S. marathoner ever, took time to visit with Colorado's Foot Locker (prep championship) qualifiers, along with Peak to Peak coach Tim Flamer, encouraging the high schoolers to stick with it.

How amazing, I thought, that Nissan pays Hall to promote its cars, bringing Hall to races like the Bolder Boulder to capture the attention of the race entrants. It's unlikely that the preps know that it was runners like Boulder's Frank Shorter and Benji Durden who helped pave the way for open payment in road racing.

The reason Boulder was ahead of the curve in nearly all aspects of running was the early presence of people like Castro, Shorter and Bolder Boulder founder Steve Bosley. For those of you who ran your first race Monday, you can be sure it was not like that in the early days. There was little support, money or incentive back then.

Which makes my favorite Bolder Boulder week event, the Columbine Mile, all the more remarkable. It was started by Castro 33 years ago, before Bosley came up with the Bolder Boulder, and is still going strong. The mile once again was a wonderful event, thanks to the teachers and parents of Columbine Elementary, led by Tina Gina Larter, whose son attends the school.

The mile is a microcosm of the Bolder Boulder, a celebration of fun and fitness for a school that attracts kids whose first language is not English. The children had their nice blue race T-shirts and ran the mile with some of the elites. Running really is a universal language, I thought, watching the race and the laughter and giggles afterward.

How does it feel? I asked one of the school kids, who finished just ahead of Australian Olympian Lee Troop and his daughter, Macy. 

"Great!" the little boy said, panting to catch his breath. "I only walked once!"

Isn't that what so many of us feel, and why running continues to grow. And why, despite more than 50,000 entrants in the Bolder Boulder, the running boom is just beginning.

If you go

What: National Running Day, a free celebration open to runners and non-runners

When: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Avery Brewing, 5763 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder

More info: 303-440-4324, runningday.org or boulderroadrunners.org