Chatting with Cliff Bosley about this weekend’s BOLDER on the Run 10K, I was struck by something the Bolder Boulder race director said — that from Memorial Day 2019 until May 30, 2022, “when we’re planning to stage the next in-person race, it will be three years” since the iconic road race will have been held.
“Incredibly, this is a very long time between” races. Indeed, and to stay connected to the Boulder community, the race has set up six chip-timed, measured BOLDER on the Run 10Ks, in Loveland, Firestone, Erie, Broomfield, Littleton and on the Greenland Trail in Douglas County.
More than 8,000 runners and walkers are expected (bb10k.bolderboulder.com) over the three days of the holiday weekend. Registration to run on one of the six in-person courses closes midnight Wednesday.
“It’s a connecting point for runners and the idea that better times are ahead,” Bosley said, “a gradual acclimation back to the sport, our ‘walk-before-we-run’ run. This is how our sport of road racing becomes resurrected.”
The courses open from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily, and each has its own characteristics. Some of the local competitive runners I talked with mentioned they are heading to Firestone because it might be the fastest of the six courses. If it’s scenery you want, head down to the Greenland Trail, where a nice view of Pikes Peak is included.
Fast courses, chip timing, awards and scenery are all fine and necessary. However, the Bolder Boulder has always been about more than racing fast, as many of you know. There are the costumes, the festivities, the CU students cheering on runners along Walnut Street, the International Team Challenge, and, most importantly, the Memorial Day celebration, which, of course, won’t take place on Monday. And that is a loss of an important annual ritual. In recognition of the holiday, BOLDER on the Run race packets include a small USA flag, a Memorial Day back bib, a Memorial Day card, and a small steel replica of an F-16 Fighting Falcon. All as reminders of what race weekend is about.
Think how many times you have gazed upward while sitting in Folsom Field waiting for the Olympians and other elites to finish, searching the sky for the sublime jet fighter flyover. I recall my Dad, “Big Rock,” sitting with me and some of my siblings, telling us about his Uncle Victor, whom he never knew. Uncle Victor was my grandmother’s only brother. In 1917, he marched down to the Army recruiting station, likely on Halsted Avenue in Chicago, to enlist. He was turned down, because he was too young. Later, Victor ran away from home, lied about his age, and made it to France with the U.S. Army.
There, he was killed in action; I think in the second Battle of the Somme. Front-page stories with Victor’s photos ran in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Daily News because Victor was among the first Chicagoans to die in the “war to end all wars.”
My grandfather on my mom’s side was in the Marines in WWI, and my dad was a WWII veteran. It was the GI Bill that got him to the University of Colorado, where he met my mom, and, you know how it goes, here I am. However, my best family military story is from my mom, who used to tell us how when she was a little girl, “Uncle” Anton (he was a distant cousin), who fought in the Civil War, used to come for Sunday dinners.
It still seems amazing and a connection to our country’s history and struggles for freedom. (As E.M. Forester wrote, and I paraphrase, “to connect; to connect; to connect.” Learn your ancestry and that connection will build). My sister Marguerite is the sleuth in our family, and she tracked down the obituary for Uncle Anton and it turns out he was Lincoln’s neighbor when the future president lived in Springfield, Ill., and shook Lincoln’s hand.
Those of you who have traveled to developing nations might agree that there are literally millions of people around the world who would dearly wish to be sitting right where you are. So after you run on Monday, either at the BOLDER on the Run or on your own, perhaps stop at a cemetery and visit one of the gravesites of a military veteran.
Pause, give thanks, and feel gratitude for this grand experiment in human rights, dignity and freedom we are fortunate to be living in. As President Lincoln put it in his Second Address to Congress; “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the best hope of earth.” It will be easy to find the marker of a military vet; they will be the ones with a U.S. flag flying in the wind.
Running sidewalk sales
The cancellation of the Bolder Boulder for the second consecutive year affects many people, including local running shops because race weekend typically generates the highest sales of the year. The Boulder Running Company will host a scaled-down version of its gigantic sidewalk sale, while In Motion Running, Shoes & Brews in Longmont and the Boulder and Louisville Runners Roosts all have Memorial Day weekend sales planned.
The Bolder Boulder will show a Memorial Day tribute program honoring those who have served in the nation’s military at 11:30 a.m. Monday on Denver 7 and 3:30 p.m. on Local 3.
Follow Michael Sandrock on Instagram: @MikeSandrock.