The 420 Games, an annual 4.2-mile race for marijuana enthusiasts, began two years ago in San Francisco. By year two, attendance had grown by 300 percent, and CEO Jim McAlpine decided to expand the run to seven cities along the West Coast, with plans for further growth. "We're going fully national," he says. "From New York to California and everywhere in between."
That "in between" includes Boulder, where the Games will land at the Boulder Reservoir on Saturday, October 1.
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McAlpine, a University of Colorado graduate, says it's exciting to be back in this state. "For me, this is like a dream come true," he says. "It's been over twenty years since I graduated from Boulder, so it's changed and grown a lot. To come back to where I went to college when cannabis was illegal, it's really been a cool week here. I used to go to the reservoir and ride my bike and swim and work out and run, and I'd be smoking weed every time I did it — so it's a cool, full-circle thing now that I'm coming back."
There is no smoking at the event itself, but McAlpine says that if athletes want to indulge before they come, that's expected — and even encouraged. The Games themselves, however, are family-friendly and smoke-free, and he hopes they will change perceptions of cannabis and the people who use it.
"We're more about fitness first, and cannabis is just part of our healthy lifestyle," he says. "We want to set a good example for kids and for people from outside. What I think is interesting and going to be cool is going to states where that stigma still runs much deeper than it does in, say, Boulder or San Francisco or Portland, where things are pretty liberal."
The Games run from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Boulder Reservoir, and registration is still open. Get all the details at 420games.org.